Homeschool Organizing

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool1

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Links to the rest of the series: 5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Day 5: Utilizing Technology & Making Room For Fun

Different ways you can use technology in your homeschool. Creative ideas to bring more FUN to your day.

Utilizing Technology

There are so many ways that you can weave technology into your homeschool day.

Computer Station

At our computer station the kids can:


On the iPad the kids can:

  • transition to the next activity
  • play an educational game
  • access the internet

DVD Player

With our DVD player the kids can:

Portable DVD Player

With their portable DVD players, the kids can:

  • have some transition time
  • enjoy some quiet time
  • watch educational videos

Digital Camera

With my digital camera the kids can

  • record the things we do from their perspective
  • have a record of their memories
  • take pictures for their blogs
  • tell a story with stop motion animation


With our Xbox the kids can:

  • transition to the next subject
  • burn off some energy
  • do PE inside when it is raining
  • enjoy music
  • watch educational videos


With our television the kids can:

  • watch educational channels (like National Geographic, History Channel, etc)
  • enjoy some family time

Airport Express

With the Airport Express the kids can:

  • play music or audio books to any room in the house by attaching speakers

USB Flash Drive

With USB Flash Drive the kids can:

  • load their music to play on the XBOX
  • transfer documents between devices

Making Room For Fun

Our theme for this year is to have more fun WHILE we are learning new things. Here are just a few of the ways that I hope to accomplish that:

  • focus on their learning styles
  • follow their interests
  • find out what make each child tick
  • use manipulatives wherever possible
  • do more science experiments
  • get outside more and see God’s world
  • do hands on activities wherever and whenever possible
  • get messy and make art masterpieces
  • have music fill our days
  • get in the kitchen and make some yummy goodies
  • learn that hard work can also be fun
  • find learning experiences around every corner

This post is part of 5 Days Of Mothering And Homemaking brought to you by

mothering and homemaking

Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool2

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Links to the rest of the series: 5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Day 4: Planning My Year

Finding your families natural rhythm. Schooling year round. Planning the year, breaks and all.  Scheduling planning time. And more…

Finding Your Families Natural Rhythm

It took us a long time to find a rhythm for our family. We do our formal studies Monday to Wednesday. On Thursdays and Fridays, we watch educational videos and do other educational activities.

This works for our family because some of our kids help at a community dinner on Thursdays (so they are gone all day) and every other Friday we have our OT and support teacher visiting us (so we can’t plan anything regular).

Schooling Year Round

We have been schooling year round since the beginning. This last year, was the first year, we actually took a summer break and it messed us up. The year just didn’t feel right.

  • Do you school year round?
  • Do you take your breaks when dad is home or the weather is too hot?
This is our plan for 2012-2013:
Summer Break: June 16 – July 2
1st Semester:  July 2 – November 16
Winter Break: November 17 – January 6
2nd Semester: January 7 – March 15
Spring Break: March 16 – March 31
3rd Semester: April 1 –  June 14
Every year around November portfolio, we all crash. The weather changes. We just need change. So, we are changing things up this year. We are moving our long break (from summer time) to the Christmas holidays. This will give us time to bake, be crafty, and just relax with family.

Planning The Year

This is my curriculum planning page for 2012-2013.

Every year, I start by gathering links to EVERYTHING that I WANT. Then as I get farther in my planning and fleshing out the year, some of those things get moved to the following year’s list, and others get dumped completely. I have not ordered yet. I am not too worried though, we have enough materials in the house to keep us going until we get our supplies.

Jimmie shares how she does her semester planning for her homeschool.

I love the ideas that Maureen, from Spell Outloud, shares about homeschool planning.

Scheduling Planning Time

When you live in a big family, life is crazy busy just about all the time, even when you try to keep things relaxed and low key.

I have to tell you, that I have never completely planned out my whole year because our life is much too unpredictable and we need a certain level of flexibility. I am realizing though, as I head into my 7th year of homeschooling, that I can do a certain amount of goal setting and planning and still leave room for flexibility.

I love what Amy at Raising Arrows has to say about Making Plans and A Daily Schedule Or Routine in these two posts. I love the piece about herding cats – that is so true. Don’t know what I am talking about, read those posts.

Homeschool Planning Notebook

Jimmie from Jimmie’s Collage shares about her Homeschool Planning Notebook and how she uses it.

I need to create a new Homeschool Planning Notebook based on my goals for how I want this year to run. I will be looking at planners or creating one to suit our needs in the very near future.

