I’m starting to get into back-to-school mode. For me, that means starting with the homeschool room. Until the room is clean and organized, it’s hard for me to make any specific plans about what we’re going to actually do in the homeschool room.
Here are the four steps I use to get my homeschool room ready for the new year.
1. Get the space clean-ish.
You might keep all your homeschool books in a dedicated closet or bookshelf, or you may have a whole room in your house dedicated just to school. But whatever kind of space your use for school, I bet there’s still a lot of leftover stuff from last year in it.
The first step to getting ready for the new school year is to deal with the end of last year. Recycle the wadded up math papers, neaten the stacks of books, and sneak the crusty paper mache volcano (or whatever big projects are cluttering your space) out to the garbage. Give away or sell anything that you don’t expect to use again. And if you have books that you won’t be using until your littler ones are bigger, store them as out of the way as possible to make space for this year’s needs.
2. Size up your furniture.
Next, think through your furniture. Where will your kids actually sit when they’re doing their schoolwork? Will you gather on the couch, use the kitchen table, or have individual desks? Have your kids’ needs changed since last year?
My kids and I usually read-aloud on the living room couch, and we do science experiments and crafts at the kitchen counter. But for written work, I prefer to have kid-sized tables and chairs to help with good posture and handwriting. (Not that it’s helped my son’s handwriting much…)
My son’s table still fits him. But my five-year-old daughter used a small wooden play table for her preschool activities last year, and she had outgrown it. So, my husband and I purchased this new table and chair for her. She’s excited to have a brand-new, big-girl table for kindergarten. And I like that it has adjustable legs so that it will fit her for a long time.
3. Organize and take inventory of your school supplies.
With all the great deals on school supplies right now, it’s very tempting to head to Target and fill a cart. But now that you’ve tidied up your space a bit, take a little time to sort out your school supplies and see what you really need before you start hitting the sales.
Since schools send out those massive supply lists, we’ve been conditioned to think that you need a lot of stuff is needed to educate kids. But really, not much is necessary, especially if you still have some markers and scissors from last year. Office supplies are one of the few things that I actually enjoy shopping for, so I was a little disappointed when I realized my school supply list for this year had just five items: post-it notes, index cards, colored paper, colored pencils, and a few notebooks.
4. Give it that “new school year” feeling.
Once you’ve organized and prepared your school space, see what you can do to make it feel fresh and new for the new school year. This does not have to be complicated, but a couple little touches help to make the new school year feel more exciting.
This is especially important for us homeschoolers. Our kids don’t have the excitement of new teachers and classmates to look forward to, but I still want my kids to think of the start of the school year as more thrilling than just pulling out the workbooks.
In my house, our “new school year” touches this year cost a total of $4. I let each child pick a new pencil cup out of the dollar bins at Target, and I also bought an alphabet desk strip for my daughter. They’re very small things, but they make the start of the year feel a little special.
How do you like to get your space ready for the school year?