Thursday, July 3, 2014

Homeschool Organization for Back to School

Hey Someday Crafters! Today, I'm joining the Back to School series that Emily at The Benson Street is hosting.

Back To school Series at The Benson Street

The last few months have been a bit confusing as far as my son's education goes. I've gone back and forth between his options for schooling. The public school that we're zoned for doesn't inspire much confidence. The PTA has eliminated all funding for basically everything but one big school party and 1 or 2 educational field trips. It's also ranked really low in the state. One of my neighbors sent her late birthday son to Kindergarten at this school and has told me some not so great things about it that further strengthen my thoughts of not wanting to send him there. I've looked into the charter schools and there was one we really loved, but we're 11th on the waiting list so I don't have high hopes. We were accepted into the charter Montessori, but after doing some more research about Montessori, I don't know that it's the right fit for us in the long run.

My son has a late August birthday, and we held off on Kindergarten last year. At that time, I was still unsure of our public school and we were too late to apply for the charters. I've always felt like I shouldn't rush school for him. From the time he was a baby, I knew that I should wait to send him to Kindergarten, so I did. But this year, he'll be six before the deadline here. Idaho law states that children don't have to be in school until 7, but I don't want to hold off another year. So, with my lack of faith in our local school, I feel like that leaves me with homeschooling. I've never been opposed to it, and I've given it serious thought over the last few years. I just haven't been sure if I'm cut out for it. My biggest worry is if I can be organized enough to make it through a whole school year. And now I have a baby to add in to the mix!

But, I feel like I've finally decided that I'll be homeschooling my son this next year. Possibly just until we move (no plans to) or until he gets into a better school. Possibly for much longer. So now I'm researching curriculum and methods of teaching and learning and trying to get prepared and organized for August. In my efforts to be organized, I've been racking my brain to come up with a way to be prepared for school and to stay organized for the school year. While I was at the store, I was walking through the storage bin aisles and found what I needed.

It's a very simple idea, but I think it will work for me. I purchased 4 bigger bins and 2 smaller ones. The bigger bins are wide and long enough to hold full-sized papers and workbooks, but also deep enough to as many books and stacks of paper as I need it to. I purchased 4 so I could be organized for a whole month.

The bins have these cute little dry erase tags that snap on and off. I don't have to try and get cutesy with the labels. Because, really, who's got time for that and a new baby? And if they don't work, I can easily re-label them and use them elsewhere in the house. As you can see, right now they're just labeled for weeks 1-4.


The smaller bins are for art supplies and other learning supplies (like our little bag of play money, legos that are set aside for math, etc).

Obviously I haven't planned the first 4 weeks of school yet, and I haven't put them to the test long-term yet, but I think this storage system will work well for the way I work. I can plan a month at a time, put the needed supplies in for each week, and then move the curriculum books through each week as needed.


Since I'm new to this homeschooling thing, I'd love to hear from other homeschoolers out there. Any tips or hidden secrets that will help my life flow more easily? However, I know homeschooling can be a touchy subject for some, so please keep your comments courteous and kind.

If you're looking for more back to school ideas (not just homeschool), then check out the links below. It will be updated though mid-August with tons of new ideas from other bloggers perfect for helping you ease into back to school time.


  1. Your organization idea is great.
    Your idea to homeschool is really great! I homeschooled all 4 of mine from pre-school through high school and they all were very glad that I did. It was the right thing to do for all of them, but for a different reason for each of them. When you homeschool your child, you are giving that child the gift of time. In the early grades, schooling only takes a couple hours, so that child has plenty of time for childhood pursuits. My kids have attributed their success in adulthood to being homeschooled as it prepared them in so many ways for college and 'the real world.'

  2. Congratulations! I wish I had tips to share, but we're getting ready to start our first year homeschooling too so we're in the same boat, though you're definitely more organized. I'm designing my own planner and gathering curriculum, but feeling a bit overwhelmed with organizing it all. I hope you share more about your homeschooling experience, supplies, curriculum choices, etc. I love reading about what others are doing.

