Tuesday, January 02, 2007


The one thing that has eluded me in my 10 years of homeschooling is organization. Wait, two things: organization and consistency. Coincidentally these are the two most important prerequisites to my peace and sanity. One I can't control. Children change and grow; interests wax, wane, and morph. Maybe consistency will, understandably, forever be elusive. We have tried everything to remain organized here in the home but nothing has "stuck."

Our home doesn't have much storage and we have no built-in book shelves for my obsession - BOOKS! Giving each child a crate for their materials worked very well because if we ever had to leave the house and stay with a family member we could just grab our crates and go! The little one had blocks and coloring books to tow. The downside was that the high-schooler's crate could only be lifted by Hercules.

One year I emptied out part of the pantry and put all of our most used books, games, and materials right by the dining room table for easy access and clean-up. This was wonderful until our family grew, or we acquired more junk, and we needed the WHOLE pantry for food and kitchen materials.

One year I decided that each child's room could house their learning materials and books but that was the same year we lost many of our educational investments to the abyss of the toy boxes or closets.

For this new school year I cleaned out our laundry room-mud room and lined one side of the room, floor to ceiling, with bookshelves. I gave each child their own level of shelves to store their own books, educational games, and writing utensils. This worked beautifully for the first few months but you can imagine the chaos that eventually resulted! You have probably already wondered, "MUD and BOOKS are you a paper wasp??" We would find missing books under the pile of dirty clothes.

Since we do most of our learning together as a family we have morphed into a system I can only describe as rotating learning stations. We seemed to all gravitate to the cozy couches in the living room while learning about history so I have put all of the books we use for history in the living room. I also placed the globe in the living room on the coffee table so that we can easily spin it to find the country or region on which we are focusing. We seemed to all sit at the dining room table for math so I put all of our Math materials in the dining room: a little television for our videos and a dry erase board to solve problems. The supplies and manipulatives can quickly and easily be removed if the President comes for dinner. Science seems to happen in the kitchen but that will change when we have specimens to dissect and store. Maybe Biology will happen on the picnic table in the back yard!

Only one thing has remained the same in those ten years - CHANGE! Maybe two: inconsistency and disorganization. Maybe three: inconsistency, disorganization, and insanity! That's not good when your three most prominent character traits start with "in" and "dis."

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