How to Organize Your Homeschool for Stress-Free Days

Learn how to organize your homeschool so that you can have more time and less stress in your day.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a homeschool room can go from spotless to looking like a tornado hit in the time it takes you to finish calling the kids in to start the school day? 

It never fails to amaze me how quickly my four kids, ranging from toddler to teen, can mess up the house during a school day. For instance, my oldest is notorious for leaving a piece of work or a book behind whenever she leaves a room.

Then my two middle boys remind me of Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, but instead of dirt surrounding them, it’s papers. They share a table and after just a few minutes, there will be piles of loose papers all around their chairs, usually alongside a lone crayon or pencil stub.

By having an organizational system in place, we can quickly get our house back in order when the school day is done.

Do you have little Pig Pens and Absent-Minded Professors too? Would you like to learn some tricks to keep their clutter to a minimum? Implement the tips below to get back more time in your day to enjoy your family instead of yelling at them to pick up their mess–again.

How to Organize Your Homeschool

How do you organize your homeschool? Where do you start?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Sure, our homeschool room is messy. But there’s just so much stuff and our house isn’t very big. Where is it going to go? I don’t have time to clean it because I have to do the laundry and make dinner.”

Perhaps you’re sifting through the tornado aftermath of your children, wondering where do you even begin to get your homeschool organized?

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There are three main areas in which you can organize your homeschool…and life.

You can organize your: 

  • Time to keep your life running efficiently.
  • Lessons so you are ready to go each morning.
  • Materials to keep your home less cluttered.

Organize your time to keep your life running efficiently.

Organizing your time is simple when you streamline your days by planning ahead. There are several ways you can do this, and I’m going to focus on four of them.

  • meal planning
  • routines
  • chores
  • making time to plan

Meal planning

Planning your meals will help you save time each day. I wrote about how my family meal plans in the post: Meal Planning Made Easy in 5 Simple Steps. You can plan all of your meals each day, or just dinner. However, any little bit of pre-planning will help save time during the day. It’s so much easier to focus on just teaching than to also be thinking about what to make for dinner.

In my house, we plan only our dinners each week. It is too much for us to also plan set breakfasts and lunches. However, we do have a list of breakfasts and lunches we can go to for ideas to make those meals run quickly and smoothly.

Routines

For my family, homeschool schedules never last long. Whenever we tried to start school at a set time, someone would always still be sleeping. Or if I planned 30 minutes for math, a lesson would take 45, which would mess up the times of everything after that. Instead of a set schedule, we go by a homeschool routine.

I’ve found that routines work best when they are set around activities you do everyday. For us, that’s mainly meals. So I plan our activities to happen before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, after lunch, and before dinner. Since these meals happen everyday, it doesn’t matter if we eat breakfast at 8 am one morning, but not until 9 am the next.

Don’t let your homeschool days become stressful and overwhelming! Learn how to create a homeschool routine for a simplified day. When you join the Homeschooling in Progress community, you’ll receive a guide with 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days. You’ll also get homeschooling tips, activities, and resources sent right to your email inbox each month.

Chores

Children from early on can be taught to help keep the home clean. My toddler LOVES to help clean! In fact, one of his Christmas gifts when he was just 1-year-old was a Melissa and Doug Housekeeping set that he still uses almost two years later. It’s important to teach children that everyone in a home is responsible for helping keep it clean, not just mom.

Assigning children chores helps free up your time to spend on teaching or on other duties that only you can do. You can do this with a chore chart or just assigning children chores as needed. We’ve tried both, and I’ve found that our days run smoother and there’s less bickering when we use a chore chart.

Time for planning

In order to plan ahead, you have to make time to do the planning. For example, we do our meal plans for the week on Sunday nights. It’s now become a habit to gather in the family room after dinner is cleaned up to plan our meals and write our grocery list.

In addition to meal planning, it’s also important to plan your homeschool lessons. I spend time throughout the summer to plan our school year. Then I spend some time each weekend planning all of my children’s lessons for the week. At that time I’ll also make copies if needed and gather supplies. Knowing that’s done when we start each Monday morning helps our days run smoothly.