  3. Welcome to the world of homeschooling! We are getting ready to start our 2nd year when we get back from Houston in a couple of weeks! Last year was our first year and I will tell you it was a learning experience for us both. I had my son in a charter school for Kindergarten and we loved it but I knew for 1st grade and on it just was not going to work for him and his learning style. I had everything planned out and thought this was going to work and then I slowly learned it wasn't. We started off using a curriculum called Horizons but then by Christmas I knew he hated it. We are going with Saxon Math this year and doing Magic School bus for Science. For History we are looking into Little Passports. If you haven't heard of them I would recommend looking into them. Some say even though they say it is for 5 and up it is more geared for older kids but you as a parent will know if your child can handle it. It looks fun for my 7 year old. Language/Phonics/Spelling we are using something that is close to Lifepac. My son is a very hands on type so I am also using Pinterest to help find hands on ways for him to learn. As for extras I am going to be letting him pick things to learn about and putting in activities he will like with those themes. Your son is young so I would encourage to find out what he is interested in learning about too and using that to help guide you. My son is big into Dinosaurs and Volcanoes right now so we are going to be starting with those then moving on to other themes. If your child is not big into worksheets I would recommend Lapbooks! My son LOVES them. You can find a bunch of free ones too online! I have a blog about some fun stuff we do if you want to check it out. It is just a small blog. I just use it mostly for writing down what we do so I can scrapbook it later as his yearbook :) Not sure if your area has any co-ops but if they do I would recommend them. We are part of one and my son really enjoys meeting new friends. He takes 3 classes there every Friday. If you have any questions please feel free to let me know. :) my blog is my email is :)

  4. Starting year three and I'm actually online right now figuring out our curriculum. I decided to use Ambleside Online this next year (very literature and history driven). I'm excited to see how it goes. As another commenter mentioned above - we had a daughter in a charter school. Good school but it helped transform our child into someone we didn't recognize in many ways (and not good ways). Choosing to start homeschooling her for 2nd grade and on was not easy. Some days she was 100% fine with homeschooling, other days she'd cry and miss her friends. Time has healed. She slowly regained her confidence and self-esteem (even though she was not outright bullied peer pressure is some serious business). She is enrolled in a professional Christian ballet company now to help her cultivate peer friendships while doing an activity that she loves (and hello PE!) but without having to be gone ALL day five-days-a-week.

    Do know that even if your child never has had a taste of public or formal schooling the first year or two is a transition. You may start off doing things one way and then change it... again and again. It's okay to change things. Heck it's okay to say "School just isn't happening today" and come back to it later. Have fun and don't be afraid to "think outside the box" and do things in a way that fits your unique family. If doing school in the afternoon or after dinner works best for y'all then do it. :-) I have five kids in all, two with actual homeschooling work though.

  5. I re-read your last couple paragraphs and you asked for tips to make life flow easier. My secret is just managing my time as best as I can. When I wake up I make my coffee (necessary evil) and then throw a load of clothing in the washer. After I make their lunch I'll throw something in the crockpot. When a little one goes down for a nap and we need to be quiet then it is quiet reading time for the school aged kids (I'll shower, pay bills, etc.). Your child is young enough that he'll probably only do school for 20 minutes a day! Of course when you add a baby to the mix it can drag it out a little longer lol! The beauty of homeschool is that it isn't an 8am-3pm day because there aren't 20 kids to keep track of, recess, lining up, long lunch break, etc. When you breakdown a public school day there's really a lot of "filler time" when kids are lined up getting from point A to point B it seems!

    Right now I'm working on some major organization. Because I struggle with organization. And I want to encourage you that you don't have to be the picture perfect homeschooling mom. If you get on Facebook and checkout Hip Homeschool Moms there are tons of pictures of REAL families in the middle of their messes and craziness with homeschool. Why? Because we're not supermoms and we want to encourage one another that it isn't always going to be perfect.

    With the last couple babies joining our family my entire world has just become chaos it seems! Mealtime is my nemesis so my focus this month is creating a monthly menu that we use EVERY month. I'll have my complete grocery list, along with a binder of the recipes that I'll need, a calender filled with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for each day, etc. Of course that's not to say we can't or won't change it up but I think it will make the whole drama with mealtimes a lot easier on me because I just hate doing it and trying to come up with dinners. Eventually once I'm comfortable with the one calendar of meals I'll expand to a few more that we'll change out for the different seasons or just to get different foods in our bellies.

    Check out my blog post "I could NEVER homeschool..."

  6. So glad to hear I'm not the only one fretting over kindergarten and whether or not I should try to home-school it or not. We've got the opposite issue though. My daughter's birthday is five days (5 stinkin' days!) after the cutoff for our state, so she has to wait an extra year before she can enroll in school. The problem is that she's super smart and actively wants to do school work. In our state you're allowed to skip kindergarten and enroll your kids straight into 1st grade if they pass a little test at the beginning of the year. I'm positive she's pass things like reading & numbers, etc, but she really needs the social parts like taking turns, waiting patiently, raising your hand, and the like. I don't want to hold her back by not teaching her this year when she wants to learn so badly, but I also don't want her to be bored and disruptive when the time comes to go to "real" kindergarten. It's always gotta be a struggle with this one. Why couldn't she just have been born 6 days earlier like she was supposed to? ;-) Good Luck with your planning! I can't wait to hear how it works out for you guys.


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