Last Call: Ask a Home School Graduate

In CategoryHome Schooling

This is the last question for Ask a Home School Graduate. If you have any more questions, lay ’em on me. Otherwise, this series has come to an end. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Connie asked: How do you organize your materials?

I have not answered this one before, because it took me 3 weeks to stop laughing.

Organize! *snort*

Well, let’s see…..I have this box, which I have been meaning to organize for only a year and a half –

Then there’s all this crap –

And another box over here –

And some bins….

So yeah. I’m all about the organizing. Probably I should write a book.

Here’s the one thing I have learned about supplies: don’t put them away. Keep your stuff visible enough so you don’t forget about it. I have organized my closets and cupboards mercilessly, only to discover that I never open those cupboards until the next year when I am taking inventory. While stuff was languishing neatly in the closet, my kids grew older and it was all rendered useless.

(hah! see what I did there? my messy room is not laziness, it’s a learning strategy!)

I had tons of manipulatives packed away – geometric solids, counters, fraction thingamabobs….until it dawned on me one day that waiting to get them out until we were studying that in school was pointless. They need exposure through playing with them. Sure, it might look like they are building a tower out of the prisms and cones, but they are also absorbing information about the shapes and building potential while they do it. Every so often they say “what’s this shape called mom?” and we talk about that while I print out some coloring pages or dot-to-dots relevant to the discussion.

To that end, I got those plastic drawers you see in the bottom picture. The top two are for stuff they can share, and they each have one of the bottom drawers. These are in my office closet, and are things I want them to play with under somewhat supervised conditions. These are the more educational toys, not the chuck-at-your-sister’s-head toys. They are free to get out anything in the drawers when they are hanging out with me in my office. Every so often, I rotate the stuff.

Here are some of the things my kids can have free, slightly supervised, access to:

…and I have to go.

The Educator’s Outlet website is calling me. Need….more…..stuff…..

Hope that helps, Connie!