Monday, May 31, 2010

A Homeschool Filing and Storage Idea

Have you ever pulled hair out over how to put away all the work you accumulate after a year or years of homeschooling?

Here's a suggestion. Now that our official school year is over, it's time to compile all the copies of his charter school reports and portfolio samples to file away. So for Year 0 and Year 1, I kept the copies in soft-covered binders. I bought different colors for every year and they served me well when we lived in our small apartment because I could store them in a bookshelf. However, these soft binders were too thin for me to include completed workbooks and projects.

I didn't want to tear out pages from the workbooks because for one, I didn't know which ones to keep or toss. So I'd end up storing workbooks separately in a Staples cardboard crate. While it was convenient to just dump workbooks in the crate, it failed the purpose of filing materials away by year of completion. And then there was the space issue.

So this year, I bought us two expandable binders. Here are a few that I considered:

I finally settled on two 20-pocket Ampad expanding files from WalMart. A blue one for Years 0 to 4. I expect the green will last us from Year 5 to at least 7. These hold samples and attendance records as well as completed workbooks, notebooks and projects that we want to keep. And the expanding file has a slim footprint, even if you live in a very small space. See photo on left comparing one expanding file with enough space to hold about 5 years' worth of work for one child to the crate which holds a lot but ends up looking a mess.

Of course, I also tossed a small pile of completed work that I thought was unnecessary to store.

Photos here show the "great transfer", from crate and binders to a hold-it-all expanding file :) From mess to streamlined organization!

Each year's work is color-coded using binder clips:

Total cost (for enough space to neatly hold at least 6-8 years' worth of work for my child) was just over $25 and this included 2 expanding files and 2 tins of colorful binder clips.

2011 Update: I still use the binder clips to sort work by year. But have now moved from expanding files to clear tote containers with handles. Very much like this one (only ours have blue lids). I like the difference because it helps me to visually inspect some of the contents without even opening the container. I couldn't do that with the expanding files. Some options below:

   Sterilite Large ShowOffs Storage Container       Officemate Easy Grip Large Binder Clips, Assorted Metallic Colors, 6 Packs of 6 Clips Each (31051)

Here's a record-keeping for homeschoolers post by my friend Lisa. Thanks Lisa!


  1. Looks like a great solution!

  2. I've been desperately searching for a solution JUST like this! Thank you for posting!!


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