While I'm away in sunny San Diego, my very precious IRL friend, Allison, graciously decided to step in for the day! We've been friends for over seven years now (can you believe she's actually been willing to be my friend after all these years?) and we have such a blast together. We've done homeschool conventions, curriculum sales, field trips, hiking trips, birthday parties, sleep overs and even pregnancies together! She has six sweet kiddos - homeschooling four at the moment, and loves all things political and photography-based. She is one of my nearest and dearest friends and inspires me so much!
Here is Allison from Life As a Mother... of Many!
Large families take an extraordinary amount of organization. I feel like I am still in the early years of the large family and learning the most efficient way to organize. I thought I would do a series on the ways that I organize our large family. Everyone is different in preferences on this sort of thing and there is no one right or wrong way to do it. But this series will share some of the things that I do to make life easier around here. I will attempt to do a "Large Family Organization" post every Wednesday...we shall see...haha.
Today, I thought I would share how I organize all of the little things that we use on a daily basis for our homeschool. I have tried so many different things over the years to organize but, it never seemed smooth and efficient until I did this.
A neighbor gave me this cabinet as they were preparing to throw it away. It had no knobs, paint was scratched off in several areas, and the inside shelves were broken. I invested in a little hardware and paint and refurbished this little unit for about $15. It now sits in our kitchen eating area right by the table where the kids do their book work. Easy access and doors that close were both essential for me. Above is a picture of the outside and below is the inside.
On the top shelf, I put the workbooks and Teacher's manuals for individual work that we use daily along with a plastic box in which the kids place their completed work. This is mainly the Math and Language books.
On the middle shelf I placed several baskets (that I happen to already have from another organization project in another house). I always try to utilize things that I already have in these types of projects...sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't. This time it worked...aahhh. These baskets hold the crayons, pencils, colored pencils, glue, scissors, and paint. There was even a place for the pencil sharpener (high enough to be out of the reach of the littles). And, there was a media cut out in the back of the unit so I could plug in the pencil sharpener without having cords hanging out the front...icing on the cake!
On the bottom shelf are baskets holding white and colored paper and stencils, stamps, etc.. My kids do quite a bit of drawing/sketching...especially when I am reading aloud to them.
The three drawers on the bottom are where my three older kids can store their personal school items when they are not doing book work.
On top of the cabinet, I placed three more baskets with items that we use a little less frequently like Math manipulatives, extra art supplies, and larger bottles of paint.
Before, I had these things organized in our "homeschool closet" in a bedroom with all of the curriculum that we are not using this year but will need in future years. The problem was that if someone broke a pencil, it took a trip to the other room to remedy the problem and chances of being distracted were high. Now, everything that we need is right at our fingertips without having to leave the room.
I am SO pleased with the result...especially for the price.
I keep all of our "unit study" books (Bible, Art, Music, History, Literature, Science, Geography, "read aloud", etc.) in a large crate next to the couch where we all lounge in the afternoons to learn while the babies are napping. Here is a picture of this...not so lovely but what works at the time.
I then keep our school music cds in a little basket inside the entertainment center where they are handy and yet out of the reach of the littles. Here is a picture of that.
Now, to organize the shoes and socks...haha! Actually, that will be my next post in this series:) Look for it next Wednesday!
I'm seriously considering having her come and organize all our school stuff for next year! She is such a fantastic mama and is sooooo organized that I'm really grateful to have her in my life so that I can copy her. Okay, for some other reasons, too, but this is a big one! Make sure you stop by her blog for a ton of political junkie talk, organizational and parenting tips and ways for making learning fun for your kiddos!!