recently

FEB
25
2013

Homeschool Storage Solutions: Long Term

Homeschooling and storage needs go hand in hand. And depending on your state laws, keeping some sort of homeschool records is a necessity. In our state we aren’t required to keep student work, however we are required to keep annual record of our attendance and hours for each student.

So how do I store and organize everything?

Some simple banker boxes, heavy duty rubber bands, and sharpies can go along way in saving your sanity with all of the storage needs that homeschooling can bring on!

I have three main storage needs for long term. Administrative records, student work (not required, but I keep it anyway), and curriculum. Right now I’m using Bankers Boxes as my long term storage organization solution.

Administrative Records:

I keep all of my annual school records in 1” 3-ring binders. In these binders I keep receipts, lesson plans, and any other legal forms required for each year such as a Notice of Intent to homeschool, Standardized Test Results for that year, a list of curriculum used, attendance, and hours for the year. To see a more detailed view of the inside of my yearly binder, visit my homeschool storage and record keeping post.

During the year I keep this binder handy in our school room so I can easily add any forms, receipts, etc. that we accumulate during the year.

IMG_7666web

 

Once the year is over I bring my completed binder down and add it to a banker box containing my records from previous years. That box is stored on a shelving unit in our basement. That way these documents are easily accessible and easily found in the craziness that can ensue a basement. These would also be the binders that might be required by the state so I definitely want to keep these organized and easily accessible.

IMG_8566web

 

Student Work: During the year, I keep student work in a 3” 3-ring binder that is kept in our school room for easy access. As work is completed I add it to the binder which is organized by subject. (See my homeschool storage and record keeping post for more details on the student work binder.)

Once the year is completed, I remove all of the work for that year from the student work binder and secure it in a bundle using heavy duty rubber bands. I also take the binder spine label out and secure it to the front of the bundle so I can easily tell what year that bundle covers. I also write the grade level  on the front of the box as I add to it each year so I know what is included in that box.

IMG_8563web

 

I then add the yearly bundle of work to a banker’s box for that student. Each student has their own box, or boxes depending on amount of work so that it will be easy to find if the need should arise. If I end up keeping it forever I can also pass the boxes onto the kiddos once they are grown. That way they can be in charge of disposing of the materials since their mama can’t seem to bare to part with it.  As you can see this box contains 5 years worth of student work for Strawberry Shortcake.

IMG_8564web

 

Curriculum:

I also store any unused curriculum in the banker boxes as well. I’ve just found that these boxes are a nice size for books and also sturdy enough to handle the load.

IMG_8647web

I store curriculum by subject, and then in grade order inside the box. So for example our math curriculum box has all of the curriculum we use for math Kindergarten through our current grade. Keeping the boxes sorted by Curriculum allows me to easily grab the grade level as needed or see that we don’t have that grade level and I can then order it for our upcoming year.

IMG_8650web

I am really preferring to sort curriculum by subject. I used to keep things sorted by grade, but then some things don’t work so well like that, and I found that I couldn’t find things, or might duplicate purchasing something. Now it is much easier to see what I already have for a certain subject, and what I might need to get as well.

 

Homeschool Storage Area:

In our basement, I have a metal storage rack from Target and I keep all of my banker boxes on it. Nothing else goes in this area except for school items. Normally I’d say I keep the shelves more organized with student work on one shelf then curriculum on one, etc., but since we’re planning to move I’ve recently cleaned this area out and put them back randomly so, yeah, it’s not quite in order. But since the boxes are all well labeled it’s no problem to find what I’m looking for.

IMG_8646web

So that is how we tackle long term homeschool storage. It’s nothing fancy, but it works well and definitely makes the clutter a bit easier to manage, find things when needed, and is a fairly easy system to keep up with.

Have some homeschool organization tips you’d like to share? Make sure to leave a comment below so others can benefit from your experience!

Comments

  1. You’re planning to move?! How exciting! That means setting up a new schoolroom, right? Are you moving to another part of the country or just a new home? (Also, I think you missed blocking out your daughter’s name in the first photo. Hopefully, you’ll get this message and fix it before you get oodles of hits.) As always, thanks for the great ideas. I keep records in much the same way: a binder for each child that is a yearly portfolio and a binder for me with receipts, legal docs and lesson plans.

