Welcome back to day five in our current series 10 Days of Homeschooling for Free & Frugal.
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Today my friend Tabitha shares
The internet offers an abundance of free printables perfect for homeschooling, but sometimes I just cannot find what I want. So, when I get an idea in my head and I cannot find it online, I create my own printables.
If you are sitting there and thinking, “I could never do that. Just looks too hard. Too time-consuming…” let me give you some tips that will help put your anxiety to rest.
Software for Making Printables
If you are wondering if you need special software to create printables, the answer is “no.” You can use almost any document software to create printables as long as it allows page formatting and supports the use of clip art.
I use Microsoft Word to make my printables. Honestly, I would prefer Microsoft Publisher but I am too frugal to hand over the money for an additional program that will just bog down my computer’s speed. Other bloggers like to use OpenOffice which is a free productivity website.
Choosing Clip Art for Printables
If you are using your printables at home and will not be distributing them past your front door, images are easy to find. However, if you plan to post your printables on a blog or use them in your co-op, please make sure that they are royalty-free or public domain. You do not want to be stepping on anyone’s copyright. And, be kind… disclose where you got your images so the artist gets the credit they deserve.
Personally, I use the images within Microsoft Word or from their online library. If I cannot find what I want there, one of my favorite hang-outs is at MyCuteGraphics.com. I used her cute clip art almost exclusively for my Multiplication Printables with Visual Cues.
Page Formatting Your Printables
When I am creating a printable document, I set the margins to zero all the way around the page and do not use a header or footer. I want the entire page to be my canvas. However, you have to keep in mind that printers have their own set of margins and each printer can be different. So as you lay out your worksheet, keep in mind that images which go to the edge may be cut.
If you are going to be creating multiple printables of a similar style, save yourself some time and create a template. Once you set up your text boxes and place your images, save the file. Then, each time you use this template to build a slightly different variation, you can click to “save as…” and give it a new file name, keeping your template intact.
Now, sometimes, your images or text boxes will try to jump around on the page. Here is a tip: Set the text wrapping on all text boxes and clip art to “square.” Then, you can drag them all over the page. If you need to overlap your images, choose either “behind text” or “in front of text.” Then, you can use the “send to back” or “bring to front” options to layer them in the order you prefer.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more time you spend with your software, the easier making your own printables will become, but if you feel your anxiety level rising, walk away. Check your library for a manual on your software, look online for tutorials (at a website like YouTube where you can see what they are doing), or take a community class that focuses on how to use your particular software.
As you grow in confidence, you will find that creating your own homeschool printables becomes easier and easier. Then, you will have exactly what you need, when you need it, and the only cost is your time.
Saved by grace, Tabitha Philen (also known as “Penny” to her readers) is a homeschooling, coupon clipping, frugal living wife to one terrific husband and mom to four amazing kids, ages eight and under. You can learn more about her at MeetPenny.com.
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.
You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!