Organizing a School Room at Home
Jessica from Life as Mom is here today sharing how she organizes her homeschool room. I know many of you homeschool and Jessica offers some great tips for how to keep your supplies under control in whatever space you are using for this task. Enjoy!
Years ago when I taught high school English and French, I had a huge classroom, four bulletin boards, numerous cabinets, and a couple file cabinets to help me teach five different preps, or courses. While I certainly needed to organize, I still had quite a bit of space at my disposal.
Today I instruct my own six children at home, four formally, my two preschoolers in a more relaxed way. I teach more than five courses and I have a lot let space to work with. Add the fact that we’ve lived in four different houses over the past seven years of homeschooling. I’ve had to pack and unpack my classroom numerous times. Organization is crucial or I would lose my mind.
Through personal experience and observation of other homeschooling families, I’ve found that there are as many ways to organize the stuff of homeschool as there are methods for education children at home. After seven years of teaching at home, I’ve found a few tricks that help us not to drown in the sea of paperwork and books. These have worked for us whether we had one room dedicated to school supplies or if we simply took over the kitchen table and a closet for a season.
Color Code Everything
Once I started teaching more than one child, I assigned each kid his own color. I use this coding system for notebooks, assignment sheets, folders, and the boxes where each student corrals his work at the end of the day. It saves time and space in my mommy brain if I can narrow down a color instead of hunting for a needle in a haystack of white paper.
Waste Not, Want Not
With homeschooling comes an obsession with books. It would seem that one can never have too many. Each year I weed out the ones that I had every intention of using, but never did. I’ve become more relaxed about selling the excess to give us more room, less stuff, and few extra dollars to put toward resources we will use.
Divide and Conquer
It helps to divide what’s left into at least three categories: read alouds/picture books, chapter books, and teaching resources. Next I place them on the shelves according to the size of their readers. Books that the preschoolers enjoy are within easy reach for them while the $100 math text is kept up top where their little hands can’t touch them.
Supplies as well as daily schoolwork get containers, Sterilite boxes, of their own. Each child has his own box which holds his clipboard of assignments and to do list, as well as any books that are for his sole use that week. It helps us track down the current chapter book if it’s in his box rather than thrownin the mix of other books we own. His math book and any other texts that we use for his assignments go in the box as well.
Likewise, I divide our school supplies into similar boxes into two armoires that my husband added shelves to. Each box is labeled so kids and Papa all know where to return items after use. Our categories include: paper, pens and pencils, markers, crayons, post-its and index cards, fasteners (like tape, staplers, paper clips), measuring tools, math manipulatives, science equipment, craft supplies, folders, notebooks, and binders.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list of all the great ways you can put order into your schoolroom. They’ve worked for us for several years. But, as with all good things, change happens, kids grow, and new systems are developed. I’m eager to watch the transformation.
I’m also curious. What do YOU do to organize your schoolroom?
Jessica Fisher, aka FishMama, is on the road to joyful motherhood at www.lifeasmom.com.