The Life of Jennifer Dawn: 5 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Homeschool for the Next School Year

Saturday, July 7, 2018

5 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Homeschool for the Next School Year

This post is sponsored by Glad® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Forget spring cleaning! As a busy homeschool mom, I find that summer is the perfect time to tackle deep cleaning tasks and to get the house back in tip-top shape. The area that always seems to need the most attention is our homeschool room which I've already been busily working on preparing for our next year of homeschooling! Here are five simple steps that I'm using to get our homeschool room ready for the next school year. Hopefully, these are steps that can help you as you plan and prepare for your next school year. Not a homeschool parent? These tips can be adapted to get almost any room in your home decluttered and organized to the max!
By the end of the school year, it feels like the homeschool stuff has ended up everywhere. Nothing is in its place. There's finished work on the kitchen table, books on the couch, and materials scattered across the house like a breadcrumb trail. I get it! Between co-op classes, dance lessons, soccer practices, school lessons, nature walks, outings, motherhood, and day-to-day responsibilities, there just never seems to be enough time. And the homeschool materials can get a little out of hand. Oh, and let's not forget the sheer amount of papers and books that can accumulate during this homeschool journey.

Shew! Is your head spinning yet? Because mine sure was! By the end of this last year, I felt like the school stuff was taking over. It was time to purge and get organized! With a more minimalistic approach in mind, I began the process of cleaning out the homeschool room. And I have to admit that I went from feeling burned out to inspired and ready to tackle another year in the fall.
We homeschool during the traditional school year with a few modifications here and there. I know a lot of families prefer to school year-round. Even if your family doesn't take a long break during the summer, there is probably a transition period from one year to the next that would be a great time to prep and prepare for the next round of school.

These steps truly can work for any homeschool! Are you schooling on a traditional schedule?  Does your family prefer a year-round approach? Do you have an entire room in your home dedicated to schooling? Is your dining room pulling double duty? No matter what your situation is, these simple steps will help make the seemingly overwhelming task of organizing the school stuff as easy as A B C! Ready to get started? Here are five simple steps to getting everything organized!

1. Time for a Plan -- I like to start out by creating a plan for the next homeschool year. This is not a full schedule or a super detailed plan. That will come later. This is simply an outline of the subjects, curriculum, and activities that I want to include in the next school year. Ask yourself these simple questions:
  • What subjects are essential to our homeschool days?
  • What worked well this past year?
  • What didn't work well that needs to be changed or removed from our days?
  • What new things would I like to try?
You can even ask the kids to give their input on the things they want to continue and the parts they'd like to cut. Their response may help a great deal as you create a new plan of action.

Make a list of the subjects, activities, field trips, curriculum, and materials that you plan on working into the next homeschool year. This list will be helpful for the next steps.

 2. Sort it Out -- With a plan in place, you already have a good idea of the materials and curriculum you'll need for the upcoming homeschool year. Go through all of your materials--even pulling items off shelves and out of cabinets--and sort it all into piles. Here are a few piles to create:
  • Keep: There will be a lot of materials you'll want to keep for the next year. Begin sorting items that you plan to keep into separate mini piles--reference books, writing materials, poetry books, subject specific books, classroom supplies, student-specific materials... Sorting everything at this stage will help tremendously when it's time to put it all back.
  • Trash: I'm sure that my fellow homeschool moms and even teachers would agree that the amount of paperwork and random stuff that accumulates in a school year is mind-boggling. Where does it all come from? As you are sorting through things, you are most definitely going to need a durable trash bag to tame the mess. The Glad ForceFlex® Plus™ Advanced Protection Trash Bags I picked up during my last trip to Walmart were perfect for the job. These trash bags are super strong with a reinforced bottom, LeakGuard® technology, and 7-day odor control. They're the ideal, go-to trashbag for any job--even cleaning up the schoolroom.
  • Sell: Some materials and curriculum may be in great shape, but you know you'll never use them again. Place these items into a stack to work on selling later. I placed my items for sale into one of those handGlad® Advanced Protection Trash Bags that I just mentioned. The bag held up to the weight and bulkiness of my books and workbooks. Hey, if these bags can pass this torture test, what are a few books going to do to them? Right? The RipGuard™ technology helped to prevent rips and tears even from the sharp corners of the books and boxes. It was a great place to stash and protect the materials until I was ready to tackle selling them. When you are ready to sell, there are several ways to go about it. Do you know of a curriculum sale you can join? Are you a member of homeschool buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook? Is there a local bookstore that will take your homeschool curriculum in exchange for store credit or cash? Place a sticky note on each item with its price and plan for selling. The money you make selling old materials can help when it's time to buy new curriculum and supplies.
  • Store: As you're sorting, you may come across some items that you want to keep but won't need immediately. It might be a curriculum that you plan to use for a younger sibling or a manipulative that you'll use with a certain unit. Find a closet or spot in your home to store these items until you need them. I store many of my extra materials on bookcases in our garage. You may also want to store completed work and projects. Place each child's work into a separate folder and label it with the year. Keep the accumulated folders from each year in a file box with that child's name on it. I'm prone to keeping every piece of schoolwork, but you could easily shift through each child's papers and just pull out the work you consider to be the best representation of their progress that year.
As you are sorting and decluttering, don't forget to also make a list of the materials you need to buy and replace.
3. Deep Clean -- Now is a great time to give your homeschool space a deep clean. Wipe out the inside of drawers. Dust and disinfect everything! Throw out the trash. Clean the windows. Wash rugs.  Finish by scrubbing the floors. Cleaning the space gives you a fresh start to a new homeschool year.
4. A Place for Everything -- Place your sorted books and materials back into their proper place. Remember that list you made at the beginning of this process? Organize the room in a way that fits the plan you created. Be sure to put the materials you plan on using most in an easily accessible, convenient area. Want to incorporate a morning basket or learning stations? Go ahead and complete the setup for those. Are you going to make spelling or writing a focus? Pull together materials for a spelling box filled with activities or a writer's workshop area. Create a room that works with your homeschool style and goals.
5. In with the New -- Your homeschool space has been planned out, de-cluttered, cleaned out, and organized. Now it's time to grab that shopping list of new curriculum and school supplies you'll need for the upcoming homeschool year. Buy the things you need and put them away in your thoroughly prepped and prepared space.
For more tips and ideas on decluttering and organizing, be sure to visit the Glad® website. Oh, and fellow homeschool moms, you may love these teachable moments from Glad®!

What are your best tips for organizing your homeschool space or any room in your home? I'd love to hear them in the comments below! And stay tuned for future posts with the full schoolroom reveal, curriculum choices for the 2018-2019 school year, and other homeschool related topics.
Happy organizing!

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