Homeschool Organization: GIVEAWAY

August 10, 2010

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This week we are getting organized for school and we have a special giveaway just for Moms and Teachers. We’ll highlight the organization GIVEAWAY at the end of this post . . .

Some of us have cute little homeschool rooms. Some of us don’t. We bought a teeny-tiny house built in 1952 because it has an amazing backyard. Our plan was to add-on immediately. Well immediately has turned into two years. So we don’t have a homeschool room we have a homeschool house / closet.

We have a cute little hand-me-down homeschool desk crammed in the corner of our dinning room. This little desk houses the children’s homeschool boxes.

Each child has a portable homeschool box which holds all of their homeschool “books”: journals, word-work, Math U See student book and alphabet/number books for Miss Enigma. The children can carry these boxes anywhere in or outside the house. They can also grab them when we’re on the go.

Each child also has a portable supply box with your basic school supplies: markers, pencils, glue, scissors and tape. Again these boxes are ready to go as needed. Why do our supplies need to be so portable? Because we are a family that learns everywhere!

Sometimes we do journal writing at the homeschool desk. Yes, that is a preschooler with a journal. Don’t you like her “writing”? We’ll touch on journal writing in the upcoming weeks.

Sometimes we do journal writing and science investigations at the breakfast island.

Sometimes we do book illustrations at the dinning room table.

Sometimes we do word-work on the living room floor.

We read everywhere: on the kid’s beds, on Daddy’s and Mommy’s bed, on the sofa, at the homeschool desk, at the dinning room table, in the car . . . We keep our books organized by categories just like Grandson # 3. And since we live in a teeny-tiny house, the boxes line the walls of Daddy’s and Mommy’s bedroom.

Sometimes we do math investigations at the kitchen island.

Sometimes we even do homeschool math investigations outside.

And I’m sure just like many of you, sometimes we literally do homeschool on the go!

So does all of this on the go learning lead to an organized mess? Well yes and no. Most days our homeschool projects leave our house in a state of “creative messiness.” So please don’t come over unannounced. However, our homeschool supplies stay fairly neat and tidy. Welcome to our spacious homeschool closet. Spacious, ha! The closet  is about 24 inches wide but the narrow doorway is only 17 inches wide.

Project time is an important component of our homeschool day. MacGyver creates projects that communicate what he is learning. The supplies are always changing but some basics stay consistent. I purchased these inexpensive plastic shelves at Target at the beginning of our homeschool year last fall. I really like that the drawers are removable. They can easily be used on the go and then returned neatly to their spot.

Let there be light! The lighting in that little hall closet was terrible so we’re dragging these shelves outside for their photo shoot. Ahh, much better.

The children have easy access to a variety of writing materials in our homeschool closet. Again, these removable drawers make them easy to use and return.

The pattern blocks came in a great plastic bucket; however, it was awkward and hard to store. I dumped the blocks into this compact removable drawer and viola problem solved.

Let me introduce you to two of my favorite organization tools. I have a labeling problem. I guess it comes from being a classroom teacher. I like everything labeled! And I love these removable labels. Just look at the organization. Isn’t it beautiful?

The day I walked into the grocery store and saw Kraft had changed their mayonnaise jars, I thought I was going to shed tears right there in the grocery aisle. These plastic mayonnaise jars are the best organizers ever! The teacher inside me loves them. We use them for all things homeschool. And MacGyver uses them for little insect houses. Kraft please, I’m begging you, bring back these plastic mayonnaise jars!!!

Earlier, I highlighted the children’s portable supply boxes. As Mom/Teacher, I have my very own supply box. I learned very early on in the classroom that I need teacher supplies that the children never, ever, NEVER touch!!! Why? Because I want my supplies at my fingertips at all times. When we are ready to begin a lesson  or a teachable moment pops-up, I don’t want to be running around looking for my supplies. Second, and just as important, I want supplies that actually work. I don’t want dried out crummy markers! I take care of my supplies and they always work.

What do I have in my “teacher caddy?” Markers, including a black sharpie, dry erase markers, an eraser, pencils, a good scissor, glue stick, index cards for word-work and a dictionary.  (And a “bank” to reinforce desirable behavior. Next week I’ll be back to talk about our homeschool store.)

So we’ve got a special GIVEAWAY to help you get started with your organization and teacher caddy: removable labels, black Sharpie marker, dry erase markers, index cards, smiley face stickers, your very own pencils and your very own markers. Remember the children never ever, never ever, never ever touch! They’re all sparkly and new and their yours, all yours! This might sound selfish, but you don’t want to miss any teachable moments. Enjoy! :)

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

We know parents, elementary teachers, and preschool teachers stop in to visit these posts. So do you have any organization tips? (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, August 12, 2010

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, August 13, 2010. Check back it might be you!

