Homeschool Organization Ideas ~ Part 2

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It’s a new year and many have organization on the brain. If you’re anything like me, you can always use some homeschool organization tips and ideas! While these are geared towards homeschoolers, most of these ideas will be great for anyone with kids!

This is the second post in our 2 part series,

you can see part 1 here!

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Below you will see how we organize our theme based printables, early childhood units, crayons and more! Developing good organizational habits has really helped keep our entire home cleaner and assists everyone with finding what they are looking for!

Organize Your Homeschool Part 2

Storing Theme Based Printables

Do you use theme based printables? Having a method of organizing is a MUST!  See what we did when my kids were younger here! Not using theme based learning in your homeschool for your young kids? See how we plan for a theme based unit here!

Storing Theme Based Early Childhood Printables

Prep for Preschool Units

A simple office paper organizer saved my sanity when prepping for preschool units, see all about how we used one here! Not sure what to do with your preschooler at home? See our post – Following the Lead of Your Young Child here!

Organizing Preschool Units

Bag the ABCs

Wondering why I bagged the ABCs? This post will share why! This bag method saved my sanity when we were doing letter units!

Letter Collection

Label All of the Supplies

However you choose to store your supplies, be sure you have them labeled so everyone {not just mom} can find them! Download our free school supply labels here!    school supply labels

Corral the Colors

Do you have loads of extra crayons, markers and colored pencils? Always missing a certain color? See the blog post this photo came from here. We use photo ledges from Ikea and the storage containers that fit on the ledge. I couldn’t find our exact containers online, they are similar to these, I found them in the kitchen section at the store.

Loose colors go in the little cups! This has saved so much sanity! My kids often have their own full set of markers/crayons/etc. but this is great for any loose finds and makes it easy if you are looking for a specific color you don’t have!

Homeschool-Room- Storing Crayons

Homeschool Room Ideas

I love peeking into other homes to see homeschool areas. Whether you have an entire homeschool room, or you school all over the home, being organized is key to sanity! Take a peek into our current schoolroom and our past schoolrooms below. Also take a peek into an awesome homeschool room from Homeschool Creations.    Homeschool Room 2015-2016

Homeschool Room Tour 2013    Homeschool Room

Homeschool-Room from Homeschool Creations

Here’s a quick recap of the ideas shared in this post:

Did you miss part 1?

See more Homeschool Organization Ideas here!

Organize Your Homeschool

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Homeschool Organization Ideas ~ Part 1

Homeschool Organization Ideas

It’s a new year and many have organization on the brain. If you’re anything like me, you can always use some homeschool organization tips and ideas! While these are geared towards homeschoolers, since this is a homeschool blog, most of these ideas will be great for anyone with kids! This is the first of a 2 part series for you, which will share our top ideas for homeschool organization!

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next post!

Subscribe to 1 1 1=1 Your Way

Below you will see how we organize our play dough supplies, our toys, our sensory bin supplies, our books and our office/school supplies! Developing good organizational habits has really helped keep our entire home cleaner and assists everyone with finding what they are looking for!

Organize Your Homeschool

Organize the Play Dough & Supplies

Have Play dough?  Need to organize the supplies?  Here’s the method we have used for years to keep our play dough supplies organized! This post also contains free printables for the box label and also an ABC play dough chart.

Busy Hands Play Dough Box

Simplify the Sensory Bin Supplies

In our Simple Sensory Bin Solutions you can see how we organize all of the STUFF associated with sensory bins.In this post you’ll see the items we use, how we store them, and ideas for sensory bins!

Simple Sensory Bin Collection

Tame the Toys

See how we organize and store toys in our house. Keeping them organized is key for my sanity and helps with toy rotation. Learn how to make custom labels for your toy bins and all about our favorite toy storage supplies!

Tame the Toys

Sort the Supplies

We have used this over the door shoe organizer to sort smaller supplies for many years.  This is such a great way to centralize the location of certain items for the entire family. See more about this tried and true supply organization method here.

organizing school and office supplies in an over the door shoe hanger

Color Code the Kids

Color coding kids is something we have done for years but don’t have as much of a need for it now that our kids are older.  Back in the younger kid days this was a much-loved method.

Color Coded Homeschool Supplies

      

Organize the Books

When my kids were younger and theme based books were used ALL the time, this method made my life so much easier. Inexpensive magazine holders, books sorted by theme, see more about it here!

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Stay tuned for part 2, filled with even more homeschool organization ideas!

