How to Organize Kids’ Schoolwork

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Have you noticed how kids’ schoolwork takes over the house? Between the printed worksheets and coloring pages you’re going to need in a couple of weeks and the work the kids are completing now, it’s enough to drive you batty! You need a simple system to organize kids’ schoolwork.

There are three types of schoolwork in the homeschool: the work you’re planning to do, the work the kids are currently doing, and the work that’s completed.

Let’s run through how to stay on top of each type of schoolwork beginning with organizing the papers you’re planning to use.

The Simple Filing System

First, you need a simple filing system to organize kids’ schoolwork. And let me tell you, this simple filing system saved my sanity and my homeschool one chaotic spring!

First, find a large plastic container that will hold hanging dividers for storage. Then pick up hanging dividers and label them by week (Week 1, Week 2, ….., Week 36). Label one manila folder with each child’s name and place them in the hanging divider.

During the summer as I print the papers needed for the school year, I toss them into the appropriate manila folder. Papers my 2nd grader will need during week 18 go into the manila folder in the hanging divider for week 18.

Colored folders hold all materials for me. This includes tests, grading aids, and reading assignments to post. I keep one at the front of each week’s hanging divider.

The system is much simpler than it sounds! Here’s a detailed explanation of the filing system and how to set one up for yourself: How to Create a Simple Filing System for Your Homeschool.

A Crate for Each Child

Each child in the house has a crate to hold all schoolwork. Textbooks, working binder, spiral notebooks, workbooks, pencil case, rulers, and anything else specific to that child’s homeschooling needs go in the crates.

The idea is for each child to grab their crate in the morning, sit down, and be able to begin working. The kids are now much more independent!

The crates fit neatly under coffee tables, so they’re out of the way for family time in the evenings.

If you’d like a detailed look at how I use crates, read the post: The Ultimate Homeschool Storage Solution.

Organize Kids’ Schoolwork with a Working Binder

The working binder is simply a 3-ring notebook that holds all the papers and assignments your kids are working on that week. I place the papers into the working binder as I pull papers out of the file. I do it for my youngest children and supervise my middle school and high school kids.

Divide the binder in one of two ways. One is by subject, so kids can find everything they need for a specific subject in one spot. The other is by day. Everything to be completed on Monday goes behind the Monday tab. Everything to be complete on Tuesday goes behind the Tuesday tab, and so on and so forth.

Use the system which makes the most sense and is easiest for you.

My 9th-grade son places his assignment sheet inside the plastic cover of his binder. It sits next to him as he works, and he can see exactly what he needs to do!

Portfolio Binder

Also, keep what I call portfolio binders. These are large color-coded binders for each child. The binders are divided by subject and all material that needs to be kept is placed into the binders.

For instance, I don’t bother keeping the daily math lessons, but I store every test in the portfolio binder under the label Math.

Essays, book lists, and grammar assignments are kept under English. All history papers, maps, and timelines are kept under history. Science labs and tests are kept under science.

I think you get the idea! My goal is to be able to quickly check each child’s progress over the school year. We can see what their last grade was in math, what books were read for English, and even what art projects were completed for art.

Portfolio binders make excellent bragging fodder when grandparents come over to visit. They can see a growing pile of completed work!

Storage Container

Keep a storage container for each child as well. I like to empty out our portfolio binders each year so I can reuse the binder. But I want to keep my children’s work as well!

The solution is to keep a storage container or box for each child. Rubber band the papers together or place the papers in an old binder. Label the binders by year and place them in the storage container for the appropriate child.

Pass on the storage containers to the kids when they’re grown. Until then, you have everything you may need in one place.

Records to Keep

Let’s chat about what you should definitely keep since we’re on the topic of kids’ schoolwork. In my experience, K-8th schoolwork is handy for portfolios. It’s fun to look through and reminiscence.

However, colleges aren’t interested in what your child covered in the 5th grade. And 8th-grade material only matters if your kid is doing high school level work.

For high school you’ll want to keep:

  • List of books read for every class
  • A brief statement (paragraph) about what the class covered
  • Tests
  • Essays and written papers
  • Lab reports
  • Standardized test scores
  • Notable events from clubs and other high school activities
  • What activities your child participated in
  • Grades

Update your high school children’s transcripts and course descriptions at the end of each school year. It’s a lot easier to remember what you did for 9th grade at the end of 9th grade than it is to remember at the end of 12th grade!

Remember to double-check with every college your child may be interested in attending about their admissions requirements. Requirements change school to school and state to state. One state school may favor testing while another wants to see a list of every single book read in high school.

Keeping a running list now is easier than trying to recreate what you did as you’re applying to colleges!

The secret to organizing children’s schoolwork is to keep simple systems in place. A few minutes each week running papers through the system, from files to binder on to the portfolio will keep your house from being inundated with schoolwork with a few minutes running paper through the system each week.

Do you have a simple system for organizing kids’ schoolwork?

organize kids' schoolwork

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One Comment

  1. Love these ideas…thank you! I don’t know how I missed your blog all of these years, but I’m so glad I found it. I’ve got 7 sweet babes to raise, and the oldest “babe” is in 9th grade this year, so these systems will be helpful for us. Thanks again!

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