Life with Jeannine

Yesterday, we did a homeschool room makeover and we have a great read aloud BOOK  GIVEAWAY.


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

maryanne August 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

I LOVE this post – so many great tips and ideas! We also live in a small house that we bought for the gorgeous yard!

My favorite organization tip is those shoebox-size plastic bins that a lot of workbox parents use. I store EVERYTHING in those – toys, craft supplies, pattern blocks… They stack very nicely in our (identically dimensioned – our house was built in 1962, must have been the popular size at the time) closet and are cheaper to acquire than those stacking drawers, although I do own and love one set of those.

But I’m not nearly as organized as you – need to work on that!

Vanessa @Pre-K Pages August 10, 2010 at 10:03 am

Great tips, thanks for posting! I have compiled several organizing tips on my website @ Of particular interest to homeschoolers are the magnetic letter storage idea and the alphabet stamp storage idea. No need to enter me in the drawing, I have more supplies than I can handle already- just sharing on a topic that is near and dear to my heart :)

Ruthie August 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

You are a woman after my own heart. I love how organized you are. I also love how you repurposed items like the Kraft mayo jars. Ingenious!

So to answer your question…. Do I have any organization tips?
With all my homeschool supplies fitting into a large metal cabinet and a book shelf, you have to be creative. I have everything need and use on a daily basis (that I use for both children) in a common area like in my cabinet. All things are labeled and in categories such as science, art, writing etc. Things for a particular child gets a whole shelf on the book shelf and neatly displayed so that everything they need is easy to find ON THEIR OWN. Setting rules that the item is put back immediately after using it, is as important as organization itself.
Another important tip: Homeschoolers can have an enormous amount of school supplies and manipulatives. I had so much at one point, I had no idea where anything was and there were often moments I found things I forgot I had. Go through your stash every year. If you don’t envision using the item in the next year or if all your students have outgrown the item, donate it to another homeschool family, throw it away or save it for a yard sale. This advice not only applies to homeschoolers but families in general. A happy, organized home usually is one that has less chaos. (my opinion).

Meghan August 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm

We went to Ikea and bought one of those big storage unit with the cubes, each child has their own cube with a box (that fits perfectly) with their school books and supplies. We use the top two cubes for extra pencils and the like! :)

Julie August 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm

We were recently given a office mail shelf. I guess thats what you would call it. Don’t really know. It’s perfect for assignments and can also divide paperwork into different subject slots. I need help in this area and love all the ideas and illustrations.

Dana Lee August 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I just found your blog and love your mayo jars idea for holding supplies! Actually, all your containers and labels are fantastic. I teach preschool and we will be moving into a much smaller space this month and need all the space-saving help we can get. Thanks for the ideas!

Christine August 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

My best organizing tip is to just be flexible! I love to organize, and I am constantly rearranging and coming up with new systems to make things work better. As my kids get older (and we add even more to our family!), I just need to keep readjusting. I used to keep using an old way of doing things, only to get frustrated… “This used to work for me, why doesn’t it now!?!” I am also a chronic labeler. And I make my kids put their own things away, so they know where everything goes.

Jana Farris August 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

We are fortunate to have a sunroom that serves as our school room. However, the kids prefer doing most of their work at the kitchen bar. But, I have a bookshelf where each child has his/her books on “their” shelf, as well as craft supplies, writing supplies, etc. organized in clear labeled tubs.

Karen Harrington August 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I love organizing! I actually spent my summer working in an office trying to organize it. Makes me reallllllyyyyyyy miss school, if you know what I mean.

My best organizational tip is being consistent. I know it sounds crazy but you need to keep putting things in the correct place. It is easier to do it correct the first time. My parents always tell me that their children are better organized at the end of the school year then when they started. I try to explain to them that we always put things back in their proper places.

lisa August 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Wow, I’m pretty impressed. We live in a small home too, and let’s just say we aren’t quite as organized. :) I’m a fan of using labels for everything so that everyone, even daddy, can help find things and clean them up. :)

Suzanne August 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

This year I am really trying to be more organized in my homeschool. I have a mommy binder with page protectors with calendars, attendance, goals for each child, grade record forms, and any other forms I may use as well as lunch & dinner menus. For each child, I purchased a colored fabric bin for all their school books. Thank you for offering this giveaway.

meghan August 10, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hey! Thanks for joining in Hip Homeschool Mom’s / Hop. I’m so excited to have found your blog. This is so what I needed and TODAY! I’m starting to create ideas on how we can homeschool in the space we have (until we move) and this was AMAZING. I’m going to copy you if you don’t mind.

