Organizing school supplies can be a real challenge!
Whether your children attend public or you homeschool them, parents know all about the avalanche of books, backpacks, and sports equipment that accompany them.
As I write this, I have a 4 year old, a 5 year old, an 8 year old, a 10 year old … and all of the many varied toys, tools, educational supplies, and more that are needed as we homeschool kindergarten, grade 1, grade 4, and grade 6.
“Mom, where’s my homework?”
“Has anyone seen my library book?”
“I can’t do my handwriting practice – there aren’t any pencils!”
Can you tell that I speak from experience? I dislike hunting all over the house for a missing library book or having a handwriting lesson turn into a scavenger hunt for lost pencils. The key to finding what you need is, of course, organization.
It can sometimes be a challenge to find any extra space, especially in smaller homes and apartments, but it’s worth the time you take to create a dedicated homework center.
Do you have a spare bedroom?
It can be pretty easy to convert it into a homework area. There are a few options for workspaces, old office desks, or even student desks from schools that have gotten rid of old desks.
Even a standard table and chairs will work, as long as they are at a comfortable height for the children.
You can often pick things up at yard sales for a good price. Add some hooks to the wall to hold backpacks; shelves for reference books and you have a great study room. It is also a good idea to make sure there is plenty of light.
If you have more limited space available, you could put hooks in a hallway, possibly near the entrance or in a closet, one for each child.
They are responsible for making sure their backpack is on their hook when they come home and is only taken down when they are either doing their homework or going to school.
Then they can do their homework at the kitchen or dining room table, putting everything back in their backpack when it is done and then hung on their hook.
Another idea to consider is to make a foldaway desk. When I was young, my bedroom had one that my father made.
If there is a closet in each child’s room, you can create a foldaway desk that attaches to the closet door. Measure the door and cut a piece of wood to fit (allowing for doorknob and hinges). Sand and paint the wood and attach it to the door with hinges. Be sure to use screws that don’t go all the way through the door, or bolts that go from the other side of the door into the wood. Attach another piece of wood vertically, also on hinges that can be pulled out to support the desk. When the children aren’t using it, fold the support and top back against the door and the desk is out of the way.
We use a combination of these ideas. With hooks in the hallway, and a general library in our family room, we also have a special bookcase in the dining room. Since that is where we do our table work together, that bookcase is for school books, school supplies, and library books. But each of the children also has a desk in their bedrooms for quiet work and reading.
The key is to get a system in place and making sure everyone remembers to put their school things in the same place every day.
It may take a few reminders before the kids do it on their own, but eventually it will become something they do automatically when they come home.0