  2. Mom of four says:

    I’ve just started homeschooling and I’m wondering… why do you keep receipts?

    • I keep receipts because we are reimbursed by a local program for many of our educational expenses. I also keep them because I think it’s interesting to see how much we spend.

    • Just in case the government ever decides to give me a tax break LOL! I also keep them to keep track of how much we spend each year. And you can use your curriculum receipts as proof of homeschooling for teacher/Educational discounts for places like at http://www.adobe.com

  3. >If I end up keeping it forever I can also pass the boxes onto the kiddos once they are grown. That way they can be in charge of disposing of the materials since their mama can’t seem to bare to part with it.

    This makes me laugh. I still remember the day–sometime in my 20s–when I hauled boxes full of my 2nd grade worksheets out of my parents’ attic to sort. Nowadays, I often think that I care far more about keeping my kids’ work than they ever will! 😉

    Love the post! Thanks!

  4. I always love your posts, and this one is no exception! My only thought (other than realizing I have a lot of work to do on my own disheveled mess) is that the big rubber bands may not hold up over many years. I know I’ve had rubber bands and tape and such dry out and crumble and/or fall off. It might be better to go with string or twine. Thanks again for always being so willing to share what you do and how you do it! My family and I have been blessed in so many ways by your printable reaources and posts.

  5. I love to see how other people organize their storage! All those matching boxes!

    Ours is stored by grade, so that as one child approaches a grade I can pull the appropriate box out and look through to see how what we have from the previous child will fit (or not) and what to sell off or give away.

    Your kids are a lot closer in age than mine (7-8 year gaps), so I can appreciate how your storage system would work beautifully for your family.

  6. My state (Illinois) does not require anything for homeschoolers. Do you think I should keep some sort of records anyway? Where are you moving?

    • It’s up to you, I like to be able to go back and see what all we accomplished too. But I figure just in case laws ever change, I’ll have documentation.

  7. I love in PA. The only records I keep are the ones I put in the Portfolio. So my records for each year per child are about a 1/2 inch worth of paperwork. So much less to store and go through later. Now when we reach High School I will keep much more and those grades are more important for transcript reasons. I figure if the state requires the paper work I turn in and approves it with notarized signatures then there is no reason to keep anything else. After all whats in the Portfolio is the best of their work. I also hate storing something I know they won’t care about later and that I’ll just have to throw away. Sentimental I am not. 🙂

    I am wondering though, why do you keep your receipts?

  8. I’m always amazed at your storage solutions! (and your cool nail polish!)
    I’m not quite as organized about my homeschool storage, so I won’t offer any suggestions. 🙂

  9. Hey! You kids name is showing on the first pic. Not sure if you noticed but I know that can be a sensitive area.
    Thanks for the organizing posts and you tubes…I love them and feel motivated afterwards!

  10. I love your posts!!! I have been doing something similar for a few years now. I use the plastic totes that are around $5. I have one totes for her completed work (sorted by year). It is a wonderful thing to get organized. (I know it takes some time if you don’t start it out like that, but it is worth the time to get it organized. 🙂

  11. I forgot to include why I use plastic totes. I have found that the plastic totes keeps the moisture and any mice that may get in (gotta love living in the country). You also don’t have to purchase a shelf since you can stack them onto of each other….

  12. I live in Texas and there are NO requirements at all (kind of nice but scary at the same time). I keep a binder of the lesson plans and attendance just for my own records. Then I keep all of the completed work in binders. Right now the work is split in to days completed 1-180 and not subjects, but my oldest is in 1st grade and my youngest is in pre-school so things still blend together a lot. Binders are put up on a shelf in my closet (for now) and curriculum are kept together by school year (LOTW, Pre-K, K, 1st Grade) and anything not in use is stored in a drawer in my TV stand for now. Anything being used is put on the book shelf in our room. Easy Peasy.

