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Wherever you teach your children, you’re sure to accumulate clutter. Properly sorting and storing materials, and cleaning up your homeschooling area, allows for a more relaxed teaching environment.
Nothing breaks the flow of a lesson faster than having to stop and find something. Whether you use a separate room for school or the kitchen table, you’ll soon find papers, projects and pencils piling up all over. Here are five tips to help you get organized, so you can relax and enjoy your time teaching.
If it isn’t related to school, find a home for it elsewhere. Toys, clothing, craft projects—any unnecessary item in your homeschooling area should be escorted out. If you need to keep toys in the area for younger children, make sure you have a place for them (see below).
Kids are notorious for not seeing a math book when there is a sock on top of it. (And they won’t pick up the sock to see if it’s their math book because the sock belongs to their brother.) Keep out the clutter to make finding school materials easier.
Sort All Materials
Pencils, markers, crayons; lined paper, construction paper, computer paper; teacher’s books, resource books, student books, reading books; projects being worked on, completed projects, supplies for future projects—all of these items need to be sorted and kept in their own special place for easy retrieval. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” as my mom used to say.
When you need colored pencils for making a graph in math class, you don’t want to spend twenty minutes looking among the loose papers for them. Writing utensils, paper products, and books are easier to find when they are not mixed together.
Purchase plastic bins with covers, or other storage containers, in appropriate sizes to store your items: shoebox size for drawing and writing implements; “mailbox” slots or in/out trays for paper goods; plastic crates and bookshelves for books; shelves for displaying projects and large bins for storing unfinished ones. When your child is working on a project, she should know exactly where to find the glue.
Remove Unnecessary Items
Older children can keep their school items in their rooms. This allows them to be accountable and responsible for their own books, supplies, and projects. This also means fewer things for you to keep track of, making your school area cleaner.
Being responsible for their own items is a step toward being responsible for items not their own, such as a company car, a spouse’s camera, an infant’s life, etc. Each child matures at his or her own rate; you’ll know the best time to start allowing this responsibility.
Clean Up Your Homeschooling Area Daily
At the end of each day, spend 15 minutes decluttering, sorting and storing items in your homeschooling area. Enlist your children’s help! Keeping it picked-up daily saves you from having to do a huge cleaning when things pile up from neglect. Clear workspaces also give you more time to teach, while cutting down on search time.
Homeschooling can be messy. It’s a never-ending battle, but with the above five tips, your homeschooling area will remain neat and clean. You’ll also be teaching your children good organizing techniques. Their future spouses will thank you!