Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu
I hope you all had a wonderful Eid with your families. I apologise that this post has taken so long to write; we are in the process of potentially moving house hence why I haven’t posted as much. I did think about waiting till we moved to show you how I organise our school supplies, as our shelves are not quite how I would like them to be, but this is real life – maybe I’ll do a before and after post at some point insha’Allah!
So here are how our current homeschool shelves look like.
Like I said, our shelves don’t necessarily look aesthetically the way I would like, but the organisation does work for us.
I used to organise our books directly on the bookshelf, separate from extra manipulatives, and then when we came to each lesson I would piece together all the books I needed and the manipulatives. The problem I had was that books would go missing, and I would forget to use the manipulatives! So now I organise all our subjects into boxes. A typical box will include any teachers manuals/ textbooks, books we use as the main spine for the subject such as Usborne Encyclopedias, and manipulatives such as games/flashcards. When its time to study, I just pull out the box, spread out all the books we need, and then when we’re finished everything goes back in the back and stays organised. Extra reading books are placed directly on the shelves so kids can read these whenever they like and I occasionally will sift through these and pull out any relevant books for lessons I have planned. I will be colour coding books in the future according to subject, to make it easier to do this too insha’Allaah.
I also organise all our arts and crafts in one box, which the kids have access to at all time. I used to have everything laid out on the shelf, but again I found things go missing. For artwork, the kids each have an A3 sketchpad for school only, and a different A3 sketchpad for their own drawings. This has helped save paper, keep their work together and clean up time! Keeping supplies in boxes works really well for Science too as I keep all the supplies we need for our Science experiments together. When I need to check if we are running low on supplies I can quickly look through the box, and not scramble through different draws.
We used to implement the infamous workbox system, whereby a child has their own draw for each subject, and then a velcro label system to show what has been completed. It worked a treat at the beginning but then my kids began to lose labels or forgot to stick the tab to complete, it eventually fizzled out. It also may not be suitable if you have several children as each draw takes up quite a bot of space. So went back to a simple drawer for each child.
Currently, my kids use this silver draw to store all their work. The top drawer they share to keep their mushafs and Quran pens, and then they each have an individual draw where they store their own workbooks and supplies. When lesson times come, they pull out the relevant workbooks. It’s up to them to keep their books in order too, so once in a while, they will pull out their drawer and give it a quick tidy. Any marked test sheets are not kept in these draws though, these are filed separately in my homeschool planner. We will be changing this drawer at some point as it is too small, hence some subject folders are on the main shelf.
I used to love the idea of a rotating caddy in the middle of the school table filled with sharpened pencils and new crayons. But again, that didn’t work for us! My kids would constantly lose things, crayons would disappear, and there would be an ‘im using the red pencil first’ conversation at almost every lesson. So, we went back to good old pencil cases! My kids have their own pencils, sharpeners and crayons etc which they keep in their drawers. I’ve found that they are more responsible this way and look after their supplies better. I do have a caddy with extra supplies on hand, but for the most part, they kids take out their pencil cases and put them back when done.
So there’s our homeschool supplies organisation in a nutshell. The boxes are overflowing, there are no labels, but it works for us. Let me know if you’d like to see an updated picture once we’ve moved!