20 Best Tips

Color Coding Dot Trick (Homeschool Sanity Saver #1,486)

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Color Coding Markers Homeschool Sanity Tip

Call me crazy, but each of our kids are color coded. It’s something we started way back when the kids were younger and sippy cups were running rampant through the house. Back then it was a sanity saver for me to know which cup belonged to which kiddo. Or be able to spot which milk cup was missing from the line up before I found a sour surprise weeks later.

(Sad, but true.)

The color coding has since carried over into many areas of our lives including school supplies and there’s now a little something we’ve done every year for at least the past five years – the dot trick.

Color Coding Markers Sanity Tip-1

Each of our kids has their own set of markers, colored pencils, and crayons. Usually the crayons stay in the boxes in a small bin above their desks, but those markers tend to jump out of the bins all by themselves and mysteriously roll onto the floor. And then they don’t belong to anybody. (Does ‘Anybody’ or ‘Not Me’ live at your house too??).

Color Coding Markers Sanity Tip-4

Before the school year starts, I use a sharpie to color code the bottom of our markers, scissors, pencils (pink, purple, blue, and green are our coding colors) – basically anything that might be tempted to up and walk off. That way, when the items are left out and nobody is willing to claim them, it is SIMPLE to figure out who it belongs to – and quickly. No more searching to see what color is missing from what bin. Sorting markers is easy. All we have to do is look at the bottom of the marker and voila! Problem solved. (This has also been a great trick for labeling co-op supplies too.)

And that, dear friends, is another way my sanity stays intact. Mildly OCD’ish, yes, but sanity is important to this mom and every little bit helps!

What sanity saver do you recommend?

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  1. This is too funny! We don’t give individual children all the coloring supplies (color coding for 8 kids borders on ridiculous) but tend to have family supplies and everyone is responsible for picking up after themselves or pitching in if they see something out.
    However, one thing we DO use is zippered pencil bags in each child’s 3 ring binder to hold their pencils, pens, erasers, etc. They’re responsible for putting their own back in their bag and if a school day arrives when they’re out of writing implements because theirs have wandered out of the bag they get a chore to earn new ones. The next time they get 2 chores, and so on. They learned pretty quickly to put their things away when they were finished.
    I love that there are so many creative ways to keep the homeschool supplies under control!

    • I don’t think we’d have individual supplies either with 8! :) Since we already needed several sets, getting a few more for us wasn’t a bit deal and this was the biggest headache saver for me. We have a few that are famous for ‘I didn’t do it!’ :)

  2. Great idea! With one child, I don’t have to color code things (and he can’t get away with the “nobody” or “not me”…lol), but I can imagine how useful this must be.

  3. Those are our colors too. I love coloring coding, notebooks, pencils, markers, cups, toothbrushes, etc. I may go a bit overboard, but so worth it.

  4. Along the same lines, I use a different color/pattern of Washi tape for each family member to help identify earbuds, charging cables, DVDs, etc. I have also used color-coded garage sale label dots to help me keep hundreds of nonfiction children’s books properly shelved by subject so I can find a certain book for a certain lesson. And with 4 boys in a row, I used a dot-marking system to identify their clothing. This wasn’t color-coded, but based on the number of dots: 1 dot for first child, 2 dots for second, and so on. As clothes were handed down to the next brother in line, another dot was added to the label. This system ultimately was abandoned when boy#3 outgrew boy#2, but it served us well for many years.

    • I remember this trick at the oddest times – and it is such a brilliant one!! Unfortunately I haven’t ever used it. With four boys that would definitely be handy!

    • love the dot idea for books!! I may have to start doing that soon with the different eras of history! :)

  5. This is a great idea. I don’t know that I’d do it with markers but with cups and other big things I love it. I get a lot of “not me” when I asked who took something… this does make it obvious!

  6. Last year was my first year to homeschool so I tried the “we’ll all share” method. Well…this year I’ve color coded. We used washi tape and patterned duck tape to “color” code things that were difficult to color code any other way.

  7. Leesa Chesnut says

    We color code our 4 boys too!!! I was getting ready to write a blog post about this too! :) So funny you mentioned this too! Love it and it works so well!

  8. All of our stuff is color coded too! Blue, purple, green and yellow. School binders, cups, travel pillows, toothbrushes, etc. Like Bekki, I may go overboard with it too :P I have tried taping their markers before, but it was a pain (in full disclisure, I taped their crayons too). I like the idea of a simple dot, but I have found that just dumping all of the markers in one bin made my life easier. It didn’t matter who they belonged too and everyone was responsible for pi c king them up. If I found a stray marker (or crayon), I cray on old just toss it in the bin without the headache of figuring out who they belonged to or who had been using someone eles’ s markers because they couldn’t find their own (that was a huge problem last year).

  9. Mama Fry says

    We do this too, but with duct tape. I also color code pouches, binders and book covers.

  10. Carleen Glynn says

    Too wonderful! We do the same “color coding” with our five kiddos :-) it never fails in this home that if there is not a color attached it will create havoc for someone. Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Purple are e colors we use and it goes to cups, plates, towels, and more. We range in age from 15-3 yrs and it has been an amazing time saver and deterrent to arguments and/or confusion for the little ones. So great to see I’m not alone out there with my silly ways! You are an amazing mommy blog to follow and give to me and my family in many ways, so thank you and keep it up!!

  11. Carleen Glynn says

    ….. Laura A…. Thank you for the dot system for the hand me downs, such a time saver for the hubby when distributing laundry!

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