The Organized Homeschool – 5 Tips for Staying Organized

Having an organized homeschool routine and supplies will make your program more efficient. You will spend less time scrambling and more time teaching.

A Humble Clipboard
A simple clipboard has been a major organizational tool I have used for years. Each child has their own clipboard. We use different colored plexiglass for all students which allows them to locate their clipboard from across the room. Their academic schedule for the week is on the top of their clipboard. Their unfinished school work is on their clipboard. Their schedules for sports, scouts, or other extra-curricular activities are on their clipboard. There are no loose papers to lose, and kids begin learning time management in elementary school.

Writing Supplies
This seems so obvious to be trite, but organizing your writing utensils can be helpful. Consider finding a place for your pencil sharpener near an electrical outlet (if its electric) AND a trashcan. We have one pencil jar for pencils, one for pens, one for markers/highlighters, and one for colored pencils. One person has the chore of sharpening the pencils and emptying the sharpener tray every week. Nicely sharpened pencils are positioned point up. When a pencil led is dull or broken, the pencil is placed point down until the day of sharpening arrives. Other office supplies are also strategically placed in convenient locations around the house.

Set Up Your Homeschool Headquarters
You need an area of your home which is your homeschool HQ. That does not mean you need to do all the work there; in fact it may be better not to. However, it will be helpful to have one area designated for keeping your books and supplies.

The motto "A place for everything and everything in its place" is particularly important for homeschool - at least when the school work is done. You should choose an area that will be both aesthetic and convenient. If you find the kids leave their books on your kitchen table that is not convenient. The end-tables in the living room might be convenient, but they likely aren't aesthetic.

Some families have an area with bookshelves where all supplies are stored when not in use. Other families find it works better to have the books kept in each students' room.

The Tot's Spot
For younger children, a specially organized area can be an asset. Have puzzles, books, art supplies and activities that are reserved for use during homeschool hours. Even a toddler placed in a high chair can be given some "school work" appropriate for his little fingers for a short period of time. A flexible plan of toddler and infant activities helps to keep the academic clock ticking effectively.

Grading Older Students' Work
In the early years of education, evaluation will be almost immediate. However, as students mature, they may go hours and even days without having their work corrected. All work to be graded should be left in a designated place. That might be the clipboard or a file cabinet or other location. One teenager acquired a wallbox from a local office supply to hang outside her bedroom door just for completed assignments. That way her work would be accessible for grading at anytime, but allowed her the privacy of her bedroom.

In addition to having a place for completed work, it also helps to have a schedule for correcting, grading, and providing one-on-one feedback.

Discover other organizational tips, and share your own, at Kid Friendly Homeschool Curriculum.

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