We use lots of digital resources in our homeschool. Come to think of it, I can’t imagine homeschooling without these digital lifesavers. Since we’re going into our tenth year of homeschooling, you can imagine the huge digital library we’ve accumulated through the years.
Our digital library is chockfull of worksheets for every subject, e-books for the kids and for myself, all sorts of great curricula, and planning resources. It’s a sight to behold, that’s for sure!
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Have you not yet fallen in love with all of the cyber goodness? If you’re loyal to your trusty physical textbooks and whatnot, here are just a few reasons for you to consider adding digital resources to your homeschool library:
Digital homeschool resources are generally less expensive than physical resources. In fact, many are free. Best reason of all, right?
They don’t junk up your house. That’s important if you’re homeschooling from a small space.
Two words: Kindle freebies.
Digital resources are perfect for supplementing your lesson plans.
They work with pretty much any homeschool scenario.
Tips for Organizing Your
Digital Homeschool Resources
1. Organize by Subject
Once upon a time, I organized my digital homeschool files by grade level. That makes perfect sense, right? Well, this worked out for a year or two, but became a neglected mess before my very eyes. I missed items I looked forward to using because of my files being arranged by grade level. Organizing by subject helps avoid that kind of frustration.
For example, if we didn’t have time to cover a specific science topic one year, it became difficult to remember what resources were on hand when planning to cover it in following years. After all, it’s hard to remember each science resource you’ve saved for second grade once you’re homeschooling a fourth grader.
Now I have two flash drives I work with for homeschooling; one for early learning and one for elementary and up. These flash drive files are much easier to manage now that they’re all organized by subject rather than grade!
2. Narrow Down Topics within Subject Folder
Once you’ve made folders for each subject, create subfolders within each folder. For example, my math folder contains several subfolders that allow me to quickly find exactly what I need. If I’m looking for a specific resource to help us cover fractions, I can easily find it by opening my fractions folder.
3. Keep a To Be Printed File
Chances are if you’re stocking up on digital resources, you’ll need a printing system that works well for you. I have a To Be Printed file on each of my flash drives and in my laptop’s My Documents folder. That way, I can easily copy and paste items for the upcoming week into one location. I don’t search a folder and print a few items and then search another folder and print from there. By having a To Be Printed file, I can quickly access everything I need to print throughout the homeschool week.
I can sometimes print all at once for the week, but sometimes it’s better to wait and print day by day. Some of my items are merely on standby. I don’t want to waste precious paper and ink by printing those items and end up not using them. That’s where this To Be Printed file shines the most.
When I’m done with my planning and printing for the timeframe, I delete those copied files and have an empty folder waiting for the next round of printing.
4. Send to Kindle
I organize my e-books the same as I do my curricula and supplemental resources. I have a folder titled “homeschool books,” that contains any e-versions of our curricula and actual e-books. Most of the subfolders contain items for the kids, but I even have a “mom stuff” folder for books on homeschool encouragement, administrative helps, and teaching tips.
When it comes time to access all of these books, I use the Send to Kindle option. This makes it possible to use your Kindle or preferred device to read all of these e-books and other documents. This is such a lifesaver for using e-books in your homeschool!
Once it’s installed, you can simply right click on your e-books and files and select the Send to Kindle option. It’s that simple and it makes using digital homeschool resources a piece of cake!
5. Backup Your Resources
This one goes without saying, but a reminder never hurts. The last thing you’d want is to have this beautiful stockpile of homeschool resources and then lose them all because of some computer-related snafu.
Whether your original storage location is a flash drive or the My Documents folder of your computer, be sure to back up your resources on a regular basis. I recommend adding a backup reminder to your homeschool planner every few months.
6. Don’t Procrastinate
Don’t let your digital resources linger in your Downloads file. Like any kind of filing, it can be tempting to put it off, but the best thing to do is move your resources to the correct folders immediately after downloading. That way, no questions asked, your resources are ready and waiting when you need them.
By delaying, you risk forgetting what you’ve downloaded and making it difficult to find your resources when you need them.
Also remember to rename your files when necessary. If changing a file name helps you easily identify it when you need it, then go for it. There’s no reason to keep the original name if it’s not helpful to you.
7. Hunting Tips
Wondering where to find all of these digital resources for your homeschool? Here are a few of my favorite places for digital resources:
- CurrClick – Online classes and clubs, curriculum, lapbooks, and tons of supplemental resources are all available through CurrClick. I’m usually searching for specific topic on CurrClick; I do a quick search and see what’s available. When I find a good match, I purchase it, download it, and add it to our lesson plans. Easy Peasy.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is also a great place to find digital resources for your homeschool. Just be sure to go in with a plan and be ready to research. Otherwise you’ll be distracted by fabulous recipes and decorating ideas while you’re on mission. (I’m always pinning great homeschool resources; be sure to stop by and see all of the homeschool goodness I’ve pinned. You can follow me at pinterest.com/ebcopeland.)
- Your favorite homeschool publishers – Most curriculum publishers have physical and digital resources available. Be sure to check with your favorite publishers to learn more.
It’s taken time to find what works best for keeping my digital homeschool resources under control, but these tips have worked well for me and I hope they’ll be helpful to you too. What about you? What are your best tips for organizing your digital resources?