ORGANIZING for New Homeschoolers

March 24, 2017

So I homeschool my three kids for a variety of reasons but the big one for me is this:

Homeschooling helps my family find a balance between LIFE and all the various medical things we must juggle.  It just fits my family.  

 

THAT SAID -- I can attest to being new to the homeschooling mindset myself.  I have only been doing this {at the time of this post} for 3 years. I did not come from a homeschooling family and in fact I never PLANNED to be a homeschool mom myself.  AS such, it's been a huge learning curve to find a rhythm that worked for me.  There is so much amazing information out there but when you are backing in homeschooling half-sideways and a little reluctantly....all that information can be overwhelming.  So if you are a reluctant homeschooler, like me, I welcome you.  -->>YOU Are my tribe!<<--  

 

I like to reach out and connect with other "new" homeschool mommies.  I like being able to show them, "SEE...if my hot mess express can roll thru and do this, SO CAN YOU!"  We reluctant homeschooling moms gotta stick together!  I often get asked about the more practical things though and I figured it warranted a post.  So for everyone who has their WHY but is wondering about the HOW....Below is a few of my most FAV things for organizing my school stuff (complete with fun colorful pictures).  I even include links to where you can get these items on Amazon so you don't have to drag your crew of crazy out to eleventy-billion stores for shopping.  YOUR. WELCOME!

FIRST....these little carts have been a foundational contributor to organizing our space.  It's a Classic 10 Drawer Organizing Cart.  Lightweight enough that you can move them around where you need them, but sturdy enough that they have survived now THREE moves (one cross country) and withstood the brunt of massive usage by my own three man wrecking crew.  That's my kids....my kids are a walking, talking, wrecking crew. hahaha.  But what makes them SO amazing for us is the drawers are the PERFECT size to create a rolling "workbox" style system.  Each Drawer is labelled by topic (writing, reading, math, etc).  I use the TOP draw for SUPPLIES (think your old school supply box but in DRAWER form) and since I don't need NEAR this many drawers yet, I used the bottom ones for REWARD drawers.  Coloring books, fun games, or even putting their tablets in them.

 

As they grow and we add more curriculum choices to those brightly colored drawers.  They will allow flexibility for that too!  YAY for longevity of purchase!  AND FOR THOSE OF YOU thinking "oh well I don't have a big space" -- GIRL I feel you.  My first "school space" was an 8*12 space.  And then for about 10 months i literally schooled the kids out of my mothers dining room when we all lived with her.  These carts are lightweight and rolling and very flexible.  The tops make GREAT storage spaces too and they are MASSIVE storage for even SMALL spaces.  They have very small footprints overall so they don't take up tons of space.  IF you must school at your kitchen table....roll these suckers out for school time, and roll them back into a closet when it's dinnertime!

 

EXTRA CRAZY OCD TIP: for my Type A Control Freaks -- if you buy five of these, you can totally color code your children!  My boys have carts (see above pic) full of NOTHING but RED, or BLUE, or ORANGE drawers....and mommy has two carts with pretty purple and green that I use for mommy supplies!  TYPE A MOMS UNITE!  -- LET YOUR FREAK FLAGS FLY LADIES!

 

NEXT...as I mentioned before I simply MUST have a balance whereby I can juggle both the educational needs of my kids AND the medical needs of my son who has Type 1 Diabetes.  As such, there are times when I must quickly put us all in the car for a doctor or hospital run.  Furthermore we have MANY schedule doctor visits each year between Pediatrician, Dentist, Orthodontist, Endocrinologist, Ophthalmologist, PT, OT, and more. My second year of homeschooling we fell behind in my plans because I hadn't made good room for these very necessary and unavoidable (but sometimes UNPLANNED) things.  Enter these ninja boxes of awesome   Hard clipboard storage case box thingies that PERFECTLY hold any and all curriculum I have to travel with.  They are efficient in that they have a little section to hold pens and pencils and if you add on a simple cheap pencil pouch you have a place for crayons/markers and the like. WHY would anyone travel with a box of markers and a crew of kids is beyond me but I digress.  

These things also have a clipboard attachment so little papers don't slip off laps in waiting rooms (I think a mom designed these) AND A HANDLE so your little angels can learn SELF-SUFFICIENCY and carry their crap around all by themselves! (that settles it, a mom designed these).  I can quickly and easily slide any curriculum OUT of our work boxes and INTO these travel boxes and BAM - instant on-the-go schoolroom!

 

NOW for my mama's of littles (or bunches of littles...or just bunches) who want to re-use a single printable or worksheet for multiple children....these inexpensive little pocket doo-hickeys are LIFE SAVERS!  They are Dry Erase POCKETS!  I mean, GENIUS!  You can slip ANY worksheet, coloring sheet, printable, ANYTHING, into these pockets and BAM -- it's now a dry-erase worksheet that you can wipe off and re-use.  Saves a BUNDLE on printing paper and ink plus eliminates the mess of bleed-thru papers and marker all over desktops and jeans.  Plus, colorful so you can again color-code your kids. (is it just me....i mean.....if everyone knows their color there are less arguments).  And, did I mention they fit inside the clipboard boxes above.  That's what we call a WIN-WIN folks, it's a win-win!  Plus you can grab these cute little dry erase markers with built in eraser lids that are CHEAP and perfect sized for little hands (and they fit in the boxes to go if you need it too!)

So I'll stop this list short for now.  If you are a new homeschool mom you could pretty much kill it with the above items, a dollar store run, and some free print-out curriculum!  Homeschooling doesn't HAVE to be super expensive!  I will say though, if you are legit gonna make a go of it with homeschooling, just. get. amazon. prime. hahahaha.  If you are like me, if I go into an office supply store i'm toast!  All the bright colors will sink my budget and I'll walk out of there armed with enough supplies for my kids to graduate college!  (I'm not kidding, I'm still using pencils from three years ago ya'll....learn from my mistakes). Now with Amazon prime and FREE shipping, I can one-click....get what I want delivered...and avoid the tempting aisles of brightly-colored, coordinated, money-sucking but BEAUTIFUL stuff!

 

Check back periodically cause I may add to this list.  If you have a crucial piece of awesomeness that YOU feel helps you organize your homeschooling, TELL ME ABOUT IT!  I'd love to hear from you!  If you are particularly crazy with your color-coordination too, TELL ME ABOUT IT!  I'd love to feel better about my own brand of crazy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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