Last week I talked about our home schooling system and listed off some of our favorite and most effective resources. While a great deal of our home schooling occurs on my phone or the tablet, we also burn through workbooks, activity sheets and print a ton of things during the week. So how do I organize all of this without allowing it to over take our home? Let me show you!!
We buy random preschool activity books when we're out and about all the time. Aldi had the best one, so far. It's massive! We've had it for about 3 months now and it's still going strong. I have also occasionally picked one up at the dollar store or grocery store. You can find them pretty much anywhere and they are really handy for teaching writing skills.
My favorites, though, are probably the ones I print off, at random, from sites online. Education.com has some great ones, plus when you sign up for a free membership, they'll send you and entire workbook via email. You will have to print it yourself, but I prefer that because it means I can redo the same pages as many times as we need. For example, Connor struggles with writing W's. I have no idea why, but I know that so I can re-print the W page over and over to help him improve.
I also tend to just google random things to print off worksheets and keep the variety in our lives.
All of that being said, you can imagine we have a great deal of paper floating around our house. I found a partially colored picture of Blaze jammed under a couch cushion just yesterday. It's a little ridiculous.
Along with all of these fancy random sheets of paper, we have flash cards for colors, shapes, and letters, plus all the supplies that one might need for coloring, writing, and tracing: dozens of crayons, markers, pencils, color pencils, some erasers, glue sticks, kiddie scissors, Elmer's glue, stickers, and God knows what else. These things need somewhere to be stored and organized in a way that doesn't drive me absolutely insane.
That's when things like these come in handy:
We have all of these items, or variations thereof, in our home to help keep our homeschooling organized and clean. Our table and chairs is actually Cars themed. It was a gift from my husband's grandma and I have no idea where she got it from. This Mickey chair and table set would go over really well at our house too.
I like having a kid-size table and chairs for their paper activities. It feels more kid centered if it's kid-sized. They know where we keep the supplies, which drawer in the tall, multi-colored storage unit has crayons and markers, which one has workbooks, and which one has blank pieces of paper to draw and color on. They (although this is all mostly Connor at this stage, Kylar is still a bit young) can grab whatever they need and take it to their table to work. Our table and chairs are in the office, so they get to work while I'm working and we're still hanging out together.
Their favorite is when I let them pick things to print from Nick Jr or Education.com, and then they get to grab it off the printer themselves! They get so excited when the printer spits out something just for them. Silly boys.
We like to keep our legos in the big bins of the multi-colored shelving unit. In case you missed this post, legos are a great addition to your homeschooling supplies. I'm a little particular about organizing things, so when I help them clean up, we separate the Duplo Legos and the traditional Legos. I think it makes it easier to find what you're looking for and it keeps the boys the from fighting over who gets what. They each get a bin and that's that! We also have a separate bin for Hot Wheels cars, another bin for all the other cars, one for superheroes, one with all the wooden train tracks and trains, and the rest are miscellaneous.
We keep this organizer upstairs, in the toy room. For the most part, these toys are all "upstairs toys" aka: mom doesn't want to deal with possibly stepping on them or listening to you fight about who got which one first. Every now and then, we'll bring a whole bin downstairs to play, but all the contents will go back in the bin and the bin will go back in the toy room before the boys go to sleep.
It might sound like I'm some sort of clean freak, but if you've seen any candid pictures or videos of my home, you know that's a lie. I do like to make sure things go back where they belong, for my own sanity. That way when someone says "where's *insert lost item*?" I can say, with near certainty, where it is because I watched it get put away properly. I don't know how long this will last, because I'm sure they won't clean and organize they way I think they should forever, but it works really well for now.
As Connor gets older, our home schooling system will evolve and grow with him. As of right now (June 2018), we are planning to enroll Connor into public school in the fall of 2019. I'm still not sure I like that idea, but private school is far too expensive, and I'm not confident in my home schooling skills.
If you have any favorite home school resources, especially if you're in Texas, please comment with them below! I'd love to get more ideas and grow my confidence so I can home school our boys long term. There are so many scary things going on in and around public schools. I'm just not convinced that's the route we should take.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community