Organizing Your Home for Homeschooling…

January 9, 2013

Today I would like to welcome a guest poster who will be sharing tips on how to organize your homeschool space.  Please welcome Tina from Dynamic 2 Moms Homeschooling Adventure.

Organizing your Home for Homeschooling

Thank you Toni for your gracious invitation to scoot by your beautiful blog which is chock-full of tips for home educators too. Thanks for the inspiration for those of us teaching and learning at home.

Hi y’all, I am Tina from Dynamic 2 Moms Homeschooling Adventures.  I have homeschooled all three of my boys from the beginning.  I have savored every minute of homeschooling but it has not always been easy.

Along my journey, I have given up some of how I spend my day but I have not given up time to organize.  Organization gives you wiggle room in your day to teach, experiment, and explore alongside your children.  Clutter can bring stress to any learning environment.  At home, organization is needed even more because you are sharing living and learning spaces.  Books, science experiments, lapbooks, posters, crafts, computers,  globes, art supplies, printers, dictionaries, maps, paper, bookshelves and oh did I mention kids are enough to make us run the other way when thinking about organizing our homeschool area.  Sharing a few organizational tips, I hope to bring some homeschool harmony to your journey.

1. Before you purchase furniture and curriculum, decide if you want to do a majority of your learning in one room or use a majority of your home.

There is a difference. Some homeschoolers prefer a room and pattern it somewhat after public school. Others prefer to learn all over the house and integrate it into everyday life.  I like to do both. Part of our day takes place in a structured sit down environment at a table and the other part of our day is spent elsewhere around the house or outside.  For me personally, when the boys were very young {all under 2nd grade} I preferred a more designated room and used a kidney shaped table similar to that used in many public school rooms.

Having a designated schoolroom didn’t confuse my sons that we learn everyday in many places, not just within those four walls. It did help them to form lifelong habits and a routine. It helped me to keep the clutter to a minimum.  Also give them their own space that is organized so they can keep up with high school deadlines.

Deciding individual desks versus table, or some of both is a must in the beginning.

2.  Whatever you decide, whether it’s a special room or learning all over the house,  do determine a place for all of your supplies and label them.

A label for a non-reader would be a picture.  One year, I took pictures of my sons in the process of doing a chore like making their bed or brushing their teeth.  They used stickers to show the chore completed because they could not write.  Later when they started to write, they checked it off with a dry erase marker.

Toni has blogged about her over the door shoe organizer that can be used to hold supplies. That can be used in a homeschool area.

Click here to read Toni’s post about this over the door hanger.

A toddler size over the door organizer too is a perfect size for younger children to store flashcards, games and learning supplies.  Thinking outside the box is key to organizing a learning area. Here is our learning area today now that the boys are older.

I shared a few more ideas for storage, spaces and learning places here.

I use a tower of clear drawers labeled for each child. Each child has one drawer per subject that houses all their devices, cds, pens, pencils,  software, cords, books and paper they need for that subject.  The drawers are stacked in  the same order, top to bottom, of the subjects they cover for the day.  They understand, without prodding from me, which subject or drawer they start with each day and work their way down until completed.

  • Don’t just stack them, organize the drawers as to use.  No excuse to not put away each day’s work. It’s not my job to handle paperwork. Okay, maybe just a little.
  • Don’t run out and buy drawers yet. Measure first the largest books or device that you will store and use that as the guide for the size of your drawers.
  • Take time to purge manipulatives regularly. Putting out a few  manipulatives at a time for the toddlers to explore keeps messes contained.  They don’t all need to be within reach of the toddler.  When you switch out learning toys seasonally, old toys become new again.

3.  Take time to make things you use every day cheerful and pretty. Functionality is huge on the list for most of us but all of us spend time in our learning space.  Little things that are beautiful and that we use each day like planners and teacher binders affects mood.

It doesn’t have to be expensive to make a change or take a lot of time. I took time this year to change out teacher manuals that came in some eyesore blah binders to pretty binders.

Also,  I took time to change out my magazine bins for my teacher helps. I don’t want to sound cliche but it really is the little things that make a huge difference in how I begin my day.

Taking time each year to create my own teacher planner and making it pretty inspires me for better record keeping.  I love my iPad and techie things but I am a paper planner girl. There is something about writing it down that makes it stick for me. My 7 step homeschool curriculum planner is free if you want help being a little more organized.

Add a little style to your day as you learn.  Organizing a learning environment at home can be challenging but worth every effort.  Spend time igniting the spark for learning but don’t give up on creating spaces that inspire you.

I wanted to let you know about one more exciting thing coming tomorrow! I have a new printable Unit Study Planner that will be free for only 2 days, Jan. 10th & 11th, on Homeschool Freebie of the Day. Be sure to get over there to visit his site to download my newest planner.

