Do you need to get your homeschool space organized? Here are 10 essential supplies to organize your homeschool.
It’s Time to Get Organized
It’s back to school time and I am excited about getting back into our school routine. We have had lots of informal learning fun this summer, and I love that, but there’s something about a real routine that makes my inner accountant happy! We are going to try some new things this year, and this is the first year I will be running a business from home, so it will probably take us a few weeks to get back into the swing of things.
One thing that always makes going back to school more fun is all of the shiny new school supplies and school books! It’s like you have a fresh, clean slate, and it’s exciting to get started. (Anyone remember Trapper Keepers?)
I am one of those crazy people who love organizing. Planning my homeschool is more fun than the actual execution of the plan. Getting all of the books lined up straight on the shelf and the projects all planned out is my idea of fun! I hope you will join me as I share with you my favorite supplies to organize my homeschool and my life.
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When I was in college, I carried my whole life around in a cute little zip-up planner. It was like my wallet with added planner benefits. My driver’s license, an emergency credit card and all my cash were in there. I loved that thing – until it was stolen! That was a nightmare to get taken care of, and it was my first real lesson in adulting. I have avoided carrying around a planner for years because of that one bad experience.
But a few months ago, as I was starting to think about this blog and opening a business, I decided I needed to get my schedule more organized. So I started looking for a good planner – and stumbled into the world of planner decorating. There are lots of different planners, but I decided to go with a Happy Planner, and I have fallen in love! (If you decide to grab one, make sure you get the 2016-2017 version. It goes from July 2016 – December 2017.)
I sit down on Sunday evening after church to decorate and plan my week. I have a section for appointments and outings, a section for Blog stuff, and a section for my bookkeeping business. It’s what keeps me on track each day, and I get to create something pretty at least once a week, which makes me happy!
Although they do make a Teacher Happy Planner, I don’t write out all of our assignments in a paper planner. Because I like to be flexible in our homeschool studies, I find an online planner to be the best way to organize our assignments. I input the assignments at the beginning of each term, and then print out a weekly schedule for the younger kids on Sundays while I am planning.
My 14-year-old has access to her assignments through a separate login. She checks off each assignment as it is completed, and inputs the grades that she receives in her online classes. When we get to graduation we can easily create a transcript using this data, instead of having to create one from scratch.
If you come to my house in the middle of the day, you will find us doing school work all over the house. We begin our day with family studies in the living room, and then we all spread out all over the house. One kid will do her online classes in the kitchen, one will be reading independently in the bedroom, while mom works with the youngest in the living room. With all of the spreading out, I have found it helpful to have a central storage space where the school books live when not in use. It reduces the “I can’t find my book” syndrome – notice I said reduces… not eliminates! <bangs head on the table>
I have an 8-cube organizer from Wal-mart which was originally in my room as my dresser. I stole it for school books, because …. you know, books are more important!
Milk Crates / Bins
OK, I admit it. I am kind of an organized slob. I love creative projects, and sometimes don’t even notice the mess…. Until I am overwhelmed by the mess! Then I want it to all go away! So each kid has a file crate for their school books and I have some pretty bins on my bookshelf where I can stash things when I go on a cleaning binge.
I literally use my printers every single day. Yes, you read that right! Two printers. I have a color inkjet printer for all of those wonderful, colorful pages that have to be in color. And I have a monochrome laser printer, because well the ink is cheap and last a really long time!
This is one supply I did without for many years, and now I couldn’t live without! It can be used for posters, schedules, writing boards, anything that will be used over and over. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one, because you can usually get a decent one for under 20 bucks.
I just bought this spiral binding system last spring, and I don’t know how I lived without it!
I love to take advantage of great online curriculum sales but most of the time they are in e-book download format. But often I would let the books languish on my hard-drive and never use the curriculum I bought, because I had forgotten about it. Now I can print them out and get professional looking binding at home! I love that the books are bound nicely, but the binding can be opened if I need to change something out. It’s the perfect balance of permanent and flexible. I have found that you can use spiral binding coils too, if you want it to be completely permanent.
We use notebooking pages almost daily in our homeschool, and I get tired of loose papers everywhere. So each kid now has their own History and Science binder to store their notebooking pages. This allows them to open up the binder every day and put in the next page and we don’t have to worry about losing anything.
I have tried to use a regular hand-held punch for binder pages and it just gets to be a pain (literally!), so I highly recommend a good quality 3-hole punch. I’ve had a Swingline punch for years and it’s still going strong. I like this one because you can move or add in extra holes for punching papers for other uses… like for your planner.
Creative Storage Solutions
While everybody tends to find their own place to study, the home base in our homeschool is the living room. I like to keep my supplies close at hand, but I don’t want my living room to look like a school room 24/7. Finding creative ways to store our needed supplies out of sight but easily accessible help with that. Construction paper and other craft supplies are in an antique dresser in the corner, games are stored in an antique chest, and pencils and post-its are in a cute basket on my side table.
This post is a part of the iHomeschool Network link-up… go over and check out all of the great posts!
Bonus Kid Favorite School Supplies
Just for fun – I asked my kids what their favorite school supply was, and here are their answers…
Superman – Those big giant erasers!
So there you go… my kids’ favorite school supplies! I’m so glad they don’t have expensive taste! What are your favorite supplies for school organization?