When you live in a small home and want to homeschool without a dedicated homeschool room, you need organizing tips.
Today, I will take you on a short tour of our small(ish) home and show you how I attempt to organize our homeschool without a specific room for homeschooling. It is not always easy, but after ten years in this house, I think I have finally found the best way to successfully homeschool four children while staying organized.
Organizing Homeschool without a Schoolroom
Let me give you my best tip first: Have one dedicated space for most (if not all) of you homeschool curriculum and manipulatives.
I don’t know exactly how it happens but homeschool stuff seems to travel around my home. I used to find homeschool manipulatives and curriculum in bedrooms, bathrooms, the attic, in closets… And I was buying duplicates because I could not find what I needed WHEN I needed it.
So, I pulled all of our bookcases to the living room and made a wall dedicated to homeschool.
On one side of the room, tucked between the bookcases and the side of our couch, I set up a preschool corner. The cubbies house educational toys to keep Ariary busy when she is finished with her work folder.
In the next bookcase, I organized our language arts curriculum, including grammar manipulative, magnetic letters, and Magnetic Poetry. Below those shelves, I placed an assortment of logic-based games that the children can play while waiting for a turn at the computer.
On the other side, the tall bookcase keeps our science books and supplies on the top shelf. I love using the dark willow baskets to hide the magnifying glasses, skeleton pieces, and more.
Below science, I have a shelf with some of our math manipulative but the items we use most go on the computer desk (info below). Then, I place our seasonal reading books grouped by skill so the children can easily locate books on their reading level.
The smaller bookcase in the corner is reserved for history and geography books and games, Bibles, biblical movies, and Bible study materials, and construction toys.
Some things like our All About Reading curriculum are too wide to place on a bookcase but flat enough to go into our (rugged, old but much loved) coffee table. Having the All About Reading materials here is so convenient because I can sit on the couch with the kids and my resources are right at my feet.
Honestly, we used to slide these under the couch but it was getting so dusty. (If you thought I was an excellent homemaker, think again!)
Directly across the room is our computer desk. While we have a desktop, we also use a laptop to have two computers available since we use so much computer-based curriculum. I love that I can have one child at the desktop and place another at the dining table. They wear headphones to avoid being distracted from one another.
On the desk’s shelves, I placed the math manipulatives we use the most in clear jars leftover from pasta, pickles, and random gifts. Why buy what you can reuse?
The final stop of my “homeschool without a schoolroom tour” takes a turn to the left of the computer desk where we have our dining table and kitchen. Beside the table, I have an antique hutch and pack the drawers with art supplies.
To the left of the hutch you will see my crates for daily homeschool lesson plans for the year as well as our bags, packed and ready for co-op on Tuesdays.
We no longer have the craft cabinet or hall closet full of games since I needed to return these to their original uses as we market our home for sale. We do have a few items on shelves in the laundry room so I can change out the preschool corner when Ariary gets bored from time to time, but the children are not allowed to take anything related to homeschool to their rooms, unless they are taking a book and escaping for a quiet place to read.
More Organizing Tips for Homeschool
- One of the best ways I can keep our homeschool organized despite living in a small home is to use a lot of digital homeschool curriculum. By focusing on filling brains and not bookcases, I can collect delight-directed homeschool curriculum without unnecessary clutter.
- Deborah, a long-time reader and follower on Facebook shared what her family did one year: “Each child had a medium-sized tub which fit all of their school supplies, including folders, notebooks, even some of their small school books. Markers, pens, crayons, rulers, etc. When it was school time they just went and got their box. A few of their books were too large and had too be put on the shelf, but it kept everything together, and took up a lot less space.”
- We used to use a craft cabinet and the coat closet in the hallway to organize homeschool games and manipulatives. Truly, it was a great solution until we needed to place a bunch of stuff in storage to list our home.
- On the Facebook page, Sarah reminded us, “Truly consider need versus want.” I totally agree with this especially if your budget (and space) is tight!
- If you want to put everything in a closet, visit The Intentional Mom for great ideas on organizing homeschool supplies in one closet for five kids.
- Betty at Peace on the Prairie organizes homeschool supplies with over-the-door closet hangers. I love these ideas because the space on the back of the door is just waiting to help you with no real purpose. Put it to work!
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Have a great way to organize your homeschool stuff without a homeschool room? We would love to know! Please share your ideas and tips in the comments.