This week, I really wanted to tame my excess curriculum- stuff I have saved for next year, or for the next child. I collect things used as I find them, so I have a few (well, a lot) of resources I really need to get organized or get out of my house. The problem I found while working through that project this week is that I really need some storage solutions, boxes and shelves to make this project a lasting one. I’m a total cheapskate (in case you didn’t see how much I love Free and Frugal solutions) so I couldn’t in good conscience head down to Ikea just to get that post done. So, I need to postpone it until next week when I can work those supplies into the budget.
Having everything we need for the school day easily accessible, and well organized is a must for me. If I don’t have everything in one place, I spend half the day trying to locate books, and we miss out on activities because I can’t find the recorder or colored pencils. This school year, I am determined to not only keep my materials well organized enough to use them, but also keep them well organized enough to not drive my family crazy.
In the past, my books were stored like this:
Yeah, that’s the kitchen island. Easy, yes. Practical, no. Embarrassing to share, absolutely.
Check out our new Homeschool Command Center! This one little corner has everything we need to have a successful homeschool day. I will admit, I am a bit of a book hoarder. We have a lot of book cases, and things get mixed up. With this new set up, I only put the books we actually USE almost every day on these shelves, so they aren’t over crowded with material I won’t be referencing each day.
Everything is in it’s place. On the top, I have the iPad charger, so I can keep it plugged in and ready to go for lessons. Also on the top, the lesson planner, pencil sharpener, and one tidy basket for scissors, glue, a ruler, pencils and colored pencils. The red box contains the flash cards we use during our circle time (Science Vocab, Multiplication Facts, and Latin terms). I always need sticky notes to keep our place in the book, so they are on the top of the command center too.
The next shelves hold each Boy’s school work. Bug’s work to be done independently is in the wire basket. Mr. Man has the same set up on his shelf.
The bottom shelves hold the units we do all together, our Middle Ages unit study, and five in a row. I also keep our Logic of English cards in the big box on the bottom shelf. On the other side are our reference b0oks that are used near daily- the dictionary, rhyming book, and poetry book (we’re working on a poetry unit soon!). In the basket, I put the manipulatives we’ll need this week, and the recorders.
Also in this corner are the boy’s schedule binders, which have their card time management systems, extra paper, and reference sheets. Everything is here. We still have the library set up in the living room (actually directly across from this set up, if you looked at our command center and turned around, you’d be staring at it) so those books are still easily accessible, without becoming a mess with our day to day school books.
If you haven’t seen our time management cards, you can download them here for free!
To set up your own Command Center:
Find a spot near where you do most of your schooling. For us, this is the dining room table.
1. Gather all the curriculum you use daily (or at least frequently enough to be needed on the shelf)
2. Separate them in a way that makes sense to you- I have one shelf for each child, a shelf for work done together, and a shelf for manipulatives and reference books.
3. If you have independent work, separate it in containers so the kids can easily access their work without having to dig for them.
4. Set up all writing utensils, coloring materials, and anything else you use frequently.
5. Make sure nothing *extra* finds its way into your command center- remember, this is for “important” items only. Too much clutter will make it less effective.
6. Set up time management binders for the kids if it’s something that will help you.
Next week, I’ll share with you my solution for the rest of the curriculum, After I get to Ikea!