We some time over the summer gearing up for our new school year, which requires a lot of prep work. We've been looking at what hasn't worked for us, in the hopes of tweaking things, in anticipation of a smooth start in September.
We had been working hard to become more organized, because we have some disorganized operators around here, so we've made a gradual switch over this past year to a completely different shelving and storage system, in the hopes that it will help us out. Having five children learning in a space that is not huge, requires that I get a little more organized.
As you can see we do have a table for the kids to work at, but don't be fooled, they will work where ever they find themselves. Since the largest part of our school storage is in one place, I thought I'd give you a tour of our school room, so that it might spark some ideas as you make and tweak your own homeschooling experience. This has been something that I have worked toward for quite some time, so don't feel, if you are starting out, that you need to walk into homeschooling with an elaborate system. The state in which you see this room lasted about as long as it took to take the pictures, in the interest of full disclosure. :) Just a reminder that one should not believe everything they see on Pinterest.
We began to accumulate these neat units from IKEA earlier in the year. I have always loved that when a small child starts pulling the books out of these units that a whole shelf full doesn't fall out. Just the amount of books in the cubby that the child is currently wreaking havoc in. It buys mom precious minutes to do damage control.
We used the cubby doors in the second half of last year, but realized that the kids have enough books and supplies, that we decided to expand and give each child (save for the youngest) two of these spaces. Then they can store their school books, binders, and the courier packs that hold their pencil cases and smaller supplies. We decided to use a label maker to make sure that all the spaces had the appropriate names on them. No arguing over things being misplaced. Easy Peasy.
We decided that since IKEA had one less pink cubby than we wanted, we would use an appropriately sized basket to put packages of crayons and pencil crayons for future use. We lucked out at a thrift store for them, because someone dropped off a matching set.
We are trying to work hard on each child having their own supplies, and each child being responsible for getting their own supplies into their own storage space this year.
Extra binders were stored at the bottom, since we tend to need to replace them frequently. We'll try to keep them as handy to the area in which they will be used, as possible.
We have many science related supplies, so we chose the upper drawers to keep the pieces in. Stickers, stamps and ink pads needed a place to go, and we chose this type of storage for them.
Our Kindergarten specific supplies and visuals needed to stay behind closed doors, so we chose a row to keep those safely tucked away, out of sight, out of mind, from the children most prone to pull things out and leave them every where.
We did decide that some of our art supplies, (plasticeine art manequins, clay molding supplies) and laminated visuals, needed baskets that could be carried to the table and taken back when finished.
Clip boards canvasses and small individual chalk boards were big enough to take up a space by themselves, so they got a dedicated square.
In unit number three, we have our Smaller odds and sods. We have pencils, and stickers, markers, dry erase markers and crayons, along with chalk board and dry erase board brushes in drawers.
Since we also have tech supplies, they are organized and labelled so that we have places for them, and the kids know where they belong.
This seems to be one of our biggest challenges. Having a place for things, putting them in their place.
It's also helping me prioritize how many things we keep.
As a pack rat, it's always a challenge, but I am learning that it's important to simply choose to keep only the things that I have homes for.
The bottom shelves of this unit have many of our resource books, leisure reading books, and small individual curriculum books that don't fit my core curriculum. Each cube has been arranged so that like books are stored with like, so that at any given time I can put hands on what I need quickly.
I chose this unit to store my teacher's manuals. I use BJU for my core, so there are many subjects that I have as base subjects. Teaching multiple grades, and storing the manuals from the 'off' years when they are not being used became challenging when I stored the 'off' years in another room, so this has been a positive change. No more changing these books out each year. no more carrying it all back and forth. I just have have all grades together, but each cubby has one subject in it. So much easier than what I was doing before. The bonus is that I had space left over at the bottom to store my printer paper, lines papers and all the odd ball types of print outs that we need as part of the job.
That is the main core of our 'school room'. I'm so happy to have most of our school things in one place now, and I'm really moving forward hopeful that this new set up will help the kids keep things tidier and easier to find. We are a week in on our school year, and so far, so good.