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Keeping all the supplies you have to homeschool your kids can be a never-ending chore. Just the other day, I cleaned out our craft cupboard, and got rid of a garbage bag full of odds and ends. How do you keep all those pencils and markers and erasers and things organized? Keeping your homeschool organized requires just a few simple tools and time-saving tricks.
Here’s five tips to keeping your homeschool organized and save you time!
1. Make storage portable!
All those frequently used and needed homeschool supplies — pencils, paper, markers, erasers, etc — need to be at your fingertips. But they are small, easily lost and quickly used up too. So it’s not like you have just one or two hanging around.
So keep them in portable storage containers to make it easy to pull out when you need it, and put away out of sight when you don’t.
One idea here is to use pencil cases or pencil boxes. You can put together frequently used tools in a kit to pull out for school, and make each child in charge of their own. Then put the extra into sorted pencil boxes or cases and put them away out of sight until you need to refill.
Or you can use a portable tray or open box to hold all the frequently used tools in one spot. Scissors, glue, a couple of fun erasers, and whatever else you need can all fit into one box you pull out for craft time or table time, then put away when you’re done. We like this tray from Rubbermaid, as it has nice spots for cups, to help corral all the supplies and add even more portability.
We also use boxes like these ones to hold the books, folders and papers we’re currently working on in our homeschool. Or you can use plastic storage crates, if you require bigger containers.
2. Keep it accessible!
This may sound obvious, but the key to homeschool supply organization is to keep the supplies accessible to those who need them — and away from those who don’t.
The 5th grader who needs scissors should be able to get them quickly and easily. And the crayons should be where your preschooler can get them out when they want them — and then be able to put them away by themselves (just like the big kids!)
Whether it’s behind closed doors, or on a shelf some place, keeping the supplies in an easy-to-get-to place is essential. Because when it’s convenient to get out, it’s also convenient to put away. And that makes for great organization and clean up.
Good thing portable tends to equal easy access, as long as you make the “home” where you put it away also easy-to-access.
3. Clipboards and Lapdesks are super homeschool friendly!
I say this often, because it’s true: the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility. And staying flexible tends to mean your kids probably aren’t using a desk for school. Mine sure aren’t.
So keeping your homeschool organized when kids sprawl on the floor, the couch, and the back deck can be a little tricky.
One of our favorite tools for staying organized is to use clipboards and lapdesks. These provide portable hard surfaces for writing, drawing, and solving problems, while also keeping the papers, books and folders contained.
We color-code our clipboards too, so there’s no arguing about who’s got what. And these fun lapdesks encourage my kids to stay focused.
Bonus: Lapdesks can do double-duty when it comes to snacks and movie night!!
4. Portable offices make teaching easy!
If you’ve never tried creating a “portable office”, then this may be lifechanging for your homeschool.
School classrooms get fun posters, handy bulletin boards, reminder charts and cheat sheets for frequently-asked-questions. What do homeschoolers get?
If you’re like me, without a dedicated space to homeschool — or you just don’t really want look like a school classroom — a portable office can give you the helpful charts, cheat sheets and encouragement without cluttering up your walls.
These are usually tri-fold display boards or cardstock with the necessary info glued on inside. You can make your own using cereal boxes or cardboard boxes too.
Try a math portable office, with a list of the math fact families, definitions of terms (what’s the difference = SUBTRACT) and maybe a number line glued in to help your 2nd grader master their math facts. They could even make it as a review or alternative to a test.
Or you could do a spelling portable office with phonics rules, suffixes and prefixes, and commonly misspelled words, to help your 4th grader remember common spelling tricks. A science portable office could have vocabulary lists, scientific method procedure reminders and report creation checklists.
There’s no end to the kind of office you can make. And they fold up and put away nicely when not in use. Plus — they make great dividers when you need to help a child focus on their work and not on annoying their sibling!
5. Repurpose what you have to organize your homeschool.
There’s no need to get all the fancy supplies, really. Old shoeboxes make great marker or crayon storage. And repurpose some recycled soup cans for pencil holders. Maybe you’ve got old sturdy cardboard boxes you’ve been meaning to donate that can now become science supply storage?
Reuse and recycle what you have. You can color code with wrapping paper or just scraps of fabric. For example, try putting that single sock missing it’s match over an old tin can for an instant, pretty scissor holder. Just cut the toe off and voila!
As the kids get older, you can turn old toyboxes into new storage options for school supplies too. You never know what you might have lurking around gathering dust. Repurpose it — and now you’re decluttering as well as keeping your homeschool organized.
Keeping homeschool organized is easy.
All you need is a little ingenuity and flexible thinking, and you can create an organized homeschool. Think portable, think easy-access, and reuse what you have. Then you’ll have all the tools you need to stay organized, all year long.