  13. Erica,

    Love this post! I just wanted to point out to you real quick that you left a name visible in your top photo! 🙂

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this. We are coming up on the end of our first year homeschooling, and I was wondering how to store all of these things. I also live in IL and have no requirements, but still want to keep some things, just in case! I love that you divide by subject that makes so much more sense than grade.

  15. Great post!! Do you take the school work out of the binders and rubberband them because you do not want to buy new binders each year? (Those larger ones are more expensive.) I do a lot of the same things that you do but I have been debating leaving the work in their binders. If it is all binded together, what are the odds of ever going back and looking at the sweet, sentimental stuff? Do you take that stuff out and have a school memory book for them?

  16. We went digital. We are using homeschool tracker plus it allows you to add attachments. So when a worksheet is complete we scan it as a PDF or we take a picture then import it in the software. Saves a lot of boxes and bags which I have a garage full of from previous years. Until we scan it all in we keep everything in 2.5 liter zip lock bags in a box or plastic tote. The software will allow you to view and print the finished, scanned work. And I heard about the software from this blog. Thanks.
    Also I wanted to add that some colleges, schools, employers, etc. may request samples of the completed work even if your state doesn’t require records or portfolios. What if the child goes to a college in a state that does require a portfolio?

  17. Gosh, I just keep getting more and more impressed by everything you do!!!! We are just completing our 2nd year and now I am going to store all their work bound together like that. While I don’t think I would ever impart it onto them unless they ask…..only because my own mother did this with my school work and I didn’t even go through it, just threw it out. LOL I am guessing they would do the same. At some point you are going to need your own separate room just to store all the records!!!! And that frightens me a little. eek!

  18. I keep a record online of what the kids are learning and attendance with the church covering we use. I also take oodles of photos of their activities and blog about it. So I only keep the really good work the KIDS want to keep…. everything else goes… we don’t do a lot of desk work anyway. Sometimes I use the already written on worksheets again to print on the back another worksheet or material. Hey, got to make the most of my money. So yeah, no crazy storage here and I got 4 kids… ages 10 to 3 y.o. I think sometimes things can get a bit OCD. 🙂

  19. Oh how I need a basement!! I used a similar organizing system for work but I would LOVE a place to store boxes of unused curriculum instead of in my bedroom. My husband would too!

  20. DEmetria@Christian Homeschool Moms says:

    I think you are absolutely the queen of homeschool organizing. Could you come to my house and help me out? 🙂 great job, and good ideas.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I wanted to just add that I think the stuff you put up is awesome and so very helpful! I have four children – but the first two are 14 and 13 (19 1/2 months apart), my younger two are 4 and 2! I am an organizer myself, but our basement is damp and hubby doesn’t like to run the dehumidifier too often, so I can’t store anything that can’t be wiped off down there. I have to use an extra closet in our bedroom (we only have three to begin with, 2 in our bedroom – the small one was there, the normal one we put in, and the third one, for linens +, we also made that one). Most of the stuff is either stored around the house or in the attic. I have two banker boxes for my older two. They were public schooled until four years ago, so I would keep their best work from each school year. I started to do the same with homeschooling. I have to say, I would like to just throw all the papers in a folder and store, but I think about when they are grown – my dd13 may enjoy going through some of it, but ds14 wouldn’t… when I have them pick out their best work or things they really liked – he throws it all away! I’ve had to tell him, put the ones in with your highest grades and neatest writing! 🙂 I visit your site many times for printables and tips! Thanks so much!! All of your hard work and creativity is such a blessing and a help for a busy mom! 🙂

