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Organization and Homeschooling
These two words need to hold hands and be snuggled up together. Unfortunately, this is a huge struggle for most people. I feel like I have finally got a pretty decent handle on this problem. I know what I have and, more importantly, I can find it. LOL, Let me tell you what works for me!
I set three goals for my homeschool things.
1. Everything needs a home, so I can locate it at all times.
2. Everything needs to be in close quarters.
3. Nothing needs to have to go together like a puzzle and can not overflow.
First I bought a rolling cart from Goodwill. It is an old microwave cart from back in the day and has a cabinet underneath. I also have dedicated 2 bookshelves and a filing cabinet drawer for my stuff. The cart sits next to the kitchen table where we do our homeschool. The cart holds everything I need to do our daily homeschool work. My lesson planner, my curriculum, Bibles, notebook paper, pens, markers, crayons, glue, construction paper, and any books relevant to the current week’s unit.
Now, if you are a real life homeschooler, you know that that is a teeny tiny portion of actual homeschool stuff. I am not wishy washy when it comes to curriculum. I know what I like and I buy it in advance, used and in good condition preferably. I store the years I am not using in a plastic tote in our attic. I do not keep a bunch of “extra” workbooks and other things that I may have tried but changed my mind about. Get rid of old or unused curriculum. Either bless someone else with it who otherwise could not afford it, or sell it using one of the many websites for used curriculum.
My filing cabinet drawer holds my future printables for my upcoming lessons and any ideas I run across. I have them sorted by subject. I keep a copy of my registration from our cover school in there, planning forms, and a big folder that holds the books for our current unit. I also keep some miscellaneous things like a couple of science kits and the bug playground. Doesn’t everyone have one of those?
My first bookcase holds all the books for my older daughter’s personal and school reading. Miscellaneous Milliken workbooks, atlas, Wall Chart of World History, and supplemental workbooks that keep me supplied with stuff for extra practice and other reference materials. Then there is the encyclopedia set and dictionary and on the bottom shelf is an encyclopedia set for plants and animals, and a Childcraft encyclopedia set.
The second bookcase has a shelf for history & social studies type story books, a shelf for science, and a shelf for art,language arts, and reading.
The third bookcase has all the kids fiction books. I use Readerware to organize my home library. I know I should insert a picture of my bookshelves here, but really, they look like bookshelves, with books on them. So, you can use your imaginations. I did use the label maker and label the shelves though. I am also pretty strict about the shelves and making the kids put stuff up correctly. I don’t care if the books are on the shelf upside down, just as long as they are on the shelf they belong on.
Next to the homeschooling cart are two plastic totes. One holds supplies like Styrofoam, tempura paint, self hardening clay, magnifying glasses, rocks, fake gems and other odds and ends that I need for my school year. The other tote holds all my extra printer paper, folders, notebooks, crayons, envelopes of all shapes and sizes and packing tape.
Then finally I have a set of hanging file folder totes. One for each one of my children. While I loved the idea of workboxes, I have four children, three whom I currently school and there was no way I have enough room for 36 shoebox size plastic containers. I have a post about how I have our work folders set up here.
So there you have, a small glimpse into my homeschool set up. The trick to this was finding something that worked for me and the space I have. I also tend to lose things so I have to be pretty specific about where things go. I also never let the school supplies out of the kitchen. I have another set of pens, paper, crayons, etc in the living room for the kids to use. That way, I am always prepared for the next thing.