What do you think of when you think of school work? Paper and writing utensil of some sort, right? After 13 years of school per child, all that paper adds up! Between the cost of the paper, and the added waste, it seems a pity to use so much. Here’s five easy ways to reduce paper waste in your homeschool:
Use whiteboard for scratch paper
It’s easy to find personal size white boards at an office supply store. Or if you have a laminator, you can laminate a piece of notebook paper and use it again and again. Especially in the younger years where you don’t need to keep every single assignment, even daily work (spelling words, math problems, etc) can be done on a reusable surface.
Use Dropbox to hand in finished work
Our family uses Dropbox a lot, and I use it for various organizations I volunteer with as well. It’s a great file sharing system that seamlessly integrates with your computer, making it look like you’re just placing files in another folder. While the main use for Dropbox is to share files with people in geographically different locations than you, it works great as a way to turn in work as well.
Double sided printer
I love my double sided printer and now it really bugs me if I can’t print double sided for something because it feels like such a waste of paper. It’s a little more expensive to buy it, but if you use your printer often (what homeschooling family doesn’t?), it definitely pays for itself after a while. Our printer is just an HP OfficeJet, not anything terribly fancy, but it did have the option to get one with double sided printing capability.
Sheet protectors over worksheets
Okay, so I’ve come to find out that it’s against copyright law to share worksheets across students, but it’s not illegal to reuse something for the same student. Sheet protectors are a great way to reuse the same paper over and over again (times tables, anyone?), and laminating is even better. Even the front of a binder with a cover page pocket in it will work. Whatever it is, get use of that worksheet without having to make photocopies!
Verbally answer questions
I don’t suggest changing all problems to verbal answers, but there are times where it isn’t necessary to write it down. I also found that I tend to get more thoughtful answers if Care Bear is answering me verbally versus having to write out her answer. When it comes down to it, it’s easier to talk about something than to write about it.