Hugs and love ya,

56 comments on “Organizing Your Home for Homeschooling…

  1. Thursday says:

    Wow! As a homeschooling Mum, I almost fell off my chair with excitement when I read the title of this post. Thank you!! All great information and advice. Much appreciated, as are the links.

    • Lol..Well so glad you are here to read it! I love homeschooling too. It is such a way of life.

      You are very welcome & I’m glad to share the links here on Toni’s blog :o)


  2. Kim says:

    WOW!!!! Your organization is amazing! And kudos to you for doing your own planner. I have tried and tried and give up after a few weeks cause it gets so time consuming. I then resort to using the planners given in the different curriculums I buy. :/

    • Thank you Kim and it always helps me to see how other folks are making areas a place to learn & live. I think the key to planners is to make them unique and make them yours. That is why I make mine in steps. Skip any step that brings stress and that is not needed by your family, then you have a planner that is special for your family. :o)

  3. I read your earlier posts on your blog about organizing the homeschool room, and I’m still in love with those binders….wish they sold ones like that here! Maybe when we get a Target this summer, finally. 🙂

    Great post!

  4. Nicole says:

    What great ideas!! I just got our school area organized, it’s so much more functional when I know just where everything is! Thanks for sharing the planner! Have a great week!!

    • Hi Nicole,

      Isn’t that a great feeling when you get that accomplished?

      It seems when you first start to homeschool, ones can tend to get myopic about “curriculum” and forget the fact that we can’t get started in chaos. Wellll– we can—put usually burnout happens.

      So glad you are focusing on the area first and you are very welcome for the planner.

  5. Kym says:

    Really good tips! I have been homeschooling for lots of years and do some of those things already, but thanks for the reminder to STAY organized. My homeschooling things are some of the few areas where I am organized! LOL

  6. Amanda says:

    I love all the tips, Tina! As you know, and said, it can be challenging at times to homeschool but soooooo worth it. And especially is it important for us ‘not so organized’ inclined people to have people like you that help us along. Thank you! Happy Homeschooling!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Well, honestly, if I can help just one who struggles in this area, it makes me feel like the one that is blessed.

      I can’t sing, dance, draw, skip, lol and uhmmm you don’t want me to..hee hee…but other things naturally make sense like organizing. I always encourage any that are homeschooling to share your abilities for the benefit of others.

      You are so welcome and thank you for your kind words. :o)

  7. Milly says:

    Wow, thankyou so much Tina and Toni. I am a homeschooling mom and this helps so much. I have felt a strong need to organize everything in our house lately because it will make things run so much smoother and give me extra time for all the needs that need met each day….not to mention it is extra tough to keep things tidy when kids are home all day unless everything has a place and the kids know where that place is. This info helps immensely. What a pleasant surprise this post was!

    • Hi Milly,

      You are just so welcome and hang in there! Taking time to train your children to put away school items and having a place for them to do that helps a smoother homeschool day. I am so glad this helped.

  8. Where did you get the colorful 3 ring binders!?

    • I got them at Target. Though I am in binder heaven anywhere that sells them :o)
      Who goes into a store and starts clicking pictures of ME!! hee hee..It’s an obsession I’m telling you.

  9. Mrs. P. says:

    Tina, you are such a wealth of info. and help. Love your blog and this post!

  10. Kristi says:

    I love all of your colorful binders!! So very pretty! I might have to make some of those…

  11. Donna says:

    Always love all the organizing ideas!! They help us run our home without our home running us!

    • Hi Donna, I hear ya and the thing too is that everybody’s household is different. So you need a variety of tips to sort through to find what is good for each family..
      Thanks for sharing..

  12. Sharon says:

    Wow! I am glad I heard about your blog, your have so much wonderful information. Love all the organizational tips and photos! Thanks!

  13. Liz says:

    Wonderful ideas…..Reminds me of the quote: “When you fail to plan, then you might as well plan to fail.
    In homeschooling, like any other aspect of our daily life, it is important to have a place for everything, and
    everything in it’s place. Thank you Tina, for sharing your wonderful information with us.

  14. Lisa G. says:

    To quote Kim from the “WOW!!!!” to the “Your organization is amazing! And kudos to you for doing your own planner. I have tried and tried and give up after a few weeks cause it gets so time consuming.” ‘Wish I could do better, but Kim has already said it for me. 🙂

    • Hi Lisa,

      Well tiny baby steps helps. I have doing my own planner for many years and my first ones were not even ones I could post on my site. lol. Good thing I didn’t have a blog

      I suggest in one blog post to use a binder for when you are new or “testing” a new planner because you can add to it and take stuff out. I had to do that last year because I was testing out some new forms and needed to be able to change them out.

