By Romona Weston
1. Choose your classroom wisely
Before you even start to think about where all the school materials are going to go, you will need to think carefully about which room/s are going to be used for schooling. Some homeschoolers opt for the dining room but if you entertain regularly there, you may decide to opt for a spare bedroom, or even the kitchen, instead. Discuss the arrangements with everyone who is likely to be affected to avoid resentment or quarrels at a later stage. It is often useful to keep administrative materials (lesson plans, correspondence, admissions paperwork, etc.) separate from your working classroom, for example in your bedroom or a home office.
2. It takes time to make time
You wouldn’t rush into a lesson without planning it beforehand and it is equally important to plan your organizational systems well before the school term begins. Before you start your first lessons, ensure your children know where their learning materials are and what they are expected to do with them after lesson time. This not only keeps your learning area organized and efficient, it also teaches your children valuable organizational skills.
3. Keep everything you need on hand
When designing your organizational system, bear in mind how frequently you will need to access certain materials. There is nothing more inefficient than having to continually leave the lesson room to search for a textbook or worksheet. Your children’s learning time is precious so you will want to make the most out of every minute.
4. Accept some clutter
When was the last time you went in to a formal classroom, particularly an elementary school classroom? They are hardly the picture of stuffy orderliness. Accepting a modicum of chaos can help you and your children settle in to the homeschool lifestyle. If your child sees that you are relaxed about your learning environment, they are likely to settle down quickly.
5. Be creative with containers
Experienced homeschoolers have often become experts in finding and adapting all sorts of storage containers for use in their classroom. Dishpans are far more child-friendly than shelves for little children, and can be used as makeshift flip-through libraries. Fold-away canvas shelving or collapsible fabric boxes within inexpensive MDF shelf units can store plenty of hard-backed textbooks, hanging folders can accommodate worksheets and art-work and resealable sandwich bags can be perfect for storing loose materials. Look at how you might adapt existing furniture; for example rolling kitchen carts on wheels could be used for book storage or as a craft center. These portable kitchen islands carts are so useful, because you can store them where you want and just roll them anywhere as the need arises. Then, use their locking casters to keep these stationary kitchen islands carts from moving.
6. Give each child their own box
For current work, try to allocate a box (or crate) per child. Teach them how to arrange their own materials inside the box and allow them to customize it. This will encourage independence and teach them to take ownership of their possessions.
7. Balance fun and functionality
You probably don’t want the classroom to dominate the house but at the same time it can be uninspiring if your learning environment is reduced to shelves upon shelves of textbooks. Put up some posters on a notice-board and place your children’s work on display. By striking a balance between creativity and practicality, your classroom can be both organized and stimulating.
8. Prune regularly
A homeschool is probably the least appropriate place to be a packrat. The school year moves quickly and your classroom can soon become awash with paper if you don’t get rid of what’s no longer needed. Likewise, ensure that the most current textbooks are easily retrievable and move the less relevant ones to another area or room. Just take care with official paperwork; some may need to be kept for a number of years before you can shred it.
9. Get a chalkboard or whiteboard
Whether you opt for the traditional chalkboard or a wipe-free whiteboard with non-permanent markers, it is useful to have some way of displaying information, diagrams and problems without having to pore over a textbook. An overhead projector or large computer monitor may be a practical alternative for some families.
10. Choose a labeling system – and stick to it
There are different ways of labeling materials, colour-coding being one of the most widespread. You might decide to use different colours for each school subject or to give each child a colour and use an alpha-numeric system to identify subjects. Whatever labeling system you settle on, ensure that your children understand it and that you use it consistently. Though these are not exhaustive tips, if you choose any, it will contribute to a more organized and less frazzled homeschool. Enjoy teaching and learning in your school, today!
Romona Weston is a Web Publisher who writes about various subjects. She writes about every sort of Kitchen Islands Carts but as a researcher rather than a seller, presents an unbiased view of products. Explore her reviews at www.kitchencarts360.com. If you are a retailer or manufacturer and would like her to review your product you can contact her via her website.
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