I’m going to be honest with you right from the get go…I almost didn’t write this post.
The thought of writing about how we organize our homeschool was almost laughable to me because it is so no-frills and just plain ordinary that I thought, Who would ever be interested in our utterly no-nonsense organization plan? But then I realized that I surely can’t be the only homeschool parent who truly needs something that is easy, affordable, and not time-consuming.
I love reading about and watching tutorials about fancy homeschool organization techniques, but they just wouldn’t work for me. I’ve got 11 kids, and, frankly, I’ve learned to forego the “pretty” portion of where we put all of our homeschool “stuff” and have settled for just being satisfied with knowing exactly where everything is when I need it.
On top of that, we don’t have a school room. All of our homeschool supplies are kept in the dining room, so as tempting as the work box system and other nifty ideas sound, I simply don’t have the room for it.
So right now you’re probably wondering how I do keep things in place since I’ve already addressed how I don’t. Without further ado, here are:
My 5 Non-Nonsense Organization Tips for a No-Nonsense Homeschool
- Bins, crates, and totes.
I have what used to be considered an “art table” in our dining room that is now just referred to as the “supply table” because it holds the vast majority of our homeschool supplies. Remember- I’m not concerned with eye-catching decor. I just need to keep things neat and in a place where they can always be found. The best solution I’ve come up with is crates and dollar store bins.
I have one crate for the library books, one for extra supplies and our planners, a bin for my youngest group of kids, and a crate for my middle group of kids.
Since we only use textbooks for language arts and math and unit studies for the rest, the amount of folders and notebooks my kids have is minimal. The bin for my younger kids holds their folders for our unit study activity sheets, notebooks for phonics and math, their devotional, and whatever the current read-aloud is.
The crate my middle kids use holds their folders for grammar and copywork, their spelling and math notebooks, their science and read-aloud notebooking binders, their devotional, whatever read-aloud we’re using, and their books for silent reading.
2. A bookshelf for textbooks.
Since our school room is also our dining room, we’ve got to take up as little space as possible. We have several designated shelves which are specifically for our homeschooling textbooks. The kids know where to find them and know to always put them back in the same spot.
3. Pencil pouches.
Missing pencils and crayons are the bane of my existence. This year we’ve started using zipper pencil pouches from the dollar store that come with holes so they can be put right in the front of their binder. Each child also keeps scissors, colored pencils, markers, and a glue stick in the pouch, as well. It is so wonderful not having to spend ten minutes searching for those supplies everyday!
Who ever said homeschooled kids have no need for backpacks?
My three high school age students prefer to do most of their work upstairs where it’s quiet (can’t say I blame them…), so they keep all of their supplies and books in their own backpacks. Every night they bring their backpack downstairs for me to go over their work, and every morning everything is back in place for them to simply take them back upstairs!
5. No-nonsense, no-frill planners.
I know, I know. There are probably people going into shock right now at this suggestion. Yes, planners are pretty. Yes, spreadsheets are extremely organized and well-thought out, but honestly, we simply don’t need things like that for our homeschool to function well.
I write down- yes, write down- their assignments for the week in an average planner from Staples or even a .17 spiral notebook from Wal-Mart. This is another area where unit studies have been immensely beneficial because I use the same planner for six of my kids! I jot down a brief note of what their unit study activities are that day, and in the planner, I write the number the activity’s been assigned in their Konos curriculum so that I can take a quick peek at what, specifically, they’ll be doing. I don’t even write page numbers for math and language arts because I know that it will always be either the next page or the next chapter.
Like I said, simple.
So there you have it. My no-nonsense approach to organization for a no-nonsense homeschool. Don’t feel guilty or inadequate if you just don’t have the time, money, or space for an elaborate homeschool set-up. What matters most is finding something that is manageable for you.
This post is part of the 10 Days of Homeschool Organization Ideas series. Why don’t you head on over and see how others keep order in their homeschool?