Convention season can feel like Christmas for the homeschool mom. Long walks in giant exhibitor halls, and temptation to buy everything in sight, can mean trouble if you’re unprepared without a digital curriculum inventory!
I’m a pretty organized person, and living simply is something I strive for, however, I do have
one, ok two weaknesses. These are books, and curriculum. I’m a hoarder, with a serious book problem, and though I admit it freely, I am not willing to compromise and minimize in this area (sorry mom).
I do however, have a system for keeping all the stuff in order, and I always know what I have, what I need, and what I need to stay away from, thanks to my digital curriculum inventory.
Having a digital file you can take with you everywhere you go, will save you time, money, and possible arguments with your husband when he asks why you have 8 copies of the Goblet of Fire [eek]!
Today, I’m sharing 3 ways I use to keep track of all the good stuff.
1. Use book collector apps on your mobile device.
One of the easiest ways to keep track of physical books and homeschool curriculum is through a collector app on your mobile device. My favorite, is Book List Library ISBN Scanner, by iCollect. I paid $9.99 a few years ago, and I can honestly say it’s been a very wise investment.
To add a book to your collection, tap on the + sign on the top right. Decide wether you want to scan the barcode, enter the ISBN manually, or search the database. I like to scan and move on. All relevant information is automatically populated and you’re ready to go.
Original set-up took a few hours and some team work (roughly 1,800 books & curriculum), but the up-keep is simple: scan books and curriculum as soon as they make it into the house. There’s even an option to indicate the storage location. We have 5 bookcases and 2 curriculum only units. As I put each book away I can easily designate a spot, so I always know where it’s at.
Another nice feature, is the ‘loaned to’ option. Since I am the town’s book/curriculum hoarder extraordinaire, my collection has turned into a lending library of sorts. This feature allows me to keep track of what I know I will forget.
LibraryThing, is a comparable app if you’re on Android. The coolest thing about this app, is that there’s a whole community of book enthusiasts behind it.
2. Use Trello to keep track of other curriculum.
I talked a little about Trello earlier this week, and briefly I mentioned I use it to keep track of theater props, costumes and sets as well.
Besides it being great for project management and lesson planning in our homeschool, Trello is also a great way to keep track of things like math manipulatives, flashcards, art supplies, and more.
Time for another confession; I also hoard art, and crafting supplies. I collect things I constantly reuse not only in our homeschool, but in Sunday School and VBS as well. Because this memory of mine is really not that great at remembering, I can take pictures and add quick notes to cards that will remind me of what I have.
If you haven’t yet, download Trello, and create a quick digital inventory of all the cool things in your homeschool. It’s easy and super helpful.
3. Take a digital file organization course.
This is where I need the most help at this time, so if you struggle here, you’re not alone.
There are fantastic homeschooling resources all over the web, and the problem I run into is trying to keep track of all the freebies I’ve downloaded though the years. If I have no idea what I have, I’m probably not going to use it. This is both unhelpful to me, and to the person that put the time and resources into creating a download that will never come to life.
The best solution I found, is Techie Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Digital Homeschool Organization Course. In this course Beth walks you step by step on getting all that good stuff accessible again.
Registration for this course just closed, but you can get on the waiting list for the next round.
Take control today and you’ll reap some serious benefits in the future.
Homeschooling can easily take over a great deal of your budget, physical space in your home, and create stress over the little things. By setting some systems in place early on, we can minimize the worry and enjoy the benefits instead.
As always, I challenge you to get organized, by using tech in your homeschool.