I am beyond thankful for the resources I have found online for homeschooling. Over the years, I have downloaded countless resources for my kids to learn letters, numbers, patterns – you name it, I have used it to help my kids. But there is often a struggle to organize and use the downloads at the right time.
I have created a super simple way to organize my downloaded homeschool resources and a system for using them. And I thought I would share it with you. If you are struggling with overwhelm from all the available resources, I hope this article will help you turn the overwhelm into a blessing.
This post may include affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase based on my recommendation, I get a small remuneration at no extra expense to you. I only recommend things I actually use and believe to be a blessing.
Where I Get Resources for my Homeschool Online
I have a number of go-to places for homeschooling resources and printables. Countless available resources actually often do not meet my needs. And I have found that when things are free, you get what you pay for. Here is my list of resources I use in my Classical and Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool. Many of them are paid resources, but I have found real value in them. [Ahem…If I cannot find what I am looking for, I often have to create it myself. So, I included myself in this list.]
- The Crafty Classroom – wonderful printables for preschool through elementary years. I am always impressed with the quality of her resources. Right now I am putting the Periodic Table of Elements pack and a Handwriting/Tracing resource into my cart.
- EdZone – a family owned online business, they carry a number of vendors in one place (including The Crafty Classroom). I really like their selection and resources. Many of their resources I printed out years ago (and laminated) are still in use around here.
- Math Geek Mama – I love the resources Bethany creates for her subscribers! I struggle with making math fun and am always looking for resources to use in the gaps of our year. She has lots of games and activities that are perfect for us. We love her Pattern Block Logic resources!
- Life, Abundantly – Erin is the creator of the Gentle + Classical Preschool. It is simply beautiful! Even if I don’t follow every detail of her lesson plans, they definitely have had a huge impact on my approach to our homeschool preschool.
- Classical Conversations Connected – while this is a subscription service, I have found so many wonderful resources to support our Classical Conversations journey. Other parents create resources and put them on a sort of message board, too. So helpful!
- Amy Snyder Designs – We absolutely love her resources. I make sure to create a special book for each of my kids each year to help them with Classical Conversations memory work.
- Bundle Resources – Bundles have been a big trend online for years. I do not always find them worth it. But there have been a few that have knocked my socks off. Currently available is the Harbor & Sprout Collection – a Charlotte Mason feast! I am spending my morning getting this one unpacked and organized!
- Simple.Home.Blessings. – yep – I included myself on my list of resources because I actually use the things I have created. Each item in my shop is the result of a need for one (or all) of my kids which I couldn’t find addressed anywhere else. My favorites are always our Gathering Placemats (used every single day in our home) and my Saxon Math Teacher Companions.
What I do with New Homeschool Resources
Each of the downloaded resources I get for my homeschool have an action and a destination. I follow the same process for each download I get when I download it, so it doesn’t get overwhelming to handle. The actions I take with a new download are:
- open it, scrolling through to see if it is indeed something I find helpful for my homeschool
- move it to the appropriate folder (discussed below),
- print it – if I need a portion or all of the resource immediately, I will sometimes send it straight to the printer. (I have some Homeschool Printing Hacks you may find helpful for this)
- delete it – I have absolutely no misgivings about deleting a resource at this point which I know will not be helpful in any setting of my homeschool.
Once I have found a resource I want to download, I save them to my computer in a number of organized files. If the download doesn’t allow me to select which file it will download to, it will go to a general “Download” file which I open up, examine, and either delete (if it is not something I want) or move to an appropriate file.
The files I have set up in my computer for use in my homeschool (even if I have made them) are directed to a subfile in my Documents folder. I try to make the subfiles within each folder broad enough to contain more than one file, but not so broad that everything goes into it and it can become lost in the abyss. I love that it is easy to just grab and drag the new downloaded files to the appropriate subfile. Here’s a glimpse at what is going on in my Documents folder:
And here is a glimpse inside my “School” folder with its various subfiles.
You can see from the picture above, I have some of my favorite (most used curricula in their own individual files (All About Spelling, Classical Conversations, IEW, etc). I also have a file for prominent subjects (Bible, Latin, Math). There are broader topics as well – Gathering, Planning, Preschool.
Here’s the hidden beauty of this type of filing system:
Because I have this filing system and I have been honing it for years, I simply do not download things which do not fit into these categories. I know what I am looking for when I go online and if it doesn’t fit neatly into one of these files, I already know it is not for me.
Knowing When to Use Homeschooling Resources
I sit down and PLAN my year during the month of April each year (strange timing, I know). But I love taking a leisurely month to plan down to the very bottom of the schedule, so to speak.
I have two braces for my year – the Ambleside Online Reading Schedules and Classical Conversations curricula. They form the pillars upon which the garland of the year are draped. Once I have the pillars in place, I begin to look for the garland. I get the garland of our year from the files I have been downloading all year in preparation. I don’t spend hours scrolling through Pinterest, I simply go to my computer filing system and select resources which will work within the framework of our year ahead.
I don’t often print out the resources I need until it is time for me to use them. I simply make note in my homeschool planner (I love and use this one) to remind myself to print it out for the week or month ahead. Taking note of special days or holidays, I will add in some extras along the way to make our year unique.
How to Organize Homeschool Resources Now
So, you may think this system is all well and good, but when you open up your computer, the clutter and mess is overwhelming! I have got you. I have a simple process for reorganizing according to the parameters above. It may take a little time to get on track, but this is how I deal with the mess – a timer!
I sit down for uninterrupted time – 15 minutes a day – until it is back to where it needs to be. I don’t do anything in that time besides the actions I listed above. When the timer goes off, I stop and go do something else. Then I come back to it the next day until everything is in its place.
The standard I have for “organized” is no individual files outside of a folder or subfolder. See how the pictures above have only folders in view? Once I get down to the smallest subfolder, I will place the individual documents or files into that folder. There is not an instance where a folder is inside a folder alongside other documents or files.
I hope this article has been a blessing to you as you plan and organize your homeschool! May God richly bless your family as you learn together.