Hey there friends! Recently, as part of the Homeschool Survival Series, I asked what some of your biggest struggles were as busy homeschool moms. One of the top answers was homeschool organization. It seems like most of us have struggled with organization at some time or another. So today I am going to share with you my top tips homeschool organization.
Tip #1 – Start with the books, do you need them all?
The whole homeschool world just gasped when you read that sentence right? I know what you are thinking, right off the bat this crazy woman is telling me to give up my books. Please don’t delete me yet! Hear me out.
See I am a devoted book lover as well. In fact, I am a borderline book hoarder. Right now we have five bookshelves that are busting at the seams, as well as many totes full in the attic. Can you even guess what is under ALL of our beds? Yep, books.
Here’s the thing though, as a homeschool family, sometimes we have to let them go. I know, I don’t love it either. However, if you have a bookcase full of pictures books and you only have teens living in your home, it’s probably time for a cleanout. Yes, you can keep the absolute favorites. Geez, I’m not a monster. Plus I’m not going to lie, there’s a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” that we will never part with, even though it is burnt into my memory.
Also, ask yourself if you need access to all of those books right now. For example, we have tons of books on the American Revolution, like probably a shelf full. However, it wouldn’t make much sense to keep those out if we were studying Ancient World History. Clear out some space by finding a place to store things you won’t need until later. (You know, like under your bed.)
Tip #2 – Get a handle on the craft supplies
Craft supplies can be another hot spot in a homeschool household. I mean we never know when we are going to need feathers, glue, or 25 toilet paper rolls. Even the dreaded glitter is a staple in our home. (*sigh) In fact, I’m willing to guess that unless you have graduated all of your homeschool students, craft supplies are still a thing in your house too.
The problem with craft supplies is that they can quickly get out of control. First, someone leaves a pack of googly eyes open, next the lid comes off the glue, then by the time the glitter spills your art supply cabinet has created its own craft. We will call it “sparkly googly eyes a la mess.”
The solution to this is simple, just grab some small dollar store totes and a label maker! Seriously, I would not steer you wrong here. How do I sort my cabinets? Some of my labels include:
- Stamps, ink, & glitter (very top shelf)
- Science supplies
- Glue, tape, and fasteners
- Paint supplies
- Miscellaneous supplies (feathers, googly eyes, ivory soap waiting to explode in the microwave.)
I love this method of organization for my homeschool art supplies. Now sometimes I do have to reorganize when the girls have been digging for something occasionally, but all in all, this is a great system.
Tip #3- Have a System
This tip applies specifically to school work. I have spent years trying to develop a system I love. In the past, I have tried workboxes, binder systems, and even stacking trays.
However, what works best for us is a file cabinet system. I have two small file cabinets, one under each side of my desk. I keep work to be completed on one side and finished work on the other. Then I organize the files by child and subject.
The filing system works best for me for several reasons. First, I found binders aggravating. I was forever punching holes in papers and then having them rip if I didn’t add reinforcement labels on the holes. I loved the workbox system, but our school room is super small, and I had to put in another bookcase. The letter tray system worked relatively well, but I was horrible about letting papers stack up before I would grade them.
Now finished papers are laid on my laptop, meaning that I have to grade them to get them out of my way. I’m much less likely to fall behind now. Of course, the file folder system may not work with you. That’s okay, find what does!
Tip #4 – Clean up Daily
This last tip is the biggest secret to homeschool organization. The school room needs to be cleaned daily. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but it’s the only way to control the chaos. With multiple students, all with a variety of subjects that contain numerous books & worksheets, things can quickly spin out of control.
We simply set aside a time at the end of each school day for clean-up. On top of that, once a week the school room gets a deep clean where we wipe all the desks, sweep, and mop. My school room has a really cute floor, but it scuffs easily. I also have one daughter who is an obsessive eraser, so by the end of the week, we are wading through eraser bits. We usually save our big clean days for Friday or Saturday when we do the rest of the house.
So there you have it, my top tips for homeschool organization. What would you add to my list?
(Need more homeschool tips? Check out my Comprehensive Homeschool Guide.)