Monday, March 8, 2010

My Homeschool Organizational Secret

This week's Blog Cruise question is, "How do you organize your homeschool space?"

Organization is not a skill that comes easily to me, at least not in a way that is recognizable to most. I'm a stacker and a stasher, though I usually know what is in every pile.

However, I realized early on that I needed to be more organized for our homeschool materials. I once forgot to do a certain subject for over a month because I misplaced a book - and didn't realize it was missing. I needed to change my ways before the kids figured out to start hiding math books!

Things have to be in front of my face for me to remember them. Otherwise, I simply forget. But with so many books in the house, I needed a system to keep those most important in front of me at all times.

I have been completely blessed with a bonus room above our garage that we converted to a homeschooling room several years ago.

I keep our most frequently used homeschooling materials on this shelf, which is connected to a long desk with cubbies up above. These are materials that I don't use daily, or perhaps not even yearly, but that I like to keep in the front of my mind as a potential resource when I'm looking for something new.

The desk runs down a narrow part of the odd-sized shaped room. The left side is where the kids do their assignments that don't require a computer, which sits on the right. The right side cubbies hold reference materials and computer software.

In the cubbies on the left, I have a box for each subject in a sort of modified workbox system. When I'm planning for the next day, I'll add any materials (such as a game, flash cards, ect.) that are needed for that subject into the box. For the subjects that we are going to do that day, I turn the box with the open end out. When it is completed, it is turned around to show the enclosed side.This system has worked out beautifully. Everything is visually in front of me to help plan the day.

The rest of the room holds a couch, a trampoline, TV for watching DVDS, a shelf with several cores of Sonlight materials, educational DVDs and CDs and a converted train table with a blackboard top that contains board games.

Lastly, we can't forget Lego City. Usually the Legos are taking over the whole room. I really should take a more accurate picture. The book shelf in this picture holds more school and reference materials that aren't used that often.

With so many books in the house, library books have been a problem. To minimize library books getting lost, I have a rolling cart that sits under an end table in our family room. When it is time to go to the library, I simply roll the cart out and take it with me. The kids load up the cart and we roll on out of there. My kids are responsible for any late fees or replacement charges, so they are extra careful to make sure the library books get returned to the cart.

Now, I realize that this all looks ultra-organized. It is a little deceptive. I have taken those things I use the most and they are rather organized most of the time, though there are usually Legos underfoot at any given moment. However, what I am not showing you is all my stashes and piles of books and educational materials in all corners of the house. I have bookshelves hidden everywhere. Some are books that I need to sort and sell, others are books that I eventually plan to read. Many are plain pleasure reading for the kids. I am a true hoarder of books. The secret to appearing and feeling organized is to hide your stash where you can't see it!

Below are some of our bookshelves, tucked in the basement, the kids' rooms, and closets.

Aha - did you notice that empty space on the green shelf? That is only because my daughter is currently organizing her books and has her own piles in her room. That empty space will soon be filled. As most homeschoolers, I've run out of shelves, so I stash books in other places too, like trunks, clothing closet shelves, underbed storage, and armoires.

I do know most everything I have and where it is located, so perhaps I'm organized after all. However, it is a fantasy of mine to get one of those book scanners for home use with enough shelves to place every single book I own by the Dewey decimal system. For now, I'll have to make due with the scattered system in my head.

So, how do you organize your homeschooling space? How do you keep track of things? See what others have to say on this week's Blog Cruise.


homeschool101 said...

*Sigh* I dont feel so bad anymore, knowing I am not the only book hoarder. Lol! I have finally got a great system going for me.. *Finally*. I will post on that later on on my HS blog to show. Lol! I love books and resources to refer back to. I wanted a library for my school and I got one, now I am working on a resourceful video library. :) Looks great, I especially love your kids room set up. The whole room in general odd shaped, I love it. Looks great! :)

Angie said...

Well, i started out thinking "i'm your clone" but then you showed me your space and started talking about your workbox system.... {sigh} Never mind... i am you BEFORE you got organized. :^) Great stuff, though. I will persevere!

Aimie said...

I am jealous!! I hide books everywhere. I need a room like yours just to homeschool in. I love your system though. I would love to be as organized as you some day!!

MoziEsmé said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I've been looking for schoolroom ideas - beyond "this is how we organize our books and assignments" - and this is the best looking thing I've seen so far! I like how you've got books scattered all over...

Mike and Katie said...


Brenda said...

Wow! You have so many books!!!! I just decided to put ALL our books (minus my husband's) into the homeschool room. We have one huge bookshelf in there and I think they will fit. I really like how everything is in front of you but neatly. I'm visual and a piler too. File it and it's gone forever. :)