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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Like many moms, my most productive place to stand is at the intersection of Clean and Organized. I operate at my peak capacity when all of my life plays like a symphony of order. Naturally, my homeschool days go so much smoother when everything has a place and everything is in its place. 

With five kids who help with the chores and who all have their own personal interpretations of the word order, though, I never have the luxury of Pinterest-pretty living spaces. Instead, our home...especially our much-used dining and living rooms...can quickly slip into subpar levels of tidy. (Truthfully, some days my home can look more like a triage unit than a haven of rest. But I'm willing to bet that I don't have the market cornered on that kind of chaos.)

No matter. I'm content with scruffy hospitality.


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Summer, with its carefree days and its emptier schedule, always provides ample opportunity to reorder and realign. By carving out one or two mornings to deep clean our learning cupboards, I can march tall into the new school year knowing that last spring's disheveled homeschool spaces are once again fall-ready. They are organized...if only for a moment.

This past week I hunkered down for the annual binge-and-purge...one of ten steps I do every summer in order to prepare for the coming school year.

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

How I Prepare My Homeschool Spaces

Here's a peek at my main school hutch BEFORE I cleaned it. You'll notice that it was a jumbled mess of confusion. My mission was to clean out any materials that would not be needed next year, replenish and pack-in any new items we'd be using in the coming months, and give the whole cabinet a deep dusting.  

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

I started by unpacking the cupboards one shelf at a time. I sorted items into the following six piles:
  • materials that I'd be using again next year and that needed to be returned to the cabinet
  • materials that I wouldn't be using next year but that I'd use again someday (These got placed in a large laundry basket.)
  • books that we read last year and that now needed to be reshelved in the home library upstairs
  • materials that never belonged in the school cupboard to begin with and needed to be returned to their rightful places
  • materials (like phonics flashcard sets) that needed to be reorganized before being returned to the cupboard for use next year
  • trash to be thrown away

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

After a shelf was emptied and sorted, I scrubbed it clean and moved on to another shelf. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Then it was time to tackle other school storage spaces around the house, like our start-the-day-together basket, our TruthQuest bin, and our flashcard basket.

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

I sorted through the items of each of these by placing the materials in the same six piles as before. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

By this time, my six sorted piles had grown quite large and needed some attention. Items were thrown away, returned, and reorganized. The materials that I had placed in the laundry basket--the ones that I knew I would not need for next year but that I would need again someday--were brought to the basement where I keep all our not-currently-in-use homeschool curriculum. They were all organized by grade level and/or subject and were slid spine-side-up in between other similar books in a large filing cabinet that we use for long-term curriculum storage. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Before leaving the filing cabinet, I culled next year's books and placed them all in the empty laundry basket to be brought upstairs. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Back in the dining room, I refilled the main school cabinet with all of next year's teacher materials--instructor's guides, lesson books, and project kits. Here's a peek at what it looked like AFTER it was officially deep cleaned.

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Next, I filled the kids' individual school bins with their personal workbooks, notebooks, and reading books that they'll need for the upcoming school year and put the empty laundry basket away. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

At this point, I enlisted the help of my kids to clean out the individual drawers of the school cupboard and our main supply caddy which holds items like pens/pencils, markers, and everyday art supplies. (Our more elaborate art items like acrylic paints, chalk pastels, and glue guns are stored elsewhere.) The kids sorted, cleaned, and tested everything to make sure all the supplies were in good working order. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

I, then, moved on to the manipulatives cabinet--a hand-me-down dresser that holds smaller learning tools and puzzles. (Our games are stored in a small pantry just to the west of this cabinet and since I Kon-Maried all of them last summer, I didn't need to reorganize the game closet this time around. Glory be!)

Here's what the manipulatives drawer looked like BEFORE I got my hands on it. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

As I cleaned it out, I used a similar pile system to the one I used while cleaning out the main cupboard. Once I got the drawers sorted, I assigned each child to reorder one set of flashcards until all the card sets were in their proper order. Most of my flashcards are classroom quality, as opposed to the cheapos found at Walmart or Target, so they were very easy to resort

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

Here is the same drawer AFTER it was organized and cleaned. 

Reorganizing My Homeschool Spaces for a New School Year #homeschool

In only a few hours time over the course of two mornings, I had all of our main school spaces ready for another year of learning. I know they won't stay picture-worthy for very long. And to be honest, I don't always have the emotional bandwidth to even care. But for now, I'll enjoy a slightly cleaner home as I make my back-to-homeschool shopping list and plan a fun-filled first day!

To see my reorganization in real time, check out my "School" highlight on Instastories.

9 comments:

  1. I'm in the same process--but two mornings isn't going to cut it for me. :)

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  2. My hutch is already to go too. It feels good start fresh.
    Blessings, Dawn

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  3. I do this every summer. We are in our 2nd week of homeschool and I see a few spots I missed. Gotta get back to it. LOL

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    Replies
    1. That seems to always happen to me too. Or I put everything in order towards the end of summer, but by fall, I find that it's gotten out of order again.

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  4. Sorry I don't know why it says unknown. I'm Tamyra from autismwithgrace.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Blogger is having issues with its comment section. Sorry about that.

      Delete
  5. Nice post! This is a very nice that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.
    Horizon Math

    ReplyDelete