Practical Organization Tips 1

Some personal information here ~ I LOVE organization!  My best friend once called me “The Organization Police” because I continually look for ways to bring sense and order to end chaos!  Homeschool is a pleasure when I’m organized, but when those days happen, and the kids are out of their chairs every 5 minutes to “get something”, I make a plan!  So here are some of my practical plans….

Our School Room

  • Round table with chairs ~ The round table is handy because I can sit between 2 children to show a picture or be near both to help with work.  It’s easy to share supplies in the centre.
  • Plastic tablecloth ~ pretty, yet practical and easy to wipe those spills.
  • Book shelves ~ with colour-coded stickers on every book for each year/ curriculum.  Thanks Sonlight for their idea!  It is a breeze to keep the books organized!  I train my children from early on to put things back where they found them.  The coloured stickers is simple enough for a 2 year-old!
Books with colour-coded stickers
  • Shelves for games, puzzles, educational toys, stationary, crafts and supplies

Photocopied pictures or the original packaging on the front of storage boxes

  • Large whiteboard ~ I put 2 rings over the top of the screws and I hang pictures and charts on the 2 S hooks hanging on the rings. All the charts and maps have 2 curtain rings on them and they are on hooks behind the white board.  I whip it over and it’s ready.

White board with 2 curtain rings and 2 S hooks to hang my charts and timeline

  • Timeline with timeline figures in a box
  • Mom’s desk with computer and printer ~ use headphones for educational computer games, spelling and typing practice.
  • Secretary chair on wheels ~ and I fly around on this!

Stationary Boxes

We use a large clear plastic box stored on our bookshelf with all the separate supplies in smaller boxes.  We just take the smaller boxes to the table and share it in the middle.

Stationary in little boxes

So what do I keep in our little boxes?

  • Scissors with all the different edge blades
  • Pencil crayons
  • Sketch pencils (B or softer) with soft erasers
  • Glitter pens and gel pens
  • Twisty pencil crayons
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Stencils
  • Mathematic kit
  • Caligraphy sets with ink

Craft Boxes ~ We bought different coloured suitcases/ boxes for crafts.  I remove the craft kits from their store boxes a put them into ziplock bags.  I cut out the box instruction and front illustrations and place these in the ziplock bags.  This keeps all the little bits and bobs together.  These fit into our craft boxes easily.

Chair bags ~ Each child has a chair bag tied on the back of their chair so that they can take out their next activity without having to get up.  We keep things simple this way.  Everyone has specific personal equipment that they need stored here; my eldest in 9th grade has her science calculator and math equipment, my youngest has sight word fash cards in hers.

Chair bag with files, textbooks, mini office , whiteboard and flashcards

  1. Each girl has her own file (more on that in the next Practical Organization Tips 2 post)
  2. Maths workbooks and textbooks
  3. Mini offices
  4. Flash cards (sight words/ maths tables) in a small ziplock bag
  5. White board ~ I use a white ceramic tile with a small foam sponge attached by a dog clip.

White tile with sponge and clip

Just a word about using other people’s systems to organize – it should help and not burden you.  If the system does not fit your lifestyle, it will just add stress.

When I prepare and stay organized and keep lessons short (thanks Charlotte Mason), we have happy and easy homeschool days!

Creative learning moments occur when we have  time to take the “scenic route” and stop if something interesting comes up. I find that creativity requires some structure!  In my experiences of teaching and in motherhood, I have found that when we schedule and organize our routine, the children feel secure, and yet I must stay flexible and open to the joy of the spontaneous!

I hope that you can use some any ideas in your homeschooling system!

What works for you?

15 thoughts on “Practical Organization Tips 1

  1. I too love organization – however my perfectionism often sidetracks me. But I am finding things that work for us. I uses something similar to your chair bags – rubbermaid file boxes. They are perfect for 3 ring binders, math books, reference info (I love the mini-office idea – we will be working on creating that…). And they go right on the shelf when school is done for the day. Anything I write out for the kids I do in their favorite color pen/highlighter/marker.

    I have my own binder with lots of reference pages in sheet protectors and a calendar for the next few months.

    We do Classical Conversations curriculum in a co-op, so we have 7 items for memorization every week. I made a bulletin board with 1/2 size cards that hang on push pins for each item. I can hang a corresponding maps or reference pictures. We also do English root memorization, so that is on there, as well as our Bible Memory verse for the week.

    We are finishing up our second year and it has been WONDERFUL! I cant wait till next year – I will have a 4th grader, a 1st grader, and a 4 year old preschooler, as well as little princess bringing up the end of the crew (2 years old). Homeschooling is a blessing and I am so thankful to have my little people with me all day. It is a fantastic life!!!

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    • What a lovely system you have created for your family! What I love about growing with our children, is that we can tweak and change our methods as they develop. As we mature and gain confidence as home educators, we find a broader perspective. I think it is about creating balance between systems and relationships.

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  2. Organizing our home school is like looking into a kaleidoscope. Just when you think you have the perfect home school system, your child has grown and the whole lay-out (physically and cognitively) needs adjustment. This makes us on-going little ‘Martha Home School Stewarts ‘. Last week I bought 5 pink boxes. Monday to Friday my daughter (8) gets a home-school assignment: ‘Make a nice colourful & interesting notebook’. I fill these boxes with reference books, stickers, pictures, and blank paper on different subjects. This is our latest organizational inspiration. A story to be continued…..

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  3. Oh, Nadene, I love your timeline and how it hangs on those hooks. Where did you get the large chart from that your timeline is drawn on? I love organizing the school room! I’m just now finishing my 2 high school students’ portfolios and transcripts for the past year. Now on to a new school year!

    Blessings,
    Lori

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    • For my timeline I pasted several sheets of large paper on the back of my world map for my timeline. I drew the lines and dates. Then I covered it with clear packaging tape to protect it. Blessings for your new year!

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