I’d love to enter this giveaway.

@meghantucker (twitter)

Brandy August 10, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I was an elementary school teacher for 7 years before staying home with my 3 kids. We’re currently struggling to decide whether or not to homeschool our oldest going into first grade. The younger two will definitely be homeschooled this next year so the supplies will come in so handy.

I always love reading homeschool blogs of people who were previously teachers. I wish I could find more to read for more encouragement in making such a hard decision.

Like you, I LOVE all things organizational. I’m a label-a-holic too and swoon over any kind of container or planner or anything that could possibly be turned into something that will organize something else…much like your beloved Kraft mayo containers.

My favorite organizational tool (used at home and school) is a clear over the door hanging shoe organizer. I keep scissors, erasers, glue sticks, paint, paint brushes, stamps, stamp pads, and anything else that will fit that needs to be organized. I hang it on the inside of the closet door so that it doesn’t show when I close the door.

Can’t wait to read through some posts on your blog.

Wendy August 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I’d love to win this (just for me) set! lol We, or should I say “I” got busy organizing closets and storage spaces over the Spring, but I still have so much to do! Your pictures are fun and make me want to pull out my label maker! lol They look a lot like our plastic storage drawers, I have them labeled too, and does it ever make a difference!

wendy2lindsey (at) yahoo (dot) com

amber lindemann August 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I loved your post! I am addicted to labeling everything as well. I would love to be entered in the giveaway.


Féepoussière (Carole) August 11, 2010 at 2:52 am

Thank you for your visit on my blog, I told you!
There is a translator at the top right if you ever come back one day;)
Your words really touched me!

I discovered your blog and I feel that I play!

To read you soon

Loni August 11, 2010 at 7:10 am

I have been organizing the last week or so. I totally dig the reuse of the mayo jars. Excellent tips :D
Thanks for the chance to win your great giveaway :=)

Chris August 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

I love the Kraft jars too. You can never have too many containers for storage.

Merelyn August 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I’ll just say “hey” since I have NO organizational skills AT ALL!

Yunia August 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

THANKS for the visit and comment :) such lovely photos, vibrant and colorful – the miss enigma and macgyver idea is cute – everything is labeled and organized (loving it) have a great day

Maegan August 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I like to buy the sandwich meat that comes in the reusable plastic containers, so I can store all sorts of household odds and end. Plus when the containers break or have become wore they can be put in the recyclable bin.

I do not have a home school room, but I do have a home office and labeling is key to a productive work day.

Kim August 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

With this being my first year, I am still trying to get everything worked out and organized. I like the idea one of my girlfriends has and each of her kids has their own box and they bring it out with all of their supplies and books each morning. They line it up against the wall and are able to get what they need out. This helps them be able to put everything away quickly and cleanly each night.

Katie August 11, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog from the Hop! I am LOVIN’ your organizational skilz!! As I think you already read on my blog, we are thinking about trying out the Workbox system for school organization this year! Great to “meet” you!!

Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now August 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Great job of organizing your homeschool in a small space! I always organized our books by categories as well. We used unit studies a lot and built up a big library. A simplified version of the Dewey Decimal System worked really well for keeping books organized and easy to find in our bookshelves.

Megan Heath July 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Just starting to homeschool this fall – so no neet tips on organizing homeschool items yet, but soaking it all in! Thanks for the tips.

Julie August 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

Plastic shoe boxes for 97 cents at Walmart. That’s what I use for all our storage of manipulatives. I’m impressed with how well you stay organized in such a tiny closet!!!

Jeannine August 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Julie, inexpensive (and FREE) is always the best!
Our organization is always changing but our FREE mayo containers are still in use after all of these years!

Traci July 5, 2015 at 8:44 am

This will be our first year homeschooling so while I love having things organized, I still don’t know exactly what type of system works for us! I love reusing jars and containers, and I love all things found at Dollar Tree! I thank you for some great organizing ideas as well! Loved this post!

Jeannine July 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Traci many wishes for a wonderful first year homeschooling! You’ll find that your organization will change from year to year as your needs change. But it’s nice to settle into a regular organization routine to keep everything running smoothly.

privat kredit leihen February 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

Thank you all for such lovely comments! It’s down to the lady with the camera though and her supreme skills. Chloe you are amazing! Rosie – the lady in blue is my friend Martha who just happened to walk past the powder room!

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