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Back to school: Organize homeschool supplies

It's back to school time! Rush to the store and pick out all the nifty pencils, binders, folders, notebooks, and more, and more, and more. For a homeschool, school supply time is also time to get organized.

When a child goes to traditional school, most of the supplies will be seen only once by the parent and then toted off and stored away at school or in the backpack – not so with homeschool. The parent has to find a spot for all that school stuff. In addition, there are more supplies in a homeschool because of all the textbooks, learning games, and other learning materials.

In a traditional classroom, those supplies are already taken care of by the teacher. If you are a seasoned homeschooler (meaning this is not your first year), then hopefully you already have some of that stuff out of the way. If you are new at it, however, be prepared to make room for lots of supplies.

In addition to the usual school supplies, you will likely want to purchase art supplies, learning games, various manipulatives (blocks, geometrical figures, play money...), role-play toys (dress-up clothes, dolls, play kitchen...), and hands-on school equipment like microscopes and chemistry sets. Some households will have all of this for the kids already, which makes it easier.

First, you need to know where most of the schoolwork will be completed and where school supplies will be needed the most. For some, this could be a desk in an actual homeschool classroom or the playroom. Other families may utilize the kitchen table or a special section or area of one of the rooms in the house. No matter the area you choose, be sure it is an area that will be comfortable and is likely to remain the designated area for schoolwork and school supplies for the remainder of the school year. This will save future headaches.

Once you have chosen the area to be used for the schoolwork and school supplies, take a look around and see what is in the area. What can you use to your advantage as far as organization? If there is a shelf close by, put the most used school books, binders, and folders on that. This way, they will be within easy reach when needed. If there still is space left, then add anything next in line for use and so on.

Supplies such as pencils, pens, and other general school supplies should be kept on or inside the desk or table used for school. If the schoolwork area is used for other purposes, store the supplies in a desk drawer or on a nearby shelf in an enclosed container, such as a school box or Tupperware container.

Flashcards and other similar teaching items can be grouped into subjects and sorted into bins or Tupperware containers. For ideas on what can be stocked in each bin by subject, as well as how to organize them, read the following:

Activity Bins For Reading

Activity Bins for Writing

Activity Bins for Math

Activity Bins for Spelling and Vocabulary

Activity Bins for Science

Activity Bins for History and more

Activity Bins for Art and Crafts

Activity Bins for Bible Study or Character Education

Activity Bins for Music

Activity Bins for Gym or PE

Lab equipment, telescopes, musical instruments, and other big items should only be kept out in the open if there is enough space. Otherwise, these items should be stored in a convenient, but out of the way area. This way, they can be easily taken out when needed, but are not taking up space that can be used for other school items, supplies, and toys.

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  • Vincent Summers - Norfolk Kitchen Science Examiner 5 years ago

    Parents who homeschool should be especially aware of providing quality supplies for their kids' education.

  • Cathy Montville -Boston Paranormal Examiner 5 years ago must have a really big house! I never thought about all the supplies you need to cover Homeschooling!

  • Bobbi Leder - Houston Dogs Examiner 5 years ago

    I used to love picking out my notebook and pencils. Oh how I miss those days. :-)

  • Andrew Kennett, Columbus Outdoor Recreation Examin 5 years ago

    Great article. Another ACer subscribing.

  • Vanessa 5 years ago

    The bin idea sounds like a good way to corral everything.

  • Anna Sanclement-Ft Lauderdale Science News Examine 5 years ago

    Great tips. We are considering homeschooling when our daughter is old enough (she's only 15 months), these ideas will be much needed if we do! Thanks. ps I'll look you up on AC!