Make Your Own Homeschool Printables!

I get a lot of questions about how I make my homeschool printables, so I thought I’d share them with you. By the way, this also applies to my digital scrapbooking supplies.

 

What software program do I use to make my downloads?

  • Software: I use Photoshop Elements, or Photoshop CS3 depending on what I need to do. If you are just starting out, I find Photoshop Elements very user friendly and great for beginners. There are TONS of free tutorials to get you started, and it’s about $80, but you can usually find sales on it if you look. Photoshop CS3 (at the time of this post they have CS5 and it is currently $699) , so there’s quite a price difference!
  • Tutorials:
    • Jessica Sprague: One of my favorite tutorial sites is Jessica Sprague, she offers some free tutorials that include graphic image downloads, as well as video classes that are well worth the cost. She is a very good instructor and her videos are great quality. Plus most of her classes come with great digital freebies to help complete your projects! There are also TONS of free tutorials online, just Google “Photoshop tutorials” and you’ll see what I mean.
    • TutVid! Another favorite is TutVid! These tutorials are wonderful, this guy is a Photoshop genius and shares his knowledge FREE for all us newbies! Thanks TutVid!
    • PSDTUTS+: Another great Photoshop tutorial site.
    • 5minArts: This site has tons of info, and a great photoshop tutorial section as well!
  • Process: I have a round-about process, but it’s been working so I’m stickin’ with it! After creating the images in Photoshop, I save my Photoshop file as a JPG then insert the jpg into an MS Publisher document. (I use MS Publisher because it is part of my MS Office Suite but you could easily use any Word program.) Finally, I save that document as a PDF file (I use PDF Creator).  (You can save the PDF’s right out of Photoshop, but they seem to be much larger, even if you flatten the image first, so this is just a work around I do so they are smaller and also so I can create multiple page downloads. NOTE: If anyone knows how to create a multiple page PDF from Photoshop, I’d love to hear how!)
  • Organization: I use ACDSee 2009 to manage all of my digital scrapbook elements as well as my images for homeschool. Although Photoshop Elements comes with an organizer, I found that once I got a certain quantity of images in it, that it was very slow and had a tendency to crash. ACDSee 2009 seems to do a better job of managing my images. Although it was fairly easy to understand, there is a “How To” class offered at Jessica Sprague for ACDSee.
  • Space! Everyone should have an external hard drive that you can back up documents on in the event of a hard drive failure or some pesky virus! PLEASE TRUST ME ON THIS! I’d have to have you lose all your fabulous creations because you didn’t ‘backup!’ You can get a fairly inexpensive USB external hard drive to give you some peace of mind, I like these:

Where do you get all of your clipart/images?

  • My Images: I draw several of my images myself using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CS3.
  • Public Domain Clip Art: I do use some public domain clipart that I find online. I do try to be VERY careful about making sure an image I use is indeed public domain before using it though. I’d rather not worry about copywrite laws! Most sites will have a Terms of Use that will explain what you are allowed to do with their images.
  • Microsoft Clipart: I have MS Office, so I use quite a bit of clipart from Microsoft. You don’t have to have MS Office to use their clipart though, they offer tons of clipart online.
  • Stock.xchng: This is a great site with free tutorials, photos, clipart etc. You do have to sign up for an account before downloading any free material.
  • iStockphoto: This site is not free, but they do have an excellent array of clipart if you plan on using it.
  • Dover Clipart: These design books are wonderful resources for images! Here are several to choose from, I usually make sure to get the books with CD’s or you’ll have to scan the images!

 

Please let me know if you have any questions not addressed here and I’ll do my best to answer them! Please leave an email or someway for me to contact you if you do it through the comments on this post.

For other questions such as laminating, please see my Frequently Asked Questions!

20 Comments

  • Ticia June 14, 2010 at 6:52 am

    this was awesome thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  • SimplyMontessori June 14, 2010 at 7:26 am

    This will show you how to make a multi-page PDF document in Photoshop. Go to file, -> automate, ->PDF Presentation, and you will have the option to create a multi-page PDF document.Hope this helps you out!http://creativebits.org/acrobat/create_a_pdf_presentation_from_photoshop I had this problem too, so I'm glad I looked into it!

    Reply
  • Our Homeschool Fun June 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

    You're awesome Erica! I was googling last night how to do just this. I want to make a math game. THANK YOU!!Thank you too for so many awesome printables. I am using SO many of yours with my 5K son! Also, LOVE your ABC curriculum and will be purchasing it very soon for my preschooler!You rock:-)!

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Erica, What font are you using in your printables that show the guidelines ( I beleive yours are red and blue) with the word?

    Reply
  • Melinda June 14, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for all the tips! You've inspired me and I've already made several file folder games based on things that hold my 5yo's interest!

    Reply
  • rainbowmummy June 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    It still sounds too hard, can't you just do it for me :PIn fairness I did make a very easy caterpillar game the other day that my son really enjoyed and have made a few things I am waiting to blog/show to my kid but it's all incredibly basic! Everything I am making is just on word, and you should have seen me trying to make bubbles for (my first ever!) folder game. I ended up just using a plain circle, lol. My son saw me as I was making it and made a billion guesses as to what I was attempting to make, none of his guesses was "bubble" so I gave up after that!

    Reply
  • Marta June 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I just came across your blog. I LOVE IT!!! And it is just what I have been looking for. I have created my schedule for 26 weeks with the alphabet and activities.. the tricky part for me is that I am doing everything in spanish. But i have just purchased your Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum because I KNOW that it will help me with my ideas. I was thinking of incorporating English too since my daughter was in preschool for 2 days this past school year and everything was in English. SO THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • The R Crew June 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Again you save the day! I've been wanting to jump into digi scraping and designing for preschool use. I got a new computer and Photoshop Elements for Mother's Day/Birthday. Your blog has been a great tool to help me get started. Its still so overwhelming! THANKS for another great post and sharing so much.

    Reply
  • Confessions Of A Homeschooler June 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Anonymous:I purchased fonts from fonts 4 teachers because of licensing, but you can download great free personal use handwriting fonts from here:http://desktoppub.about.com/od/freefonts/tp/Free_Handwriting_School_Fonts.htm

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you for the font lead … I have seen Fonts4 Teachers and had been thinking about purchasing it.

    Reply
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