Homeschool organization. Does that thought make you shudder? If so, this blog post is for you. It is designed for anyone who has ever thought:
“I can’t homeschool because…I’m not organized enough!”
Ok, let’s just put that to rest right now, shall we? No one is organized enough to homeschool. If you waited until you were “organized enough” your kids would be out of the house already!
If you have spent ANY time on homeschool websites or blogs (or pinterest!), you know how a school room is “supposed” to look. Hand-made color-coded charts for everything from chores to school to activities. Little fabric-covered cubbies for art supplies, comfy pillows perfectly stacked near a sweet little reading nook.
Because of this, It would be very easy for anyone just thinking about homeschooling to look at all those pictures and systems and think,”I could NEVER do that!” But, I’m here to tell you that while those pictures can serve for inspiration, if they are overwhelming to you, ignore them.
Homeschool Organization Tools
Here are some very simple things you need in order to homeschool effectively:
- A centrally-located bookshelf – somewhere where all the school supplies are kept. Note: IT’S OK if it’s in the family room. No, your house probably won’t be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but your kids will know where everything is when they need it. My system involves a cube-like IKEA shelf with one cube per kid. Every book, resource, workbook, study guide, etc. that that kid needs for the entire year is on his or her shelf.
- At least one designated school area. For us, it’s the kitchen table. I like being able to cook, do dishes, work on my computer (it sits on the kitchen counter), pay bills, etc. and be able to interact with the kids at the same time. Other people prefer a school room – that’s fine! Some kids work better off in a room by themselves, on sunny days a blanket in the backyard becomes the school table, etc., but there should be one spot that the kids think of as the “school zone.”
- A pencil repository and a good sharpener. Maybe it sounds silly, but searches for pencils can derail a school day. Have one spot where carelessly tossed pencils know they belong. And easy access to a good sharpener or invest in some mechanical pencils! They are my new love.
- A homeschool planner. Dare I say it? Yes, we are A Plan in Place. Yes, we sell planners. But I can tell you, I honestly don’t know how anyone homeschools without one. While I love every part of our planners, I will tell you that organizationally, the weekly schedule sheet is a life-saver. Every weekend, I pull out my kids’ Student Editions, go through all their curriculum and plan out the following week. And each day, each kid knows EXACTLY what to do. Never do I get the questions: “What do I do next, Mom?” “What lesson am I on, Mom?” “Am I done yet, Mom?” Never! Rather, they know what is expected, when things are due, what books they need. Have a look around in our shop and see how you customize one for each of your students today!
Don’t get caught thinking that you can’t homeschool because you are organizationally challenged. A few simple tools, a love for learning, and a desire to teach your children. That’s all it takes.