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I would have to say that the question I get asked most is, “How do you organize your homeschool?” And this is such a great question! I want to take a few moments to offer you tips, tricks, and ways for organizing your homeschool.
An organized teacher is an organized learner
We all come to homeschooling with different intentions, purposes, and reasons, and I love that! We each get to bring our own teaching and learning philosophies to the table. However, I think the one thing we can all agree on is the importance of being organized.
Make no mistake, an organized teacher is an organized learner. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “More is caught than taught,” right? Being an organized teacher is essential for raising and teaching an organized learner. Children watch adults’ every move and almost always mimic what they see, so it only makes sense to do what you expect your students to do.
There are a lot of ways to think about and approach organization. Are you looking to organize your physical learning space? Or are you looking to organize lessons and activities, whether they be on paper or digital? Both are important questions to consider, but the majority of this article is going to discuss organizing your physical homeschool learning space.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have a kindergartener or first grader? As I’m sure you already know, they tend to be a little more fidgety and easily distracted. Because of this, they might learn much better in a structured space right next to you.
Do you have an older student? Depending on the task, and the subject, older students may work better in a more independent setting; and, therefore, may not need to be right next to you. In that case, a desk and chair in his or her room may be most appropriate and effective.
When deciding where your child(ren)’s learning space should be, do not forget to have them weigh in. After all, they are the ones doing the learning! Giving students a little agency affords both you and the opportunities to reflect on these decisions and adjust when necessary. Let’s say your 5th grader is supposed to be working independently in his room; however, you discover he is not as attentive as he should be. This is a great time to have a conversation about where he is learning and how can you both make it more effective.
If you and your family typically gather in the kitchen, which is pretty common for most families, consider making that your homeschool base. However, be really conscious of how much space your homeschool actually takes up. Some homeschool parents prefer to compartmentalize school and home, but others prefer to blend home spaces and school spaces, and it is okay, too!
You may not even need a full-fledged homeschool setup. Learning can happen anywhere and that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a large designated space! I choose to have a small learning corner in my house. Check out how I have my homeschool corner set up here!
What supplies do I really need to have?
So, you have picked your homeschool base, corner, or room. Next, you might be asking yourself “What supplies do I need?”
That’s a really good question! Now, you don’t need to go out and buy one of everything in the school supplies aisles of Target, but you will need some basics. It’s always a good idea to have baskets or bins available to help keep things (messes) contained. Maybe have a bin just for markers, and another for colored pencils, and a third for crayons. I wholeheartedly believe that you cannot go wrong with a decent label maker! Also, magazine holders make great organizers for kids’ books.
How you organize everything is up to you, but having the materials should be first on your list. Here is a list of items that I think is a good starting point:
For You (Teacher)
- paper cutter
- pencil sharpener
- label maker
- plastic sheet protectors
- single + 3-hole punch
- binders + dividers
- ruler + yard stick
- scissors, tape, + stapler
- chalk or whiteboard
- paper clips
- pencils + erasers
- crayons, colored pencils + markers
- dry erase markers
- writing paper
- graph paper
- construction paper
- card stock
- glue sticks
- watercolors + washable paint
- paint brushes + sponges
- magnifying glass
- iPad/tablet + stylus
- earbuds or wireless headphones
- shaving cream
- sand or rice
- translucent color chips
- Base 10 Blocks
- linking cubes
- art cart
- storage bins
- magazine holders
- pencil case
- homeschooling planner/calendar
- student planner/calendar
Make it your own
Most importantly, make your learning space your own. It’s important to remember that while one thing may work for one family, it may not work for your family, and that’s totally okay! Your home space or your homeschool space doesn’t have to be Pinterest-perfect, and thank goodness! That’s a lot of pressure! You don’t need chic farmhouse tables and loads of colorful bins meticulously organized and neat complete with sparkly fancy labels. At the end of the day, if your space is used and it works for you, then that’s all that matters!
Now, get to it!
On my blog, I try to offer as much advice and tips as I can for homeschooling mamas so that hopefully you can leave here with at least one or two nuggets that you can implement into your own homeschooling space and routine.
If I can leave you with one piece of advice as you contemplate organizing your own homeschool, it is this: Whatever you do, make it work for you and your learner. Think of it as a space for both of you. Because, in all honesty, not all messes are joyful!
For more ideas on organizing your homeschool, check out Back-to-School Organizing Ideas for a Tidy Home and Stress-Free School Year!