  22. Jennifer says:

    Forgot to add a tip! In my home, with so many and such a span, I find that I need to be as pre-planned as I can be! I tried, and finally go to, make copies of every page from certain books for my older two. I do not have them write in the workbooks, for me it’s a money saver (in most cases). Since I am using much of the same curriculum for each of my older two, and most likely most of it for the younger two. Once I finally got all of that copying done last year it was so nice! I also have folders in my filing cabinet set up, one for each week of school. I placed the papers that would be for each week in them (we use My Father’s World, so the papers from them are labeled the day of the week and which week they go in). For their math and lang. arts I had a file folder behind the weeks labeled math and lang. arts. I placed all of the copies in them, that way they, or I, could pull as needed. My ds14 works much faster than dd13. This year I plan to continue doing the same for the big kids. The little ones I’m using MFW Kindergarten. I’m planning to let the little one tag along (she’ll be 3 in Dec.) she loves to tag along anyway. So I’ve got preschool type activities planned to go with the themes for each week. I have those in zip lock baggies (gallon and 2 gallon size). I did this because I have little things for the themes and I wanted them altogether! I also make lists of things I need/want to do, so I can see it all on paper (which helps me to keep focused and not to overwhelm myself). I do have a blog, but have not been on to update in a few months. I’m still trying to figure out when to schedule that in. I did read on one of your posts, you schedule, but it was older. I’m wondering, do you still use that? I did like the way you scheduled in your time for doing the planning and prepping. Now that your children are older, I’m wondering how much of that has changed? 🙂

  23. Jennifer says:

    Forgot to add a tip! In my home, with so many and such a span, I find that I need to pre-plan and prep as much as possible! I tried, and finally go to, make copies of every page from certain books for my older two. I do not have them write in the workbooks, for me it’s a money saver (in most cases). Since I am using much of the same curriculum for each of my older two, and most likely most of it for the younger two. Once I finally got all of that copying done last year it was so nice! I also have folders in my filing cabinet set up, one for each week of school. I placed the papers that would be for each week in them (we use My Father’s World, so the papers from them are labeled the day of the week and which week they go in). For their math and lang. arts I had a file folder behind the weeks labeled math and lang. arts. I placed all of the copies in them, that way they, or I, could pull as needed. My ds14 works much faster than dd13. This year I plan to continue doing the same for the big kids. The little ones I’m using MFW Kindergarten. I’m planning to let the little one tag along (she’ll be 3 in Dec.) she loves to tag along anyway. So I’ve got preschool type activities planned to go with the themes for each week. I have those in zip lock baggies (gallon and 2 gallon size). I did this because I have little things for the themes and I wanted them altogether! I also make lists of things I need/want to do, so I can see it all on paper (which helps me to keep focused and not to overwhelm myself). I do have a blog, but have not been on to update in a few months. I’m still trying to figure out when to schedule that in. I did read on one of your posts, you schedule, but it was older. I’m wondering, do you still use that? I did like the way you scheduled in your time for doing the planning and prepping. Now that your children are older, I’m wondering how much of that has changed? 🙂

  24. These are great ideas. I always wonder why I didn’t think of things! I have an enormous amount of binders clogging up every crack of storage space, and it’s getting hard to deal with them. I love the idea of taking them out and rubberbanding them together. I also like the banker’s boxes, as they are neat and clean looking and stack well. Thanks, Erica!

  25. Salutations All,

    Im getting ready to homeschool my child for the very first time she will be starting in August and will be coursing the first grade. She has been in a private Christian bilingual school since pre-k but I decided she should home school the next semester because my husband just enlisted in the military and we are waiting on orders for us to move. Since we have no idea on when we will be moving I really wasn’t a fan of paying her enrollment fee, since like a mentioned we have no idea when we would be moving and having to pay for books, uniforms, monthly fees ext in a way to me makes no sense. I also feel that it would be a great opportunity to strengthen her english before we move state side.

    I just wanted to know whats your opinion on saving all school work on pdf files online on drop box or icloud.

    Im already organizing her curriculum and most of her work will be done on her ipad. I have purchased her books in pdf. The reason why is that I find it to be more eco friendly. The only thing that she will have hard copy is her english and spanish class workbooks and of course art but Im still considering scanning it all and saving the pdf files at the end of her school year. We are currently in Puerto Rico so mainly everything is very flexible and there are not many regulations for homeschooling, the only thing that Im required to do is to give similar curriculum and same days and class hours.

    Thank you all so much for reading and any opinions comments or suggestions will be much obliged.

Speak Your Mind

*