Here’s a quick recap of the ideas shared in this post:

More ideas coming soon!

Homeschool Organization Ideas



Binding Digital Curriculum

One of my BEST homeschool purchases ever was the binding machine I bought last year. Yes, I have been homeschooling for over 10 years and I just broke down and bought a binding machine last year. I could kick myself for that. It has been a game changer for me and has really helped me organize and USE the digital curriculum I purchase for my kids!

Homeschool Mom Must Have Binding Machine

In the past I have used three ring binders but they just take up so much space. This is our first year using mostly bound workbooks that I have printed out myself and it has been great.

I HIGHLY recommend homeschool moms own three key products:

1 – HP Printer that is compatible with Instant Ink {or another cost-effective method to print full color at home for ease and simplicity.

2 – Laminating Machine – especially for the early childhood years!

3 – Binding Machine!!! This is a new must-have addition but one I wish knew years ago.

I thought I had to spend a ton of money to get a good binding machine, but I took a chance on a machine on Amazon that was less than $60 and a year later {and tons of bound books} it is still fabulous!

{if reading in email, you’ll need to click to the blog to be able to see the Amazon widgets}

This is the machine I bought:

I bought several sizes of binding combs and also clear sheets for the front and back of each book.

 

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My kids have loved their bound books, the fact that they can be folded over to write in is a favorite feature. They are also easier to carry around the house and take up less space.



Teaching Textbooks Math Checklists

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Each year I share our homeschool curriculum choices with you. It is almost time to do that again, as many of you are in planning mode – while also in finish-up-THIS-year mode!

For the past couple of years I have created checklists for my kids to help organize our homeschool year. These have saved me LOADS of sanity once the school year begins!

Teaching Textbooks Math Checklists (18 of 2)

I switch curriculum publishers sometimes, but there is one I am completely stuck on and that is Teaching Textbooks Math. I have not changed any of my kids away from TT since we started and have no plans to switch at all. We love TT. I was a TT user for years and then they became a blog sponsor. Now I get to provide you with fun reviews, giveaways, and exclusive content. Although this post has nothing to do with that – it’s just me, the homeschooling mom, sharing an organizational tool with you!  But stay tuned – a full review of the new ONLINE Teaching Textbooks 3.0 is coming very soon!

I bundled all of our match checklists together into one file for you! I don’t have one for Pre-Calculus, but I do for all of the other levels!

Here’s a peek into our notebooks this year, they are so helpful for my kids and for me! They {or I} record their grades daily so that we have a visual record off of the computer screen. It is nice for us to be able to see how far along we are and how much we have left to go!

Teaching Textbooks Math Checklists (17 of 2)

New to Teaching Textbooks? See our We Love Teaching Textbooks Math post here.

You can find a placement test online which I recommend having your child take before deciding on a level to begin with. Most kids will work a level above their grade. My 3rd grader does level 4, my 6th grader does level 7.

Teaching Textbooks Placement Tests

Download our Teaching Textbooks Math Checklists here!

Teaching Textbooks Math Checklists

Teaching Textbooks Checklists



Why We STILL Homeschool

Why We Still Homeschool Even After Life Changes



We have been homeschooling since my oldest son was in PreK.  In just a few weeks we will begin our 10th year with an 8th grader, 4th grader and 1st grader! For those of you who don’t know my background, it is important to know a few things about me before reading this.  I was a public school teacher and big believer in group education. I had always planned to send my children to public school and never dreamed of homeschooling until God made it clear to our family. I was never really for or against homeschooling, just didn’t have any thought about it at all.  I didn’t know any homeschoolers and certainly didn’t plan to be one. Funny how God works.

Years ago I shared a post called “Never Planned to Homeschool” which outlined our main reasons for choosing to homeschool.  If you jump over there and read that list, you’ll see that many of those reasons were specific to our season of life.  In the past year, our life has changed and our reasons for homeschooling are a bit different now.  Some are exactly the same, but a few are very different.

I wanted to share a bit of our reasons for choosing to homeschool still, even though our life circumstances have changed.

In the former list, our first 3 reasons were tied to where we lived, our missionary lifestyle and my husband’s work hours.  Those three things have all changed and when we moved we never considered NOT homeschooling and I bet many of you may wonder why. Actually some of you have emailed me to ask!  

