As I looked around my homeschool space I saw books, pencils, crayons, projects that we were working on and of course my children ;) I also saw garbage, empty glue sticks, craft supplies, and clutter strewn throughout the room.
It was a tad bit overwhelming!
If I had to guess, your homeschool space is similar. Homeschooling requires material. It requires space. It requires items that will ultimately lead to clutter……
So, how do you tame the clutter and keep it from taking over your homeschool space? You must get organized!
Have a Space for Everything
This has been a huge help in our quest for homeschool organization. All of our teacher manuals go in one spot. Non-fiction books? They have their own shelf. Same goes for library books and fiction books. I also give each of our children a shelf for their school items. Homeschool books and school supplies are the only things that are allowed on their school shelf. This keeps everything they need for school in one place.
Clean Up and Throw it away!
Those empty glue sticks? Paper left over from art day? Toss it! This needs to happen each and every day. At the end of your day go in and look around your homeschool space. What can be tossed? What needs to be straightened up? Having a clean and ready space to homeschool in each day is important both for you and your kids.
Encourage and Reprimand
Once your children are a certain age they should be doing this each day as well. Remind them to put their school items up each day. If they have an art mess, they need to be responsible for cleaning it up. Encourage them to take responsibilities for their homeschool space NOW. This will help them as they get older.
If your child does not straighten up their space and clear the clutter there needs to be a punishment. What this is will vary from family to family. For my kids, if they have an art project out and do not clean it up afterward they don’t get to do an art project for a set number of days. If they lose a piece of paper that is important they have to redo the project. Same goes for losing scissors, rulers, etc (they must repurchase or find the missing item).
Why Keep It?
As parents we are of course VERY proud of our kid’s accomplishments, but why do we need to keep EVERYTHING that they work on? We don’t!
When your child’s homeschool paperwork goes through you, determine what needs to be kept, and what doesn’t. Things like tests, quizzes, and reports may be best to keep. Every time they wrote their name….not so much. Keep what’s important and toss the rest!
Encourage your kids to do this with their homeschool projects. Let them decide what they want to keep and what they want to toss. Consider purchasing a tote, or binder just for items they want to keep. Once it’s full, it’s full and they can decide what to take out to make room for more items. Also, digital memories may work for the kids! Take pictures of their projects and print them off. My kids keep their favorites in their homeschool portfolio or on a cork board in their room.
Taming the homeschool clutter can be a full-time job. BUT it is important to get the kids involved and teach them NOW to be responsible for their space, their clutter, and their items. This is a key step in taming the homeschool clutter now and each and every day here on out.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.