      I don’t normally recommend that with planners. I recommend you coil bind and I recommend that you stick to one system because constant change is exhausting when you are teaching everyday.

      But, when you are new and don’t fully understand what you like, or like me, I had different needs with my highschool teens. I need to track CLEP credits and needed a slight tweak on my organizational system.

      Even printing off a week of lesson planning pages and not doing my whole planner will give you an edge for the week.

      Baby steps, Lisa..I will help you with any questions..I promise!

  15. Mim says:

    Great ideas for organizing. My son has graduated, but I have several grandkids who are benefitting from Tina’s ideas. I am benefitting from the organizing helps.

  16. Selena says:

    I love how you keep the homeschooling books and supplies out in the open at home! I use an over the door hanger for our supplies, but I hide it in the linen closet…lol. I’ll be moving more of our things out into the living room, since that’s where we do most of our work. 🙂

  17. Carol says:

    Those are some awesome organizing skills! I love the reminder to keep your supplies organized, wherever you do school!

  18. Diane says:

    As a homeschool mom, organization can sometimes be a challenge. Thanks so much for easing the challenge and for presenting it with such eye candy. Love it!!

  19. Karyn says:

    I am loving your beautiful spaces. Organization in our homeschool is where I struggle the VERY most!! I am going to be reading more of your posts. Thanks so much for this great post!

  20. Cristi says:

    Wow! You are quite the amazing organizer. I’ve made great strides to keep everything in order for our homeschool supplies, but I’ve got a long ways to go before our room looks as pretty as yours does.

  21. Cariann says:

    I so needed to read this post! We homeschool all over, but I have a shared space in the laundry room that is for school stuff. I need to better organize it and label spaces. I love the over the door hanger that is clear, I have one that is fabric, but I think I can still make it work using fabric labels (will make a fun craft project with the boys).

  22. Amy B says:

    Wow, your binders and magazine holders are beautiful! Thank you for sharing the shoe organizer idea again — I am hoping to use that one myself. 🙂

  23. We are now using one of our living rooms as a school room. It is very public and I am looking for some ways to make it look pretty and still a school room. Thanks for these ideas!

  24. Kimmie Hogan says:

    Thanks for the great printable resources. I did a blog post on my blog and did a post linking whomever reads it back to you and these wonderful resources.

    Thanks Again,
    Kimmie H.

  25. I know it has been said many times already, but I Love your binders!! You listed many great ideas, some of them I use in our homeschool also. I too am a paper lesson plan girl and make my own each year. For me that is the fun part of planning. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  26. Missie says:

    I would love to know how you made your labels for your binders. I really like the idea of “clamping” the label and therefore being able to change binders around as needed without having to re-label since I am homeschooling pre-k through grade 12 at the moment. (I can proudly say that I have already graduated one child who is now a sophomore in college -woohooo!) Now just 18 more years – there is definitely room to be more organized!! 🙂

  27. Meg says:

    Great ideas! We are still new at this, and struggling to figure a way to contain everything without it being too out of the way. (We are dining-room-table students, and there are times I think my husband despairs of the room ever being back to its original purpose.) I think I’m going to take some of these ideas and tailor them for us! I especially love the “Measure first, then shop” idea.

  28. Ellen says:

    Tina, what great tips!! My BIG takeaway – since I am such a visual person – is what you did to make those binders pretty!!!! 😉 And what do you put in your magazine bins? You mentioned “teacher helps”…do you mean helps that are in magazine form, or do you have other things in there? Loved that one too!!

  29. Mary says:

    I love, love, love the binders!

  30. Dori says:

    Toni, thank you for having Tina “visit.” I’m excited to peruse your site, as my gifts are not in organizing- one reason I’m so grateful for people like you and Tina. Thanks for your help! This is our 5th year homeschooling. It’s getting better every year!

  31. Hi y’all,

    Well just so I don’t have to make Toni take time to approve all of my comments to you, I just wanted to say Mim you rock! Stay after those grandkids, I applaud you.

    Selena, I am so glad you will put those books where you can use them. Look at furniture, not always in the storage section but in the breakfast section or dining section that has furniture to use for small spaces and that you can use later when they leave the house. They will look beautiful as guests come to visit too and for YOU.

    Carol, like Selena, leave them out! Everybody knows we learn each day, all day and are proud of it! :o) Make pretty book covers out of wall paper or fabric if you want to also. Thanks for your comment.

    Diane, remember eye candy makes the world go around..hee hee..gotta have it, even while homeschooling. No compromises!

    Karyn, don’t give up! Each ounce of prevention or effort like the saying goes is a lot of cure. Don’t run out and organize everything in sight. I can’t, but I do what is important and slowly work on the other things. So much easier to keep areas when all the clutter is gone.

