Every year around this time it starts. You begin to see photo after photo of magazine-quality homeschool rooms all over Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook. These photogenic rooms can be the inspiration for so many homeschoolers.
Or, if you’re like me, they send you running.
You see… I don’t have a school room.
Believe it or not, that statement is not a complaint. Years ago we did have one in our old house, and we ended up never using it, so it’s not that I’m envious. It simply reminds me that we don’t have as much room to store all of our homeschool “stuff” as other people may.
But that’s okay. Being the practical mom that I am, I made it work. Today I’m going to share with you how.
5 Homeschool Organization Tips When You Don’t Have a School Room
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1. Limit your supplies.
While our lack of storage space is not the reason we use unit studies, it sure is a perk. Since unit studies are cross-curricular, there is no need for each of our nine homeschooling children to have a separate textbook for each subject.
Not only does it save my sanity, but it saves so. much. room.
Another huge help for us is the fact that we incorporate a lot of notebooking in our homeschool. This allows us to keep everything neatly in binders rather than having all sorts of papers floating all over the house. Notebooking also means that we are more choosey about what sorts of activities we do, so we’re less likely to have half-forgotten projects lying all over the house.
When you don’t have adequate space in your home, it really is crucial to consolidate. You don’t need every book or resource under the sun. Utilize your library. Only keep materials you absolutely need or love.
Without a school room, homeschool hoarding just isn’t realistic.
2. Bookshelves are a godsend.
Right now I’ve got four bookcases in my dining room, which is where we store all of our homeschool supplies. Considering that I’m homeschooling nine kids this year, you might think all four are dedicated to homeschooling materials. Out of the four, however, only one is solely dedicated to homeschooling, plus two shelves on another.
How, you might ask? That’s where my limit on supplies comes in. On our only exclusively “homeschool” bookcase, I have one shelf for my littles’ supplies (I also keep my homeschooling and blogging binders there), one shelf for my middles, one for my high schoolers, and one for our library crate.
Not bad, huh?
3. Crates work great.
Before we bought our fourth bookcase, we used a folding table with a crate for each group (littles, middles, and teens), plus one more crate for our library books. As our notebook collection has expanded, however, I found that the crates simply weren’t large enough to hold them anymore. Keep in mind, though, that I’m homeschooling a pretty large crew, so crates can work wonders for the average size family.
4. Use stackable totes for additional supplies.
Since we obviously couldn’t store our art supplies on bookshelves, I’ve been using storage totes. We have one for art supplies, one for notebooking supplies, and one for decorative ribbon.
I will be the first to admit that this is not a foolproof solution. It can be tedious digging through them, especially when my kids decide to throw their crayons in the bottom, but these totes do serve the purpose of giving additional supplies a home.
Since they have lids, they can be stacked and slid against a wall.
Out of sight, out of mind.
5. Over-the-door shoe racks are perfect for little supplies.
This is one hack that I have not tried yet, but someone recently suggested it to me, and I think it is an awesome idea.
Rather than having small supplies such as crayons, pastels, stickers, glitter, etc. thrown in the bottom of a bin, an over-the-door shoe rack is the perfect solution. Not only does it ensure that all materials will be easily accessible, but it takes up no extra room because it’s simply hanging over a door.
I know a lot of homeschool parents consider the lack of a school room to be a disadvantage. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of organization know-how, lots of curriculum consolidation, and a willingness to do what works, homeschooling will be as successful as you make it- with or without a school room.
Do you have any organization tips? I would love to hear about them!