Combatting Homeschooling Havoc for Your Home
Homeschool clutter. It’s been an ongoing battle at our home. The endless piles of curriculum. Completed art projects. Abandoned science experiments (at times in scary stages!) Files of assignments. STACKS of papers – everywhere.
Pencils and crayons apparently have a secret life of their own. We truly do have a box they are meant to be in… vs. in and under our couch, in my bed, the car… *sigh*
Seriously, we’ve been at this for many years now. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is we’re not limited to having everyone seated at a table or desk to learn. Certainly there are times when we are gathered around the kitchen table. There are also times when we’re on the couch or floor; or kids are in their bedroom or snuggled on mine. There are days when learning takes place in the car… or, on a beautiful day – on a blanket outside.
Rather than allow for a hostile (clutter) takeover, I had to find a way to reign it all in. This was especially true while living in base housing! Storage is at a premium to begin with!
We have developed our personal plan to combat homeschool clutter – which for the most part is working surprisingly well!
We purchased a large ‘cubby’ bookcase from Sam’s Club. (You can get a smaller version to fit your family size.) We wanted one which would have the bigger, sturdy storage cubes to hold up to daily use of being dragged in and out. We allowed each kid to decorate their own cubby with paints, stickers, googly-eyes, etc. This allows us to have a storage space dedicate for each to place curriculum, Kindles (online learning/fun), and library books they aren’t actively reading. The extra cubbies serve to hold the art supplies, science stuff and miscellaneous.
Once a day:
Tidy up. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt for their books, missing crayons, pencils, notebooks and whatever else was used in the day. It isn’t perfect but typically most items make it back to their cubby home.
Once a week:
Pare down paperwork. Choose a few items for portfolio (if required) and scan anything of importance, backing up on either a Dropbox or Google Drive. DISCARD the rest!
Once a month:
Check in on curriculum and other homeschooling resources. Are there items you’re not using or simply aren’t a good fit? Since I’m an admitted book hoarder – I have to do this part in increments. You may be better at parting ways. For those like me, move the unused curriculum or homeschooling items into a Sale / Donate box.
At the end of each semester (or a mid-break):
Time to go back through the Sale/Donate box. Make a decision. (Sings ‘should it stay or should it go now’!?) Unless you are holding on to an item you’re certain you’ll use in the next year, then it is time to part ways. FOLLOW THROUGH!!
This is also a good time to sift back through paperwork. Are you sure you need to keep everything?
End of school year or grade level:
Review remaining curriculum. Are you passing anything down to another kid? Consumables can be discarded. Other items – place in the Sale/Donate box with your firm decision made! (Sell or donate online or at a local used curriculum swap!)
Finally, we became much more selective in homeschooling resources we bring into our home to begin with! To further maximize space (and time), we’ve chosen to move to more online curriculum — freeing up storage for those extras we wish to explore in art, music, science, etc.
Alas – I still have not discovered how the pencils and crayons make their escape! Next year!
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