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Organizing Homeschool Rooms

Are you looking for ways to organize a homeschool room? There are 101 great ideas out there for how to organize your homeschool room and make it super cute, but cute isn't functional. The simplest way is the best way. If it isn’t simple to put away then it won’t stay cute. It will be a mess!

Each person’s situation is unique. My goal for this post is to give you ideas for organizing a homeschool room that will cover many situations and family dynamics.

How to store books

If you have only one or two children and you tend to buy books just for the year and then sell them at the end of the year, then it makes sense that each student’s books would be on their own shelf or desk within easy reach.

However, if you have multiple children and you tend to collect books, then you are likely in need of some ideas for getting your homeschool room in order and books take up more space than most other things. In this case, I recommend you store books by subject. As a homeschooler, you know that just because a student is in a certain grade doesn’t mean that you are restricted to only using books in that grade. Having books grouped together by subject assures that you know right where to go to find a given book without having to think what the appropriate age or grade is for that book.

I have collected lots of books over the years so I have a whole bookcase assigned to each subject. For example, my history bookshelf is organized by time period with Ancients on the top shelf, Medieval on the second shelf, Explorers on the third shelf, and Modern on the 4th shelf. I do something similar with my science bookshelf by dividing the books generally into human anatomy, biology, chemistry and physics/physical science. Even very young children’s science books generally fall into one of these categories. English type books can be done the same way with the different veins of English on each shelf or section of a shelf: spelling, grammar, creative writing, literature, composition.

You may only need 1 shelf per subject or maybe even only part of a shelf. Leave yourself room for expansion. As you add more books to your home, if you already have a little room on your shelves it makes it easier to add to your collection and not have to overhaul the storage when you come home with one new book. Keeping books grouped together by subject helps you to find what you need very quickly.

The only exception to this rule would be if you have a program like Sonlight of Cornerstone Curriculum that is a complete program with all of the books included. It is easier to keep those altogether on one shelf so you aren’t constantly looking for the next book in the program for that year.

How to store supplies

There are so many very cute homeschool organization ideas for storing supplies. I find that most of them require far more upkeep than I am willing to commit just to make them look good. My organizational systems tend not to be picture perfect. Instead, they tend to be very functional. I need to be able to easily and quickly find what I need. And most importantly the system must be maintainable by my kids.

How many of you keep the crayon boxes? Probably most of you. It is very functional, especially if traveling. It keeps the crayons well organized. When you open the box of crayons you can see what you need. However, who wants to take the time to put them away? I bet no one!

Instead, I use inexpensive plastic containers or baskets for all kinds of supplies. When you purchase containers, be sure that they are large enough to hold the items easily with room to spare. The idea is that you can throw the items in the box, put the lid on, and put it back on the shelf with little effort.

This idea works well for so many school supplies: crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, math blocks, arts and crafts items, colored paper, scrapbook paper, paints, paintbrushes and so many other supplies. If you only need a few of something then put them in a box with something else similar. When my kids were young and doing crafty things all the time I had a shoebox size plastic container of crayons, another one of colored pencils, and another one of markers. They were so easy to get out and put away that they were used often.

Children will spend time digging for the thing they want but they won’t spend the same amount of time neatly putting things away. Make it easy for them and they will use things. If they know that it will take too long to put away, then they won’t even get them out.

How to use your workspace

When you were in school, everyone had a desk assigned to them. They kept all of their things in their desk or their backpack. Doing school at home does not have to be that way. Part of organizing a homeschool room is knowing how you will use the room. How kids use space changes with age.

When the children are young, a large table where you can be with them all and help them is ideal. Once your children get older and can be a bit more independent you may find them moving around the house: first at the table, then moving to the couch, next to lay on the trampoline outside to read, and finally on the floor to do their math with math blocks. That can be great.

A change of scenery can help kids focus better on their school work. It gives them a change of position so they aren’t wiggly. It allows them the independence to make some choices. Don’t box them into a certain way unless you can confirm that it helps them in some way - like to complete their school work, stay focused etc.

The three best ways I have found to provide workspace for your children are:

  • All the kids at a large table works great. It is better for it to not be your dining room table so that you can keep projects on the table as needed and still use the dining room table to eat meals.

  • Provide each student with a desk or table. This could be in their bedroom or it could be in the schoolroom or some other part of the house. A size of 30” x 48” at a minimum is best. A little larger is better. That gives them room to spread out a bit. If each student has their own space then it will tend to get cluttered over time. It often ends up being a catch-all and then they sit on the couch anyway to do their school. If you want them at a desk then require that they leave it cleaned off each night and ready for use the next day.

  • Hybrid or flex. This uses both a large table, a few desks that anyone can use, and then also some quiet places around the house like a front porch swing, their room, or the couch. This works really well for large families. You can provide a couple of tabletops in different places of the house that anyone is free to use. They will figure out pretty quickly if they prefer a tabletop or a more comfortable place. You can also require that they move to different spots around the house for the first several weeks so that they figure out what works best for them.

Remember that no matter how you organize your homeschool room you will need to change it up every year or two. As your kids age and mature the ways to organize a homeschool room and your needs will change. Don’t be afraid to try something and if it doesn’t work change it. Keep changing it until it is easy to use and easy to maintain. The system of organizing your homeschool room that is easy to use and easy to maintain is the best system.

Done is better than perfect.

Don’t just survive...THRIVE!

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