Check out my very long list of planners (free and paid) in this post about Planning Your Homeschool Day.

Where I Am At In My Planning

  1. I know what I want to order and use for just about all of my subjects. Yippee.
  2. I still need to figure out something for Elisha to read.
  3. I need to figure out preschool materials for the twins.
  4. I need to decide where I am going to order all of my materials from.
  5. I need to actually order.
  6. I need to create a rough plan for the year (by weeks) based on our yearly schedule outlined above.
  7. I still need to decide how we are going to incorporate technology and fun into our homeschool this year.

Guess what? We are covering #7 tomorrow. You will have to come back and read all about it.

This post is part of 5 Days Of Mothering And Homemaking brought to you by

mothering and homemaking

Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool3

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Links to the rest of the series: 5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Day 3: Where Do I Store Everything?

Note: This post is long today, but it is full of yummy links at the bottom. 

One of my main reasons for wanting to do this 5 day series on organizing my homeschool, is not because I had it together and wanted to share my knowledge with you, but rather that I needed something to push me to accomplish my goals of completing the task of organizing my homeschool and getting it ready for next year.

Please know that I struggle with keeping on top of my materials and finding places for all of them (and getting rid of them). If it was just me and 5 different kids didn’t walk away with all of our books and leave them in different places and those same 5 kids put everything back where it belonged, I might be a bit more organized.

I have also learned that I am a visual person. That means that if something isn’t in front of my face, I forget that it exists. Honestly. How can I put everything right in front of my face without it looking like a cluttered, jumbled mess?

Help, I have a small house. Where do I put everything?

Our homeschool room is also our living room, our dining room, our family room, our playroom, and our office. Seriously, it isn’t big enough for all that it needs to do and be, but we are working with the space that we have. You do what you have to do.

If you figure out where you are going to put what you already have and how you are going to use it, it makes it that much easier to decide what things you still need to make, gather, or purchase.

Let me just say, here and now, that I really under estimated the amount of time this project was going to take. I have made no where near the amount of progress that I wanted to. Sadly. So, this post is the not the post I had in my head, but it is what it is.

Here is what we have done so far to get organized: 

1.) We brought up all the boxes of homeschool materials up from the basement and we sorted through them. We have been just shoving our materials into boxes and putting it in the basement for the past 6+ years. We have pulled up and gone through most of the boxes in the basement now. I say most, because I am not 100% sure that we have gone through every box. We ran out of time today, but we will be back at it again tomorrow.

2.) We went through all the books on the upstairs bookshelf. We converted this shelf to be only novels and readers for the big kids. That way the twins have no reason (at all) to touch this shelf.

3.) We sent 3 boxes of homeschool materials to my sister. Don’t worry, I am not pawning my junk on her. She did ask for these particular items.

4.) We sent 7+ boxes of homeschool materials to the thrift store. We also sent a garbage bag full of baby clothes.

5.) We created a reading nook in the living room for the twins (and anyone else who wants to lounge and read). We filled the bookshelf and two crates.

6.) We created a bucket for Christmas and Easter books and supplies. I have all these fun materials and activities, but I can never find them when I need them. Now they have their own home.

7. ) We created an easy reader bucket for Malachi and made it readily accessible, so now I am not gathering materials from all over the house, but we can get right to work with every spare moment we have.

8. ) We gathered all of our books and units about Canada and put them into one box. Now that I know what we have, I can plan more accordingly. I want to do the same thing with out Native books.

9.) We gathered all of my mama books and put them on their own shelving unit.

10.) We did put a few boxes of books back in the basement to keep for the twins or for studies we are not doing this year, but will be in upcoming years – like astronomy, animals, inventors, etc.

11.) We gathered all of the gardening and plant unit books into a basket and put it on top of the reading nook.

12.) We put all the books together, by subject, on their own shelves in our main curriculum cupboard. We have grouped by Bible, History, Science, Math, Language Arts & French, and Fine Arts.

13.) We organized all the audio and music CD’s, all the  DVD’s, and all the CD and DVD softwares.

Here is what is still on my list of things to do:

  • make sure we have gone through all the boxes in the basement (My husband is going to love this one. (Insert cheeky grin.)
  • organize all 4 giant learning cupboards (2 in living room, 2 in kitchen)
  • organize hutch
  • organize additional games in basement
  • clear off the tops of all the cabinets and use the space effectively (maybe for games?)

