One of the little things I enjoyed most about homeschooling was having an excuse to add to my home library. Every year when the new Sonlight catalog came out (usually April 1) and the school year was winding down, I took inventory of my Sonlight library. I checked to see which books were still on the shelf where they belonged and which had “walked away.” Then I made a wish list of what I needed to order for the upcoming school year.
I organized my books with color-coded spine labels. I used a white label (printed on regular address labels) identifying whether the book was a reader, read-aloud, history, or science book. Then I added a small strip of colored paper indicating to which level of Sonlight that book belonged. I kept all the books for one level together on the shelf, first arranged by subject (Bible, history, reader, etc.) and then alphabetical by title. This is the same order they are listed in the catalog, so it helped me put my hands on a book quickly when I needed it. It made it easy to take inventory every spring as well.
I had a separate room for my library and office in our house in Idaho. We had a smaller shelf in the living room as our school shelf. I kept the books we were currently reading there. When we finished each one I would return it to the library shelf in my office and pull the next one. Sometimes I kept books we were currently reading in a basket to make our school more mobile. When the weather was nice we liked to sit on the swing in the backyard to do school. (Picture a “porch swing” on a frame, not a children’s swing set!)
When Rebecca was 13 we set up a little office for her in her bedroom closet. I had called a family meeting to brainstorm the best way to set up her tiny bedroom (only 10×10′) to help her keep things tidy. She did most of her schoolwork and some playing in there, and all of her things were constantly jumbled together. She really needed a desk, but I couldn’t figure out a place to put one. Her daddy suggested the closet… and that was a brilliant idea!
The closet was also tiny, but it was just the right size for a nice desk that my dad had made for the kids several years before. We put a small set of shelves on the back of the desk and organized the books, toys, and school supplies. Now the bedroom floor was clear of clutter, and the closet could be closed when Rebecca was not at her desk.
As you can imagine, our homeschool set-up evolved from year to year as the kids grew, but those are a couple of ideas that worked out well for our family. Joining in with Sonlight’s Blog Party where the topic this month is Homeschool Organization…