Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 3

This post has some of my space saving ideas and such. If you are anything like me you like to peek into other peoples’ homeschool spaces.

This is my china hutch. I got it for a steal at the Salvation Army. It had some lovely china in it but I need the space for homeschool supplies. So I put the china away and lined the inside of the glass doors with some lovely gift wrap from Wal-Mart and voila, a great space for goodies.

You can see I keep a lot in here: my portable teacher’s desk, paper of all kinds, tempera paint and art supplies, page protectors and more. It’s not a big cabinet but it holds a lot out of sight.

This wall is our chalkboard wall. The whole wall was painted with homemade chalkboard paint that matches the decor.  I put our timeline along the top under the border and now we have a huge space for doing anything we need a chalkboard for. And when we need a map I just tape it up here. (We also make the wall magnetic wit paint but it’s not very strong and doesn’t usually hold up something that heavy.)

This cute little bird holds our chalk in a low spot so even my 4yo can reach it. (Both came from Target. Under $5 for both.)

These bookcases are in the living room. I want to paint them white but I am recovering from surgery so that project will have to wait. I organize books but subject: science, reference, etc and then history and literature I put in chronological order. I love this method because you can see the progression of both and it’s easy to find any book you need.

This little shoe shelf (closet organizer) from KMart is right by the front door. It holds all of our library books. I used to have a basket for this but the basket got torn up. This is working mush better for us and they are always right there when we need to take them back.

This butcher block on wheels (from Wal-Mart) is also in my dining area. It holds food in the baskets underneath but the top is an extra surface for projects. Both sides fold up to make a large surface for crafts, science experiments and more.

All of these things I had on hand. I am simply re-purposing what I already have to accommodate a homeschool space in our 1200 sq. ft. home filled with 6 people and lots of other stuff. I hope you are inspired to see how you can be a good steward of your finances and find a way to make do with what you have. Do you have a post on organizing homeschool? Leave a link in the comments!

Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 2

Okay here’s where I get a little more detailed on my BPA way of things. It’ll work for other approaches too but this is my take, at least for this year. 🙂 This post addresses filing and BPA stuff in general. You can see how this system folds all of life in together.

weekly folders.Okay this is the front of the weekly folder. It has the family weekly planner stapled to the front. This has my menu plan, activities and to do list. So handy!

inside file folder. Inside the folder you can see how it holds all our life: brochures, postcard reminders, recipes to try, school handouts, it’s all in this little folder. You can see life in context each week. This is more visual for me even than a planner list. I can see what all is going on this week and only this week–each little weekly capsule. Then of course all these activities go onto my monthly planner calendar I carry with me so I can see a month at a time.

In my files I keep a folder for Masters. When I have to make a copy from the NP lessons for a graphic organizer or some such thing I will probably use again I make a few extra copies and keep them here. Then I have extras for when I forget or when I might be low on printer ink. 🙂

Up front in the top drawer of my filing cabinet (I have four glorious drawers!) I have 7 folders, one for each principle. Into these I put clippings, printouts and more that help me illustrate these principles in every day life (especially to my middle and high schooler). it helps spark conversations and  bring these principles into the everyday. This is one of my favorite things!

Now that school is starting I have taken my homekeeping notebook out of my tote. It now holds a season of folders, my Noah Plan lessons for third grade (the spiral) and my school planner (the black binder). I use these beautiful planners from Home Educating Family Association and I have removed the spiral and put the pages in the notebook so I can add things as I need to in some file pockets and such.

I hope this is helpful to you! In the next installment I’ll show you my organizational tips. I love in a small home but we don’t do without in our homeschool just because we are short on space.

Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 1

Staying organized as a home educator isn’t easy. There are papers, plans and projects all over the house, and unlike a traditional classroom we can’t shut the door and go home. Options are everywhere online these days. A simple Google search can yield more ideas than you can shake an organizer at. This is my current system and I thought I ‘d share it in case it should fit your family in some way. Thanks to Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for all her posts on her File Crate System. I’ve tweaked it a bit for my needs but here goes.

Here is a peek inside my filing cabinet, which is in my dining area.

Each week has its own file folder.. The folders are grouped according to season as Dawn suggested.

You can see the circled numbers on the tabs. Those are the weeks for school. Each week is labeled according to what week of the school year it is. Inside each folder are the things I need for that week: printables, brochures, maps, etc all fit right into the folder. Because I use a curriculum this year that is all laid out for me I could make a list of all the materials I needed for each week and get organized before the start of the year. This makes things so much easier for me!

As the year goes on and I come across things for different topics I can just slip them into the file folders. The little sticky note is to list things that don’t fit: materials needed, web sites, etc. This folder also holds things I need/use everyday. [More on these details in the next post.]

I then have a portable file crate that I got at Target. This holds stuff I need at my fingertips.

In here I have a season of school file folders, my homekeeping notebook and my school planner. I also have a file for things that don’t fit anything in particular.

There are things like crafts and recipes to try, web site addresses and things we would like to get around to one day. This gets too full and I have to toss things sometimes and file other things.