Here are the learning areas we have been using or are setting up in the house:

Please Note: I apologize for the lack of photos. We have been working really hard to organize and I have not had the chance finish taking all the pictures yet. They will be coming soon. I put the notes to remind me what I was going to share and I will come back and insert the photos (hopefully before the end of this series). 

1. New And Improved Workboxes

old workboxes

We had been using a shelf with labelled crates for the kids materials.

{photo coming soon}

But all of the kids want to go back to work boxes with magazine holders, so we will be doing that as soon as mommy figures out where they will live. I have two ideas on where these are going to live, but I am not sure 100%.

2. Reading Nook

reading nook

We used to keep all the general reading books and picture books upstairs in the hall, but this led to a nasty mess with the twins pulling the books off the shelf. The picture books are now settling in nicely to their new home on the reading nook in the living room. I am really happy with the reading nook. We out grew the reading nook and there are already two crates on the floor beside the shelf.

Since the image was taken, I have added a photo box full of cd’s and software, and my basket of gardening and plant related books to the top of the shelf.

3. Upstairs Reading Shelves

upstairs shelf

The upstairs reading shelves hold novels for the big kids to read. They are now officially off limits to the twins.

I am thinking the twins will get fabric covered crates filled with books to put in their bedrooms for books. Right now the plain plastic crates are in the livingroom. Even if I didn’t put crates in their bedrooms, I could still do something similar to either of these links below. I have a sewing machine that I got for my birthday (last year) that I need to open and learn how to use.

4. Main Supply Cupboard

{photo coming soon}

The main supply cupboard is in the living room and will contains our basic supplies like pens, papers, etc. This cupboard is still a work in progress and it looks like it might also house fine art supplies, phonics, and spelling.

Basic Supplies List (link to basic supplies list coming soon)

5. Main Curriculum Cupboard


The main curriculum cupboard is also in our living room and contains all of our day to day curriculum. We made great progress on this cupboard.

Basic Reference List (link to basic reference list coming soon)

6. Games Cupboard

{photo coming soon}

The games cupboard holds all of our favorite family fun and educational games and lives in the kitchen. Since I want to put more FUN in our school for this coming year, I am really excited about having all of our favorite games right at our finger tips.  This cupboard is a work in progress.

7. Special Needs, Science, and Math Supplies

{photo coming soon}

Our special needs cupboard holds all of our special supplies. Fine motor, sensory, autism supports, visual schedule supplies, resource books, activities to do with our OT. This cupboard will also house our science and math supplies. I have gathered all of our random science experiment bits and pieces into one large bucket. I am hoping it helps when we are planning experiments. This cupboard will also house all of our math manipulatives and supplies. This cupboard is a work in progress.

8. Nana’s Hutch

{photo coming soon}

It has been a very long time since I looked inside the hutch. It currently holds books and odds and ends. I want to make it more functional. I have decided to stash all my arts and crafts supplies in the hutch. This is a big job and I not sure exactly when it will be finished.

9. Mama’s Bookshelf

Mama Shelves

My bookshelf is full of excellent books that I want to read. Books that I have read. And books that I need to reference to often. This shelf is pretty much finished and very full. There are still some random books from around the house and in my bedroom that could find their homes on this shelf.

10. Basement Storage of Books

{photo coming soon}

The books that we are not using are stored in boxes in the basement. I have found that our diaper boxes are great storage boxes and with twins we have tons of those kicking around.

11. Basement storage of games and additional supplies

{photo coming soon}

All of the games that don’t fit upstairs in our main games cupboard live in the basement in another cabinet. I need to sort out some kind of rotation system so that we get to play all of our games more frequently.

Some Resources 

Organizing For A Fun Homeschool

Organizing For A Fun Homeschool is an awesome workshop by Susan Evans. It was worth the $14.95 that I paid for it. Next on my list to purchase from her site is a creative writing package.

Organize Your Homeschool eBook

Organize Your Homeschool is an eBook that I recently purchased from CurrClick. You can also get it here – Organize Your Homeschool –  for 4.95

Some Other Homeschool Rooms To Visit

Please Note: These links that follow go directly to posts (with pictures) about their homeschool rooms or other cool organizing ideas.

Other Resources

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has two collections of links to writings about Organizing Your Homeschool.

The Curriculum Choice has an excellent Homeschool Organization board on Pinterest that I highly recommend checking out.

This post is part of 5 Days Of Mothering And Homemaking brought to you by

mothering and homemaking

Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.

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