Our Current Season of Life

Last winter we moved from the northeast, to the southeast.  We moved because of a calling my husband felt to further his education.  He is in seminary, getting his master’s degree in Christian counseling.  This is a minimum 3 year degree and the school he is attending is the main reason we moved.  We lead a very different lifestyle down here due to our move.  He is home most of the day, and homeschools the kids along with me.  I am the main teacher but there are a few subjects he leads for each of our children {which is nice!}.

We live near decent schools, both public and affordable private. We are also no longer living the busy and very full time missionary life. This is a huge change for us after over ten years.  We have no idea what God will bring after my husband finishes school, but for now we are here.

We now live in a location where the public schools are fine, we aren’t missionaries anymore, and my husband is a full time graduate student who is home most of the day {doing schoolwork}.  So why would we still homeschool if 3 out of our original 5 reasons are now nonexistent?  Obviously we have chosen to continue homeschooling, even after these major life changes.  Below you can read why!   

Why Still Homeschool?

We love the lifestyle!  Obviously, the discussion came back up again once we decided we were moving.  Not so much between us, but mostly from others asking us if we would still homeschool when we moved.  For us the answer was always yes, with no hesitation, at all. The core reason ~ we love the overall homeschooling lifestyle. It fits our family, fits our personalities, fits our goals as parents. There was no need to even consider changing when we were all happy. We all like the lower stress mornings, being together throughout the day, having freedom to adjust our school schedule, the list goes on and on.

Who is influencing our kids? We want to be the ones influencing our children on a daily basis for so many hours a day.  Back in my teaching days I knew many wonderful teachers, but I also knew many I would not want my children spending hours and hours per day with. We do not take the “shelter our kids” approach, but are thankful for the greater opportunity to better choose and have say in who is spending many influential hours per day with our children. This includes both adults and other children.  Our kids are very well “socialized” and I don’t believe the traditional group education even provides for the socialization necessary these days.  I am not saying group educated kids aren’t properly socialized, just saying that homeschooled kids {on average} aren’t different simply because of their educational lifestyle! It depends on individual circumstances and people, not a model of education. MANY people ask if we are concerned about socialization and the answer is not at all!

We have the ability to adapt to our children! This continues to be a driving reason for us. Our oldest child is a more traditional student and would probably do just fine in a group education model.  Our middle son and youngest daughter – not so much.  I wrote a post about our middle son, who is now 9, and if you glance at that post I bet you can conclude why he wouldn’t fit well in a group education model.  It has taken me years to adjust to his learning needs and it has been both a challenge and a joy.  He is a very intelligent child, but I have to meet him where he’s at, honor who he is, and how he learns. Having been a teacher, I know there are very few teachers who can do this, especially in a group setting.  The way our schools are run now, it is almost impossible for even the best teacher to truly adapt to the needs of each student. It breaks my heart to see so many fabulous kids falling through the cracks, even in the hands of excellent teachers – all because the system is flawed.  I am not saying I have the answers, just saying I don’t want my child to fall through those cracks.

Our children have a say and they all choose to be homeschooled!  Our oldest {currently 13} obviously has the strongest opinion and is the one we discuss options with the most.  This year we did intensely discuss his schooling options now that we have moved. For a slight moment he considered going to school, but that quickly changed.  Although we are the final decision makers, we do take into account the way each child feels and what would be best for each of them. We will continue to do this and trust that as God leads we will make decisions on a year by year, kid by kid basis. It is our plan to homeschool through the end for all three kids, but we have learned that God sometimes changes our great plans!

Competitive gymnastics and homeschooling are a great fit!  Our 9 year old is a competitive gymnast who is in love with the sport and has very high goals.  While this isn’t a driving reason for choosing to homeschool, homeschooling sure helps with this!  He is free to adjust his school schedule with us and get more hours in the gym without sacrificing family time or “be a kid” time. The fact that God led us on the homeschooling path before he led us down the gymnastics path has been a blessing.  Krash is now on a predominantly homeschooled team and it is such a gift.  We travel with him for a few months out of the year and homeschooling really helps with this also!

It just works for us and we like it! Did I mention we like it? We like the freedom to get up a bit later, spend loads of time together, travel during the off seasons, and take a break when we feel the need.  We like choosing curriculum for each of our children {see our 1st, 4th, and 8th grade choices}, adapting as the year goes along, and helping them when they need it.

It is NOT always easy and many days are a total struggle, but the big picture is good. I like these people. Even though they cause me the greatest stress most days, I want nothing more than to be with them as much as possible during these years. I used to think I could never homeschool {not patient enough, not educated enough, not “good” enough} and guess what? I am not enough of any of those things but GOD is enough!

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