As you will see in part 2, this helps organize my whole life and it shows how homeschool is integrated into all of living. In part 3 I’ll post some of my tips and tricks for getting organized. How do you organize your homeschool materials?

Portable teacher’s desk

These little craft caddies are so handy. Since we usually have school at the table and the desk is in the other room, I put together all the little things that I need through the day. Some things in this cute caddy:

  • glue sticks
  • stapler
  • 3 hole punch
  • reward stickers
  • E-Z grader & red pen
  • Dry Wipe markers, eraser & cleaner
  • Sticky notes
  • brads & paper clips
  • tape
  • hole reinforcements
  • scissors
  • small Bible

I also created a paper caddy with an accordion folder. In there I have all kinds of papers and handouts. It’s grab-and-go easy. These two little tools make homeschooling a little easier for us.

The most powerful creative tool

The most powerful tools you can have in your homeschool arsenal is–are you ready for this–a schedule. Many creative types see that word and run the other way. Before you write the idea off hear me out.

Why do I say a schedule is a tool? Because it gives you control of your time. Because it helps you. It helps you keep on task and lessens frustration. That’s one handy tool.

Why do I say it is powerful? Because it controls time. Well, your time anyway. It’s an amazing little tool with slots for all your tasks, big and small. A schedule seems to magically create time out of thin air, giving you time to create guilt free–time to think and explore and experiment.  And it can transform your day from chaos to calm and that is powerful.

Why do I say it is the most powerful? Because everything else rests on this. You don’t get enough rest without it. You don’t have all your supplies ready without it. You don’t have a clean workspace without it. You don’t have school without it.

A schedule is the single most important gift you can give your family. Maybe you call it a routine. Maybe yours is written or maybe it’s just in your head. However you do it, if you will commit to using a schedule you will see that your creative time is used more wisely, that you are more productive and less distracted when doing a creative project. Your materials and supplies will be ready. Your workspace will be ready. Your mind will be ready.

There are a thousand ways to do a schedule. Find one that works for your family and try it out for 6 weeks and see if I’m not right. See if you aren’t more creative and less stressed.

Happiest closet ever

If you are like me you are always looking to improve your storage situation. With all the papers and books and other supplies your home can turn into a classroom in a hurry! What about thinking outside the box closet?…

This is the cutest craft closet ever and it is filled with great ideas. Click on the picture to see the slide show at Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It’s worth the time to see how they thought of creative ways to use things like luggage tags and plate racks. 

I happen to love the  color scheme. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a space so bright and cheery to do your homeschool lessons? It would be hard to tear me away. And maybe it would help me stay caught up on my paperwork too. But the color scheme can be anything you like. If your family enjoys ocean blues or neutrals or graphic black and white, the space will still work just as well.

Have you put thought into how your homeschool space is put together? Not just the color, but the function of the space, the seating, the storage? I must admit that my homeschool space is less than inspiring but this little craft closet has awakened me to see the potential of that space. What can my homeschool space become, to facilitate learning and creativity?

If you are like me you are always looking to improve your storage situation. With all the papers and books and other supplies your home can turn into a classroom in a hurry! What about thinking outside the box closet?…

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This is the cutest craft closet ever and it is filled with great ideas. Click on the picture to see the slide show at Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It’s worth the time to see how they thought of creative ways to use things like luggage tags and plate racks. 

I happen to love the  color scheme. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a space so bright and cheery to do your homeschool lessons? It would be hard to tear me away. And maybe it would help me stay caught up on my paperwork too. But the color scheme can be anything you like. If your family enjoys ocean blues or neutrals or graphic black and white, the space will still work just as well.

If you have any storage solutions, questions, tips or even pictures of your HS space, please leave a comment.  Maybe you could post a picture of your problem and we can all offer solutions.

https://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/craft-room/innovative-craft-closet/

How to Set Up Your Home for Learning

My mom gave me lots of BPA material. I’m not sure exactly where these notes came from, but they were good so I thought I’d share them here. This is full of Biblical Principles, although I didn’t take time to note them here. Feel free to leave a comment and share your own study with us.

How to Set Up Your Home for Learning

  1. Attitude of approval–even when you correct, do it with approval.
  2. Kids learn best where there is a single authority figure. Bonding is necessary. If there is no bonding, no learning will take place. If the child is not convinced of a person’s authority, they will not learn from that person.
  3. Predictable environment. I believe that means to have a consistent schedule and place to work, whatever that means to your family.
  4. Freedom to explore and manipulate their environment. Involvement is necessary for self-motivated learning. Learning is “answered curiosity.” In the final analysis, all learning is self-motivated.
  5. Be careful to avoid over-stimulation, that is, too many things going on in the home while learning is taking place. It destroys the ability to concentrate and causes more mental confusion.
  6. Initiatives and acheivement should be stressed. The value of achievement should be emphasized.
  7. A clearly defined values system gives the child wisdom.
  8. Teach the value of learning through reading.
  9. Verbal exchanges between child and parent are important. Even a baby can remember words, they just can’t repeat them (subliminal learning).

According to the wisdom of Hebrew rabbis, the beginning of teaching a child is to study them for six months before you start.

The strong, structured family remains stable, no matter where you might move.