Behinds the Scenes ~ Blog /Web Surfing, Organizing Ideas

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I am obviously online a lot, and I get asked often what I use to help simplify my online life! This post is dedicated to sharing that with you!

BLOGS…

First, if you are reading more than 5 blogs per day I HIGHLY recommend using a blog reader. If you are unfamiliar with this, I recommend learning it (not difficult at all), as it will make your blog surfing much easier and more time efficient! I have used Google Reader (with iGoogle also-I still use Google Calendar though)) and Bloglines, and I have now recently switched everything back to Bloglines, it is my personal favorite.

My favorite things about it is the little notifier I have on my desktop, it’s like an email notifier, so I always know if any of my subscribed blogs have updated.

I often skim through blogs in Bloglines and then when one strikes me, or there’s one I want to leave a comment on, I will open it up on the actual blog to remind myself I want to read that one further. I do that after I have sifted through Bloglines for the day- then the ones that I have opened are there for me to go back to before I am done!

I currently have 63 feeds coming in and obviously I do not have time to visit all of these blogs everyday. Bloglines only shows me NEW posts for that day! If I see an IDEA I like that’s where my next recommendation comes in…

ONLINE IDEAS…
Before I go any further I want to thank Alicia for sharing this with me last week, as I am new to it and already in LOVE! Evernote is the solution (for me at least) to organizing ideas I find online.
I am a very visual person and because of this my favorites bookmarks have gotten out of control, as I can’t remember why I put something in there, even if it is well labeled. The visual cue that Evernote provides is the answer for me!!!

The basic idea is that you “clip” a portion of a blog, or site (even straight from Bloglines) and send it to your Evernote account! It is so easy, fast, simple and AMAZING!

I am not going into a tutorial of how it works, but I promise with a bit of time YOU can figure it out! If you have ?s you can certainly see their FAQ page or contact their support. Here’s a bit of what I have learned and how I am using it so far…

Here’s a screen shot of a couple of my sections so far, the first is entitled “Homeschooling Ideas to MAKE” for all of those ideas I see online (mainly in blogs) that I am not ready to make yet but want to refer back to. In this image, you can see the little photos, and underneath is the blog/post name, and LINK back to it!!! They are also each individually tagged for even further organization. Here’s an example…I like the idea I found on Story Time and More. It is in my Homeschool Ideas folder, but also tagged with: colors, book ideas, Eric Carle. So if I wanted to find all things tagged about colors it would show up there too!

Here’s a screen shot of my “Tot Tray Ideas” folder…
Any time I come across a blog/site with a good idea for a Tot Tray I put it in this folder and then label it with tags too.

THE PRINTED STUFF…

Here’s my current homeschool binders…

  • Tot School: I keep his assessment sheets, master list of Tot School toys/tools we own, Tot Tray stuff, idea sheets, and more. Basically anything that is hand written about tot school is in here.
  • Pac Man’s Lesson Plans (in it I file the old ones, and keep the new ones, as well as blank sheets for planning). His current weekly plan is stored in a tray thing on our school table, the notebook is mainly for storage of plans we’re not currently using.
  • File Folders games/Matching Boards (both K and P’s are in a big 3 inch one now, probably will have to divide them soon)
  • SOTW (Story of the World) papers: Pac has one notebook to put his completed SOTW pages into.
  • Old Testament Overview: Pac also has one special notebook just for his Bible work.
  • Pac Man’s Stories

Right now that’s all I have. I do NOT print anything in advance, I only print things when I plan to use it. That’s why I love Evernote. I do not print lapbooking materials until right before we begin that particular lapbook. I only print worksheets I like or printed cards/activities I like, if I plan to use them that week. If they are not for immediate use-they get filed in Evernote. I hate wasting paper and having tons of it everywhere.

I am NO expert in this field (you should see my desk right now!!!!), and have learned about everything mentioned in this post from other wonderful moms online!!! If you have ideas, please share them in the comments below!