I learned the neatest homeschool “hack” last year that I wanted to share with my readers. It solves the problem of cleaning permanent Sharpie markers from plastic sheet protectors or laminated items. In an effort to save paper, there are many charts, games, and other learning tools that I’ve opted to laminate or put in clear plastic sleeves so the boys can use dry erase markers for filling them out to practice whatever the sheet is for: multiplication tables, Chart A from Classical Conversations’ Essentials program, or copywork, to name a few. The problem is, the small-tipped dry erase markers are hardly ever fine-tipped enough to make them good options for filling in the sheet. Inevitably, the letters melt together in a jumbled mush that is extremely difficult to read. I finally decided to let my boys use Sharpies instead, knowing even so that cleaning each sheet with nail polish remover would create a lot of extra work for me (and a significant smell!). I don’t remember exactly how it came up, but last year on Facebook a friend shared a MUCH simpler way to clean Sharpies off a plastic surface and it doesn’t involve any type of smelly liquid that can strip off the lacquer of your dining room table!
In case it all happens so fast you missed it: to remove permanent Sharpie ink from a clear plastic sleeve or something that’s laminated, simply write over the Sharpie ink with a dry erase marker and then erase the dry erase marker as you normally would (with an eraser, paper towel, or soft cloth). It sounds completely counter-intuitive but it works. I usually buy a brand new pack of dry erase markers at the start of each school year, so the old ones are perfect to use for this clean-up task—especially that light lime green one that never shows up very well on the whiteboard anyway.
If you’ve discovered a similar type of homeschool “hack,” please share in the comments!