So, you’ve decided you’re going to homeschool this year. Congratulations on making the first step toward a lifetime journey! You’ve narrowed down your curriculum choices—maybe you’ve even made purchases—and you’ve been burrowing your boxes of supplies in the corner of the dining room. That way it’s out of the way and no one trips over it. It then dawns on you that you can’t possibly keep them there. After all, how will anyone access anything daily and that stack can only hold so much more anyway. You’ve been on Pinterest and are growing jealous of the gorgeous in-home classrooms some people have. From spare bedrooms to gigantic basements, some people really have it made when it comes to setting up homeschooling spaces! But that’s not you. You barely had room to help your child do homework, let alone teach children. So how can you make this work?
If you aren’t one of the ones with an extra space just begging for you to decorate it with school-related materials, you’re certainly not alone. Remember, people usually put the best of the best on Pinterest, so don’t let the fact that you don’t have such a stunning space get you down. All you really need to organize your supplies is a good-sized bookshelf (to hold books, baskets, and maybe math manipulatives) and a firm surface for your kids to work. Many families use the dining table for homeschooling. Some clear the dining table at the end of the school day and some don’t. If you have a bookshelf, you can use the very top to store caddies of shared school supplies and give your kids small baskets for personal supplies. Or, they can store small supplies in a pencil pouch inside a binder.
As for organizing schoolwork and papers, many families find it helpful not to tear pages out but to instead keep them in the child’s schoolbook. For any loose papers, have a “homeschooling notebook” (a 2- to 3-inch binder with dividers for all subjects) instead of juggling a different binder for each subject. For several years, one family I know only had a homeschooling notebook/binder, a math spiral notebook to work out any problems, and a composition book for science labs.
Some math and science curriculum programs come with the notebooks required, so there is no need for an extra notebook. You can purchase products that use consumable notebooks to help cut down on the amount of loose papers your students have. Alternatively, you can use online homeschooling if space is seriously an issue. Time4Learning and Alpha Omega’s Monarch both offer excellent online homeschool programs. Your children will eventually have some things printed up with both programs but it’s going to be far fewer papers than if you were using a program with textbooks.
Whether you have a large space to homeschool or must make do with what you have, you can have a successful homeschooling year. Don’t pre-determine your success based on how much space you have (or don’t have). Get creative with what you do have, and maybe consider using an online homeschool program to alleviate the number of papers you’ll have.
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