Saturday, July 16, 2011

Organizing the Homeschool STUFF

I have been on a bit of an organizing frenzy lately (thank you 2nd trimester nesting energy). The last couple days I have turned my focus to an area that has been frustrating me for a LOOOOOOONG time. My homeschool stuff.

Our homeschool style is a little different then some. We are very eclectic. We have a curriculum, but I most just use that as a guide to keep me on some sort of track. Then I use that to help me determine our unit lessons and the activities on our shelves. I pull a lot from the Montessori method of learning as well and try to make it all mesh together. This style of learning/teaching seems to require a lot of 'stuff.' Or maybe its just me and my slight addiction to buying learning tools, games, and manipulatives. I like to change things up often and to do that you need things to change to.

As I looked for inspiration for my organization project, it was hard to find! There are many posts about organizing your homeschool. These posts tend to be where to put the glue, crayons and pencils. It just wasnt what I was looking for. I did find one post, on 1+1+1=1, that helped a lot. It makes sense that the blogger that got me going on my homeschool journey would be the one who would understand the need to tell me how to organize all these wonderful school toys and resources.

Here's where I started:

I have designated 1/2 of my storage room for school stuff. My store room is right next to our school room, so the proximity is great for moving things back and forth. I moved all the stuff in here about 2 months ago when I got tired of looking at it in the school room. It wasnt a calm learning atmosphere in my opinion.

As you can see there was an attempt at organization-with banker boxes and such, but this set up wasnt working for me. I couldnt see what was in the boxes and there was no real rhyme or reason to why I put what where except it fit. Of course the last picture shows no organization at all and thats because it wasnt.

So, off to Walmart I went. Like I have mentioned before we just dont have cool organization stores. Thankfully, I found a few things I thought would work and brought them home.

I found these stackable laundry baskets that allowed me to take advantage of the large height of each shelf without using huge, bottomless pit, bins. They can hold little pieces in place while still allowing me to see what's in them and access them pretty easily.

It took me a bit to decide HOW to divide the things I had. I finally came up with the following categories, mostly following the Montessori areas: Math, Language, Practical Life, Sensorial, Geography, Science, Bible, Music, Fall, Christmas/winter, Spring & Summer, Tot School stuff (many of the other things are for Tot school, but some things are just for a Tot), Containers, Building toys, and puzzles.

If you look at the pictures you may realize that there arent THAT many bins. Some things got combined just due to the fact that I had less items in that area. Things too big for the bins were placed just to the side of that bin. I purposely chose to put bins that had overflow on top of bins that didnt so there wasnt any confusion as to which bin it went with.

I didnt create labels, because I'm the only one touching these items and I can see where everything is. I figured that labels in this case were not a priority. I may do them in the future, because I love the way they look :).

And speaking of looks, I did not like the way that this dresser looked in our school room. Its very functional for holding supplies and paper, etc, but it wasnt making a calm atmosphere in our school room. It was heavy and couldnt really go anywhere in the room other then where it was, and I just didnt like it there. I didnt want to loose this storage, though. Drawers provide a great storage medium!

So, I hauled it next door into the storage room. Thankfully, I could do that since the rooms are so close!

The top shelves are being used (mostly) for puzzles. There is also a box of our books on tape, finished work, and a few odds and ends that didnt have another home. The drawers are currently holding extra notebooks, glue, pens, paper, etc. You know the 'normal' stuff :).

I realize that it still has a bit of a cluttered look to it, but that is to be expected with these types of things. At least now, I can close the door on it!

How do you organize your school stuff? I would love to see your set up. Let me know if you have a post I can read about it, please!

Have a great weekend! God Bless!!


Laura O in AK said...

I wish I had a storage area I could close the door on for our school stuff. But, alas, we don't! Instead, it's a big open room.

I share some photos from mine last year and might do it again after I finish banishing more boxes.

Mary said...

::Drool:: I am coveting your storage shelving!! Looks good!

Michelle said...

I love your storage!! I'm currently trying to pack our camper to move into for the next 4-6 months, which means I have to be careful what school stuff I take. We're active duty and transferring and the housing waiting list is that long.

Have a great week!

Giggly Girls said...

You did a fabulous job!!!!!

Evenspor said...

That's right where we're at too. The school style you described sounds a lot like what we're falling into, and I've been trying to get all of the school stuff organized. Right now I have everything in the big bins, and they are stored out in the shop, so it's not the most convenient arrangement, but it's what we have room for. I recently reorganized the bins by subject (math, science, sensorial, social studies, language, containers and trays, and seasonal). Some of the bins have smaller, clear bins inside to make it easier to find things. I also have a few shelves inside where I can keep some things, like counters, language objects and art supplies. I need to get those all reorganized and reorganize our learning space.

Family Style School said...

Great job! Looks like you worked hard.

Our Peculiar Lives said...

Looks fabulous! What a big job!

Modest Mama said...

Ohhh! This looks so nice!

Nikki said...

Wow! You not only have an awesome area for storage, but awesome storage pieces! Those shelves are great!