12 Essential Items to Color Code

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Essential Items to color-code for a peaceful homeschool.

Do the children in your house bicker over the oddest items? Fight over school supplies? Then you need to color-code these items for a peaceful homeschool!

1. Pencils

Yes, I strongly recommend color-coding pencils. If your children are anything like mine, they’ve fought over pencils. By having colored pencils, there’s no longer any substance to claim-jumping their sibling’s pencils.

Color-coded pencils

2. Compasses

 If you look around you can find compasses in different colors. This is handy when all the kids are at the table doing math. Invariably someone will mislay their compass and claim their sibling stole it.

Colored Compasses

3. Protractors

Yes, I actually color code the children’s protractors. The children, for some odd reason, can be notoriously bad about putting protractors away in their school boxes. I end up with protractors making their way into the toy bin. Color-coded protractors are easily returned to their rightful owner.

Colored Protractors

4. Spiral Notebooks

Why do children fight over notebooks? You’d think they could simply open the notebook and establish ownership. Nope, too much work. Instead, keep the spiral notebooks color-coded so you can tell whose is whose at a glance.

Spiral Notebooks

5. Rulers

Rulers, like protractors, end up in the toy bin. Personally, I have better things to do than to check all six children’s school supplies to ensure they all have a ruler. Color-coding ensures I know which child is missing their ruler.

Colored Rulers

6. 3-Ring Binders 

Yes, I color code everything I possibly can. 3-ring binders are no exception, especially the kids’ portfolio binders. I can easily file papers away in the correct binder without needing to think too hard.

3-Ring Binders

7. Book Bins

It helps if each child has a different color of book bin or crate. This way you simply drop wandering school supplies off in the correct crate without needing to examine the supplies on the inside. For some reason, the children get a little incensed when I  return supplies to the wrong child.

Book Bins

8. Scissors

Yep! I color code scissors. Otherwise, we end up with lost scissors all around the house for the preschoolers to use. Since my little ones are quite inventive with their cutting, I prefer scissors out of their reach… or at least know which child was the guilty party!

Colored Scissors

9. Pencil Boxes or supply holders 

If the pencil boxes aren’t color-coded, the children will actually argue over whose it is. You’d think they would glance at the color-coded supplies on the inside, but I think that requires too much common sense for bored children looking for an excuse to avoid schoolwork.

Pencil Boxes

10. Folders

The folders the children use to keep their writing assignments in are color-coded. This helps me when the kids hand in assignments for me to review.

Colored Folders

11. Pencil Sharpeners

Just like pencils, pencil sharpeners have been the cause of many a fine argument in my house. It’s simpler to ensure that each child has a specific color-coded sharpener than be putting out fights all week.

Pencil Sharpeners

items to color-code12. Erasers

I did mention color-coding the strangest items, and yes, we color code erasers. It saves fussing and fuming when the kids are already upset at having made a mistake in the first place.

Colored Erasers

Color-coding every school supply you can think of prevents countless arguments from breaking out and sowing seeds of chaos and turmoil in the homeschool. Instead, we end up with a peaceful homeschool in which each child knows what supplies are theirs.

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  1. Great idea, I don’t think I would have thought of this! I’ll have to use this trick when we add to our family. Thank you for linking up on the SHINEbloghop, I’m stopping by from Letters to Amelia Blog!

    1. It took a few fights before I ran across color coded pencils and had an epiphany – color coding! It worked better than I expected. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Mandy!

  2. I will be homeschooling at least 2 kids and I didn’t think of color coding these things! So simple but a great idea for organizing. Thanks! Visiting from SHINEBlogHop#27

    1. I only thought of it after I was homeschooling 3 children who constantly fought over pencils, of all things! It’s worked better than expected. 🙂

  3. I will definitely be doing this! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before. Thank you!

  4. I just started doing it this school year & it really has helped a lot! I bought colored duck tape & color coded their supplies. Now they fight a lot less over these things! The pencil fights were driving me crazy!

    1. I didn’t think of duct tape! That would work as well.

      Aren’t the pencil fights the worst! I could not believe the kids were fighting over PENCILS the first time it happened in my house.

  5. Having a large family, we’ve been color coding for years. In fact, when I asked my 16 year old to make Christmas gift tags for me (3 per sibling) he kept asking me which color goes to whom, so he could use the matching Sharpie.

  6. Great ideas, I am going to spend a week after Christmas, getting myself sorted for the coming school year (ours starts in February in Australia) and will be book marking this page. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    1. Color coding has helped my family avoid many, many fights. Actually my 18yo and I were just laughing about the endless pencil fights he and his siblings used to have. 😉

  7. Hi, I just found your site through Pinterest, you have a very beautiful blog and it has refreshed my homeschool heart!
    I have always organized by color so it was natural when we had girls 18 months apart and one showed an interest in purple over pink that their color coding would begin! Then my son came along. I waited again to see some preference and he loves red. Most things are bought by color if they aren’t shopping with me, coats, hats, shoes, and toys. I check in every so often to see if they want a change, oldest is 9 and still rocking purple!

    Our school is a mix, for the teachers binder and finished work we have, I color code each subject. On their notebooks I break out a giant sharpie and write their name across the front. (My husband and I co-teach so we have to be on the same page without phone-calls asking what, where and why things are where they are) And we just dump pencils in one box, scissors in another, pens in a jar etc. and just call it the schools. We tried individual, color code,d of course, but the kids never had what they needed! Like you said they where in the toy box or upstairs used for other projects.

    1. Thank you, Janett!

      I’m a believer in keeping things simple, and it sounds like having common pencils, scissors, and pens works well for your family. 🙂 My kids fought over pencils. To be honest I don’t think they were as concerned about the pencil as they were looking for an excuse to avoid math for a few more minutes, lol. Binders are never fought over, but I love having them color coded. I can see at a glance which binder I need to grab!

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