Ditch the Clutter! How to Organize Your Homeschool

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Many of us are winding down our school year (or are already on summer break) and hopefully feeling like we accomplished some of our goals for the year. Rarely do we accomplish everything we set out to do in a school year…and that’s okay. Making adjustments based on our changing circumstances is one of the advantages of homeschooling, in my opinion.

At the same time that we are winding up one school year, most of us are looking to the next school year and already making plans. If you’ve had trouble with keeping your homeschool organized, I hope this post helps you to get a head-start on next year and benefits you for years to come.

Taming the paper tiger – If you don’t already own a file cabinet I strongly urge you to make the investment, and I suggest a four-drawer file cabinet. This file cabinet won’t be just for your homeschool files, but for ALL your family’s paperwork. Being organized in every area can only help with your homeschooling.

In my four-drawer file cabinet I have two drawers for important family paperwork: bank statements, credit card statements, insurance documents, medical records and receipts, and tax paperwork – among other things.

I have another drawer that I use to store manuals and warranties for all of our home appliances, as well as some miscellaneous folders.

Finally, in my fourth drawer is where I keep homeschooling paperwork such as portfolio reviews, high school transcripts, scholarship information for my older kids, and more.

A file cabinet is a great investment that will help to keep you organized for years!

A place for everything – and everything in its place, as the saying goes. You need to have a designated location (or locations) for keeping the daily necessities of homeschooling life. When I first started homeschooling in 1990 a family member gave us some used furniture. One of those pieces was a three-drawer hutch with shelves on top. It must have been 50 years old, but I didn’t care! It was perfect for holding all our homeschool supplies: books, paper, craft supplies…you name it. We did our homeschooling at our little dining room table.

Over the years I’ve made a point to have a homeschooling room in the houses we lived in: once it was a fourth bedroom that was tiny, but perfect for homeschooling my kids. I also once converted a formal dining room into a schoolroom. In the house we built 18 years ago, that we still live in, we designed it to have a large schoolroom/family room. These days, since I only have one child homeschooling, it serves more as a family room, but it’s still were I store all our homeschooling books and supplies.

Baskets and bins – If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to purchase a variety of plastic baskets and bins to keep homeschooling materials organized. For instance, I use beach buckets to hold crayons and markers. I’ve used paper trays to hold (what else?) paper. I have small baskets holding pencils, including colored pencils. Our homeschool/family room is also filled with shelves upon shelves of Legos! I recommend using plastic storage for everything in the house that you want to keep corralled.

Portfolios – Keeping up with your child’s schoolwork will be much easier if you put it away every day. Start putting this off and before long you will have piles of paper and it will be much harder to keep track of, especially if you have to report to school authorities. I used to keep my children’s paperwork in notebooks divided by quarters. With my youngest I divide his work into two semesters so that I have two notebooks worth of material to show his evaluator each year. Keeping up with putting away paperwork every day overall makes my life much easier.

General Organization – If you don’t already, do take some time to organize your school books by subject, year, etc. I have historical books (including biographies) on one shelf. Another shelf holds all our math books, and so on.

Again, take the time to organize your schoolroom this year. Whether you have a dedicated school room or you use your kitchen table to do school, you need to make room in your home for your homeschool supplies, and it’s not that hard to do…it just takes a little time and forethought.

I hope this next year finds you organized and looking forward to another year of making wonderful homeschooling memories.