The key to an organized homeschool is a functional space for all of your materials. That space might be a few tote bags, a bookshelf, a closet, or an entire room, but the key is to create useful storage that works for you.
We have had our Ikea homeschool room (<—- See our FUN MAKEOVER!) for a little over a year now, and I have to admit that the new is NOT wearing off. We still love it just as much today as we did a year ago.
Now having said that, there were a few things last year that just didn’t work in our room. I knew when I refreshed the room this summer that I would need to work out a few kinks to make the room more useful and organized. Here are a few of our problems and how I solved them.
Problem: Our pieced together table-top kept sliding around.
Solution: Padded shelf liner
When we created our room we pieced together two 72″ tabletops to get the most space we could at our work table. We like to spread out. Ideally we would have a nice, thick piece of glass on top to hold everything together, but that hasn’t been in the budget.
Instead, I bought an inexpensive roll of shelf-liner and cut pieces to go on top of our table supports. Once we replaced the table tops — no more sliding! The sticky surface helps keep everything in place.
Problem: Is this my clipboard?
Solution: Fun, patterned washi tape
Last year the kids’ clipboards didn’t even have name labels on them, so it was annoying during the day to try and grab the correct one to find what you need. This year, I added the labels, but if I were a betting woman I would put my money on them not making it through the year with as much use as the clipboards get.
So as an extra layer of identification I bought some fun washi tape. Each kid has their own pattern in a tag on the top loop of the board and across the bottom. Now I can tell from across the table whose is whose without needing the read the label.
UPDATE: You can see our fun video and even more washi tape ideas here!
Problem: Non-school stuff everywhere
Solution: A drawer of their own
This is a great table for working on projects of any kind. Problem is, they often get half through a project and then leave the rest of it on the table. Then there were the non-school related drawings, poems, craft projects and papers they want to save, but I really don’t have a designated spot for. Last year I kept office and school supplies in all of my drawers, but this year I got smart.
I assigned each kid a drawer by labeling it with his or her name. Now when the table is littered with projects and papers, I can pick them up and put them in the appropriate drawer. Voila! Instant clean table. Of course I am going to have to schedule a regular time for drawer clean-out, but so far my highly visual self is happy to just tuck things away and get a clean table again.
Problem: No place to store oversized game boards.
When you make and sell your own fun Latin game, you have to play it and often. There is no way the kids would let me find an out-of-the-way storage place for our Race to the Colosseum game board. We play it way too often. So last year it sat on the table all.the.time. Drove me nuts (visual, remember?)
This one stumped me for a while before I hit upon the idea of hanging it from another clipboard. Ah sweet success! Now the game hangs nicely out of the way, is easy to put up and take down, and is close by when we need it daily.
Problem: Storing multiple types of paper
Solution: Paper trays
Ok, I admit this one is not much of a hack, but last year the paper all lived in a couple of those drawers and was constantly getting out of stacks and mixed together. Not to mention the kids were always in there using up my copy paper for their quick sketches. So I shopped our office space upstairs and came down with not only a set of paper trays to hold everything, but also a table that wasn’t getting much use. I gave it a new job holding the paper trays and my beloved desk apprentice.
And in a stroke of genius, I designated the top paper tray to scratch paper — all those sheets that are printed on one side, but unused on the other? Now the kids know they have unlimited use of the paper from that tray, but have to ask permission before getting paper from any other. We are being much friendlier to the environment and my pocketbook. By making it easy for the kids to grab, they really don’t mind using the recycled sheets for most projects.
The other trays hold the other papers I need, with a couple of the trays doing double-duty for types we use less often.
You may not have the same homeschool room challenges I do, but maybe these hacks will help you reevaluate a situation that has been stressing you about your homeschool space and come up with a creative solution.
And for more great homeschool room posts check out the Not Back to School Blog Hop with the bloggers of iHSN. Be sure to link up your own too!