I'm standing in the middle of our homeschool closet staring at the accumulation of papers, art supplies, textbooks, pages ripped from workbooks, scraps of paper from unfinished craft projects, books with sticky covers from that time we did school during lunch, and what looks like a piece of dried-up orange peel. The school shelves are warped in the center from the weight of too much stuff. Manipulatives are intermixed, and I cannot find one single sharpened pencil.
Can you relate?
This time of year, when the semester is almost over and the newness has worn off of school, our homeschool closet looks like a tornado hit it. Nothing is organized, and it starts to show in our homeschool routine.
At the mid-year mark, my kids spend almost as much time finding their school books as they do actually completing assignments. You might hear me say,"We'll just do double of that tomorrow because we can't spend any more time looking for the book today." You will definitely hear me say, "How can you lose something you just had in your hand 20 seconds ago?"
3 Easy Ways to Reorganize at the Mid-year Mark
When the semester winds down, I always find we need a serious case of re-organization. Everything that was haphazardly stacked in the closet I mentioned above? It's currently sitting in my bedroom. A mad cleaning dash required me to move everything out of our homeschool room, and I have yet to put it back.
Our organization is a little crazy here right now. But this forced chaos has helped me reexamine what was and wasn't working in our old system. I've come up with a practical plan for reorganizing our homeschool room and you may find this works for you, too.
1. Complete a Mid-Year Purge
I don't know how we accumulate so many papers within a semester considering that we don't do that many worksheets. I'm using this time to throw away everything we don't need to keep for records including filled notebooks, old assignments (unless we are particularly proud of them), practice worksheets, completed textbooks, and books we are no longer reading. You can even take pictures of special projects and throw away the original.
This is also the perfect time to take a look at your curriculum. What did your kids love this semester and what did they hate? Do you need to spend more time on literature-based studies and less time on geography? Do your kids need extra math practice for next semester? Was there a textbook everyone hated? Get rid of it and start fresh.
2. Examine Your Patterns
At the start of this year, I had everything stacked on shelves except one cloth bin that Monkey used to transport her daily school books back and forth to the table. It turns out, the shelf system is a disaster for us, but the bin system works amazingly well. When I reorganize the closet, I'm putting everything on a bin-based shelf so that we can slide each individual bin on and off and eliminate most of our stacked disaster next semester.
3. Purchase the Right Organizational Tools
I knew I wanted to reorganize our supplies at the start of this school year, but I waited to see how we interacted with our supplies, and I'm glad I did. This year was the first year that Bo also had school supplies, and I needed time to see how we used our supplies before purchasing organizational tools.
I don't think it is a good idea to purchase organizational items before you know how you will interact with the space and tools. For example, if I had bought containers with lids, it would have been a waste of money. My kids like to be able to see inside each container and pull things out and put things away easily. They won't take the time to open a lid and would just stack items on top of each bin, making an even bigger mess.
Now I know that open-top storage cubbies are the way to go for us (at least for this year). I see the end of each semester as a sort of evaluation time and a period of re-grouping. I like to use this time to reorganize, solidify plans for the next semester, and get rid of anything that isn't working or adds chaos to our homeschool routine.
About the Author
Brenda is a professional writer and homeschooling mother to two girls in Dallas, TX, with a passion for books, DIY, and creative education. Her blog, Schooling a Monkey, is all about homeschooling, crafts, green living, and fun. Keep up with the fun here!