Going with the Flow....of Homeschool Papers

A few tips to help the flow of homeschool work papers.......

So you open up a child's school folder and see a piece of work. Has it been graded? Has your student corrected problems marked wrong?  These questions come up a lot so I devised a few simple systems to help quickly answer these questions:

Work Folders

We currently use two pocket folders to hold work that is submitted for grading and work that has been returned for corrections. The right pocket is for work that each child has completed and the left side is for work that I have graded but needs to be corrected.

Homeschool Work Turn In Folders
 This works pretty well most of the time, but sometimes there is some confusion (a page may be misplaced in the wrong side), so there are other systems in place.....

Graded Work That Needs Corrections

1) Obviously if a student sees an "x" or some marks on their paper, they can tell if corrections are needed. But sometimes, my kids don't seem to think to look over all pages of an assignment that I put back in (or maybe it's just laziness???)  and they come to question me as to what needs correcting.
So, when I correct a piece of work, I:

Put the total amount of points for an assignment under a fraction bar and leave the top blank.

This way, they know, I didn't assign a total grade and this work has been graded.

2) Ok, so I see a piece of work in the submitted section and I see my unfinished grade marking (total points on bottom, no number on top mark). Has my student corrected this? It should be in the corrections side if not, but well, sometimes it's  not.  So.....we use the top right corner as a little message area. An initial (and whether it's checked or not) tells whose court the ball is in:

So, if corrections are needed by my student, I put his/her initial in the top right corner. When my student sees the paper and his/her initial, it's show time for them.  When he or she completes corrections, he or she can write my initial (U in this case for "Ummy). So when I see the paper again with an unmarked "U" and a check by my student's initials, I know he or she has made corrections and it's my turn.

Graded, No (more) Corrected Needed

Now, we have to turn in all our work to a supervising teacher (after it's been graded by me). So, I have a small binder for each student with subject divisions. In the early days with this program, I use to use simple manila folders and paper clips to keep all the work together. These binders have been revolutionary; they are much more easy to transport and keep papers together.  If you are homeschooling on your own and want to keep the work for record-keeping purposes, at this point you could just file in a filing cabinet, or use the binders to hold the current year's work and then just store the work in a filing cabinet or box after the year is over. When I was homeschooling independently, I never really kept work that much (we moved around a lot), You could also take pictures of "standout "work or just digital copies of work that you may need for a portfolio or eportfolio or just in case you lose the work.

A few more homeschool paperwork organization tips:

Use Spiral Notebooks to keep track of work

When I first started homeschooling, we would just do some math problems on a page and then I'd throw the page out. As we got deeper into our homeschooling, I realized that this method wasn't going to cut it. So, we branched out and bought some spiral notebooks. They are awesome for helping kids keep track of their work. They can keep homework assignments intact in the book until they are ready to turn it in, heck, you can even have them turn in the notebook for correcting.

We've gone back and forth over the years as to whether or not we like one spiral notebook for all work or one for each subject.  I tend to prefer the one spiral for all subjects because then there is just the one spiral notebook to keep up with.  I currently homeschool six kids so you can imagine what it would be like to have six kids turning in 4 notebooks a piece...................

Spiral notebooks or composition books are also great to use as assignment tracker books.  You can use a table format to denote the date, subject, and assignment and student can check off assignments as they complete them and you can make a column for you to mark off that an assignment has been graded. I used to do this more when we homeschooled on our own as my kids currently have assignment sheets/pacing guides provided to them by our public homeschooling program.

Where Should My Students Submit Their Work/Folder

We've used different systems over the years for my kids to turn in their work to me and for me to return it. I mentioned earlier we use a two pocket folder for turning in and returning work. But those folders have got to go somewhere.... In the past, I've taped manila folders onto the wall for each student. At one time, kids just put their folders on the printer near my computer.  Currently, we are using a repurposed cardboard box system that I love:

Homeschool Cardboard Box Shelves

I've always wanted some shelves from Staples or whatnot but they are pretty pricey to me so when we had a surplus of cereal boxes, perfect! As you can see, I have a lot of boxes. There is one for each kid, plus an extra paper catchall shelf.  After some time, the structure started to weaken, so I have since laid them on their side:

I love our boxes and I think I love them even more because I made them.  Of course, I could have covered the outsides with contact paper to make them a little more pleasing to the eye, but hey, sometimes "ain't nobody got time for that....."

What kinds of organization methods do you employ for your homeschool to keep track of the flow of paper?  


  1. As-salaamu aleykum sister,
    I love the way you use the cereal boxes. I will try that in sha'Allah.

    1. wa alaykum us salaam,

      I know, I love them! lol. They've held up for longer than I would have thought. I also made a cool pencil holder from old frosting containers. It's so neat, alhamdulillah, when you can take old stuff you have and upcycle to create something useful. I have a Pinterest board that has other ideas for reusing cardboard: https://www.pinterest.com/tjhomeschooling/repurposing-cardboard/