    Hi Cristi, thank you for your kind words. I love organizing and especially love organizing all of our cool learning tools :o)

    Cariann, when I first started homeschooling we were 5 people in a 800 square foot log cabin and I used the laundry room. I loved that cabin while we built a house but I used EVERY square inch for storing items. Use under the bed for rolling storage and you are so right! Label so you can find and put away is a must. :o)

    Hi Amy, yes as I find Toni’s wonderful ideas that I think will apply for our use, I will try to list them again this spring on my blog and then think of what we could use them for at home whether it’s learning tools or projects,etc. But I love her idea! Now only if I had a closet in my dining but uhmm I do have a laundry room with

    Lisa, I did that one year when we lived in the country. I bought one of those stand alone fireplaces to warm the area {a huge homeschool lol}..I used a huge wood crafting table to sit in the center. The one that has doors on the end and where you use bar stools and used huge throw rugs…The place was warm and fuzzy but too the bookshelves against the wall had pretty labeled boxes helps but when guest would go over, I would add a floral arrangement on the activity table and the teen kids could even eat there. Our stuff was put away on the shelves underneath and closed by doors. Guests never knew if we did school or

    Hi Kimmie, Thank you for that. If you will send me the permalink, I can post it on my blog when I do a post again about homeschool organization. Thanks Kimmie and for your comment :o)

    Hi Julie, well you are VERY welcome. Me too! I always tell everybody I am a paper planner girl living in a digital world who loves my techie things Thanks for your comment :o)

    Missie, your a hoot! Well I made my own labels and I normally share all of my labels with my followers. I *think* I shared that one too..Will have to go and look. I just “organized” my blog some more and have a new category ” Dynamic 2 Moms Learning Printables” and “Dynamic 2 Moms Planner Printables”. Not all my posts are there yet but it may be. I just used cardstock and use those bulldog clamps and because I am the only using those binders, they stay like I want them to.
    Whoo hoo, it won’t be long now…I have two more kids to go too. I think this is what they mean by life-long

    Hi Meg, well, it took my husband a while to appreciate that our home is for “us”. The wonderful guys they are though, they are probably not there unless they work at home. My husband felt that way but he leaves to go to work and it’s us that stay and learn. He appreciates the fact that I try to make learning spaces beautiful and try to put away as much as possible each day. Too, if you will invest in pieces that stay with you when the children leave or as they grow, it will make sense to him for it to be a much better purchase. My bookshelves in the school area are purchased from the dining area of a store. He can see that utilizing now it for school and later for home makes a smart purchase and it “fits” the space for use. I hope that makes sense..

    Hey Ellen, so good to see you here. I keep “teacher helps and answer keys and reference” work in the magazine holders. The others are actually magazines we keep for reference for history and science but the majority are MY things. They have their drawers for their specialty items for each kid and the “common area” for dictionaries,atlas,etc” I love TOG for reference but I am more unit study approach than any other.

    Hi Mary, make it pretty and it doesn’t cost much. They are from Target :o) and I LOVE them this year..I love waking up to that and my coffee in the morning before the kids sit down with me…Thanks for your comment :o)

    Hi Dori, nice! Well stay after it! Homeschooling is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had. I think some folks thinks it requires patience and Lord knows I ask for that each day but it requires more dogged determination and PERSISTENCE than anything else. Still working on the patient part. Enjoy Toni’s site, she has a lot of good ideas for you to use which is why I follow here more than other sites.

    Hugs to each of you and thank you again Toni!


  32. Lisa says:

    What beautiful space! Wish I could hire you ; )

  33. Wendy says:

    I love all of the photos included in the post! We actually homeschool all over the house (and outside in spring and fall), but I do have a big walk-in pantry where I store everything. It does help so very much to keep things organized! I enjoyed your post! 🙂

  34. Laura says:

    Love this organizational post directed at homeschooling. This is the one area of my life that clutters up the rest, so this is so very encouraging to read!

  35. Audrey says:

    I could only wish to be so organized! Everything is so pretty, too! 🙂 My last homeschooling child is in 9th grade with mostly online courses so we don’t have nearly as much stuff as we used to, but our organization is still a work in progress!

  36. This is a great article in regards to what would be seemingly easy to take care of (homeschooling), but now that I see all the work involved such as all the paper work and organization I see why the organization is so important. Thanks you for your article, it has given me some ideas about what I may be getting myself into.

  37. thank you so much for sharing your tips on organizing for homeschooling. this was so helpful, i’m getting ready for this year and i’m so excited about using some of the tips. thank you again.

  38. Danielle says:

    Where did you buy the clear drawers? Are they big and sturdy enough for several school books?

  39. shanta says:

    Not only is this picture perfect organization, but it is done so beautifully. I am truly envious.

Get the latest downloads from A Bowl Full of Lemons printables shop.
Hello. Add your message here.