Wednesday, March 4

everything in its place

This week begins 8 Ways to a More Organized Homeschool Carnival sponsored by Heart of the Matter Online. If you are interested in participating, just click on the button on my sidebar to get all the details.

*Topic for week one - ORGANIZE YOUR PHYSICAL SPACE*

Organization is an important topic to talk about because it is so essential in helping your homeschooling days go well.

When we made the decision to homeschool, it was late August as the public schools were beginning a new year. We didn't have time to really prepare our *school*, but jumped in headfirst. The downside was that things weren't well organized and most of our schooling was done at the kitchen table. My husband quickly became frustrated when he came home from work to find books all over the table, charts randomly put on the walls, papers and crayons everywhere, not to mention the toddler's mess making of the day. Something had to change.

And it did. We converted an outside storage building into a schoolhouse. New paint on the walls, carpet on the floor, a heater installed, shelves put up, a large chalkboard on the wall as well as bulletin boards. It was wonderful! Everything we needed for schooling was carefully organized in one room out of the hands of the toddler who had his own basket of things to play with during our schooling time.

At the time we began using that building, there were only three children to go in and out. But our family continued growing and there were lots of ins and outs as kids went back and forth from our schoolhouse to the main house making it challenging to keep track of everything - kids, school supplies that traveled with them, chores in the house, snacking out of sight of mom, etc. Also, going back and forth during our cold winter months was not a wise decision regarding heating costs or for our own good health. So after a few years, we moved all our schooling back into the house.

This time we did a bit better schooling in the house because we had picked up several older desks at a local school sale for our schoolhouse. The kids could keep their things inside the desks and my teacher's guides had a shelf and a rubbermaid container for storage. Lots of bookshelves downstairs could store all the other books and as well as craft and art supplies (which continues to work well to this day). There was still some kitchen mess depending upon what we were working on and their desks could so easily become places of clutter and junk piles. Again, that would frustrate the dad of the house at times.

The kids grew and rotated through desks as the older ones moved into their bedrooms which allowed them a little more quiet and the benefit of real desks. Life went on until about five years ago when we remodeled our kitchen. Where the kitchen wall had recessed for our desks, a built-in China cabinet now stood. Bye bye, desks! I had designed this area to allow cabinet space for schooling purposes (and I'm certain I can fill those cabinets when our schooling years are done!)

The upper middle cabinet stores school supplies like markers, glue, and rubber stamps in separate containers on its lower shelves. Our main schooling cabinet is located in the left lower cabinet area.

The top shelf is separated between the books of the three youngest with some containers also located there that hold pencils, pens, erasers, and miscellaneous sharpeners. I also keep our devotional materials on the far left corner of that shelf. The lower shelf has two rubbermaid containers stacked on the far left - one filled with colored pencils and the other with stickers. Then there are two boxes with all my current year teachers guides/correction books - one for the lower grades, one for the high schoolers.

Random things get stuck in cabinet depending upon what we are working on at the time. Right now there's a couple clipboards and an abacus. Often there's coloring books for the littlest, random notebooks, or "how to draw" books. The high schoolers continue to work in their bedrooms and the lower grades work at the kitchen table. However, we are right next to the cabinet and things get put away as soon as we are done.

After years of homeschooling, our current design allows our homeschooling days to run the smoothest. The best organization truly does come down to the saying from the 1800's - "A place for everything and everything in its place." When you abide by that principle, everyone is happy, including the daddy of the family!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

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