Getting Organized in an Online School

Today I was planning on posting about getting connected in an online school, but because school has just started, or in our case in Colorado school starts tomorrow, it’s timelier to write about getting organized.

Now that you as a parent have made this significant commitment of time and energy to ensure that your child receives a world class education, getting organized is the next step. You can help your student prepare for a successful school year by setting up an environment for learning which best meets your child’s and your family’s needs.  The learning space you create, which will look different for everyone, should be one that defines the way your child best learns while keeping your family’s needs at heart.

Our space looks like this…







School hasn’t started yet so it’s nice and neat, but when we’re in full gear our schoolroom looks like this…

Even though we school at the library, in the car, and sometimes in the backyard it’s important to have a place for everything and everything in its place.

Organizers are a huge help in arranging our space so that it’s a grab and go for the items we need when we need them.

These bins hold notebooks and folders that we use daily and we save the bottom bin for scrap paper that we use constantly…

We use these containers to store our lab materials for science…

And more bins to store paper…

These two wall organizers have been a huge help in keeping papers organized and easy to reach…

And our little plastic drawers hold everything from glue, crayons, tape, markers, scissors, and rulers to flash cards, ink cartridges and computer wipes…









And since we have the flexibility in our virtual school to use what works best for our note taking and writing needs, we have found these to be the best fit for us.  Folders, spiral notebooks, and composition books…

There’s a folder for each subject…

As learning coach and mentor I create several folders on my computer in my documents. I make one folder for each of my children and one for important school documents.  I label each folder with a similar first word so the folders are all together and not scattered in my documents. So my folders for school all start with our school’s name, COVA. My documents look like this…

Keeping folders on the desktop is another idea for easy use.

Inside each one of my children’s folders I create folders for each of their classes and for whatever else I want organized.  The inside of my daughter’s folder for last year looked like this…

Keeping folders also helps to alleviate printing, because you can store what you need and retrieve it at the click of a mouse.  Our school offers pacing guides which I always copy at the beginning of the year and keep in my folders so in case we lose internet we can still be on track for off line assignments that need to be completed, or we can move ahead to the next day’s work if there are no off line assignments left for the day.  If your student takes notes on a word document, folders are a great place to store that info too.  And you’ll probably receive a welcome letter, course syllabus, and teacher contact info which can be stored in your documents as well.

REMEMBER to back up on a regular basis!

I’ve found  flash drives and SD cards to be handy for quick saving.

This is how I got organized when it came to optional lessons:

When my daughter was in elementary school we had optional lessons for many of the units.  Optional means it doesn’t need to be completed, but my daughter loved to do the optional lessons mostly because they were so cool, but “Sometimes” for me as learning coach optional lessons weren’t so cool but more of a time commitment that I wasn’t always willing to give after a day of what needed to be completed.  So I decided that for those optional lessons that she was so passionate about completing, I would print them off and keep them in a folder titled “Optional Lessons”.  This way they could be completed at any time that we had extra time and this was a great way to satisfy both of us.  It turned out over the years that the optional lessons were sometimes completed late at night, over holiday break, and many times with her siblings, so it really worked well for our family.

TIP: I e-mail myself documents that are really important and that I want to retrieve anytime or anyplace.

The start of the new school year WILL be the most time consuming for new families, but getting organized will help you to help your children be successful in this online learning environment.

Online schooling is a huge commitment on the part of the parent and there may be times that you feel like just giving up.

On those days, remember why you brought your children home to learn.

On those days remember that you have an extensive support system; don’t be intimidated to ask for help.

On those days give yourself permission to take a break.

On those days it’s okay to quit early.

And on those days remember to breathe.

I’d love to hear about how you get organized for your school year, and if you have any questions please feel free to comment and I’ll get back with a reply.


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  1. Great article, Lori. You have such a great set up there. Good luck to Ashlyn and Shannon this year.

  2. Love this post! It’s really helpful. I love those wall organizers. I need those. I didn’t know what I needed until I saw those. But, that’s it.
    And as far as the folders on the computer go, brilliant. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. Do you save everything?
    And where do I find the pacing guide? That sounds really helpful.
    So much good advice. I have to say, I’m starting from scratch and am so clueless. I think the best advice is about breathing though. Yesterday, when my computer was all crazy, I think I stopped breathing. I was so frustrated and panicky. I felt like we weren’t getting it done and we were going to fall behind and never catch up. And we were all going to be failures. lol
    I think I’d have benefited from walking away. I feel like I have permission now. Thanks!

  3. Thanks! This is my first time homeschooling…my son is in 7th grade. I’m not a real organized person, so these tips are EXTREMELY helpful. Our space is just about in order and I’m getting it ready A.S.A.P.

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