We often talk about the academic side of homeschooling – what style of homeschooling, which curriculum, what books and more. But when you are at home, working with your children in a daily rhythm, there is another aspect which is equally important. And that’s the practical side of the job. Where you sit to work, what equipment you need to own, what equipment is a nice extra and how you store everything – these things really matter.
I’ve found that storage is important – bookshelves, cupboards, nice containers. It doesn’t need to be fancy or cost a lot of money; and in fact, you can have fun making
your storage equipment attractive and also economical. But the best way to start organizing is to have a three-tier system.
I have always gathered the children around the dining table for their written work. This has been our designated area for our homeschooling equipment and books. It’s good until the children get into their teens and need to have some quiet desk time during the day. At this point they use their own desk in their rooms to do quiet book work. Then they come into the family area for shared things like art or read alouds or social time.
You need your daily equipment close at hand, so a drawer or a small shelf for all stationery equipment works well. The children will need a basket, a drawer, a small strong cardboard box for their things. This container will have a pencil case, a set of crayons, mathematical equipment, a drawing book, a writing book, a dictionary/spelling book, a mathematics workbook and one or two other books, according to the person and what they are learning at the moment.
As well as this arrangement for the children, you will need your own equipment. You’ll need a planner of some sort, a binder with your own notes and plans. A set of pencils, pens, coloured pencils of your own, a calculator and a kitchen timer.
Nearby you will need a bookshelf with all the books and equipment you are using this week or this month. Add a shelf or basket for the library books. And
you will also want to have a space for science and art equipment, other books and games.
In a cupboard further from your work space you can have all the equipment which comes out once a week or less. This would include art equipment, science equipment, and puzzles and games that get rotated as you won’t have all your games and puzzles out at once.
This is a good spot to store supplies of paper, new pens, staples, glue, etc.
You might also like to have your homeschool-related books including reference books and books which are temporarily not being used.
And finally, you need a place to display beautifully completed children’s work.
Thinking in terms of these three spaces can help you to be organized and keep you running efficiently and productively in your day-to-day life.
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