Organize your lessons so you are ready to go each morning.

Once you organize your time so that you make the time to do your planning, you need to organize what you will teach. Not only do I use a planner for myself, but my kids have planners as well.

Teacher Planner

I plan my lessons in several ways.

  1. First, I do a rough plan in the summer of our entire school year. That helps me figure out what books I need to buy and how much we need to cover each month to finish on time.
  2. Next, I plan by month so I have a rough idea of how much material we’ll need to cover each week.
  3. Last, I plan by week. I look at my monthly plan and figure out how many days I’ll need each week to get through that work.

Yes, it seems like a lot of planning, but I’m a Type A personality and really like planning! I’ve tried just planning each week as we go, but it seemed to take HOURS of my weekend–every weekend–to get it all down for all three kids.

You can find teacher planners for every budget. There are free or low-cost ones that you can print yourself online. You could use a teacher planner from your local teacher store. Additionally, you can find planners designed just for homeschool families online. For the past three years, I have used A Simple Plan homeschool planner. I liked that it had room to write lessons for the three I was homeschooling. Also, I could plan by year and by month with this planner.

Student Planners

Along with my planner in which I write down my kids’ work for each week, they each have their own planners as well. Using student planners makes it easier to homeschool multiple ages because it allows my kids to work more independently. They don’t need me to let them know what to do next. It’s right there on their planner.

My boys’ planner consists of a spiral notebook. Yep. Just a plain ol’ spiral notebook that you can get for 25 cents in the back-to-school sales. So stock up! Each afternoon, I write the next day’s work in their planners. The work they can do on their own has a star next to it. If there’s no star, they have to wait until I’m free to work with them. We’ve used this method for a few year’s now, and it’s worked really well.

When my daughter was younger, she also used the spiral notebook. However, now that she’s in junior high, I write her lessons out for the week. She likes seeing what her work is for the entire week, not just each day. So if she needs more time to finish something, she can look ahead to see where to fit that time in. It also helps her see what tests she has coming up that week, so she can study in the evenings. Her planner came free with her curriculum book package.

Organize your materials to keep your home less cluttered.

So you’ve organized your time and you’ve organized your homeschool lessons. Now what do you do with all the STUFF that comes with homeschooling and clutters up your house?!

Everything needs its own place.

When your kids know where something belongs, it makes it much easier to clean up. So you need to make sure you have a place for all of your homeschool materials. Don’t have enough room for everything? Maybe it’s time to declutter and think about how much you really need to teach. Or get creative. For example, we have a small hutch by our front door that has a cabinet in which I store our manipulatives.

1. Your children’s textbooks/workbooks/books

You need somewhere to store each child’s books that they use each day. Ideally, you’ll want this to be somewhere they can easily access so they can get them out and put them away themselves each day. Also, each child should have their own space for their books, whether it is a shelf on a bookcase or just a basket. Currently, we use a 6 cube cubbie organizer. It’s perfect for my kids because they each get 2 cubbies. In one we stack their books. In the other we have cloth baskets that can hold their supply caddies and loose papers. Before we moved, we used three of these 10-drawer organizers. But that house had a lot more space than our current one, so we didn’t have room for them anymore.

When we used the 10 drawer rolling cart, we separated the drawers by color. Since we had 3 carts, my daughter used 6 purple drawers for her work, while one son used 6 blue drawers and the other used 6 green. The extra colors were for my papers or just extra space.

We currently use one of these turned on its side.
We used to use 3 of these and each child had 6 drawers of their color for work (see color coding below).

2. Your child’s supplies.

There are different ways you can store your children’s supplies like pencils, crayons, glue and scissors. You can store them in baskets for the kids to grab as needed. If you all work together at a table, a communal organizer could hold what you need. My kids work in different areas, so I got one of these caddies for each of them to use. You could even let them personalize the caddies with washi tape.

I buy our homeschool supplies for the year at the end of summer when they are all on sale. They are so much cheaper than you’ll ever see during the school year. To store them, I use the cloth baskets that fit in the cubby organizers and pull supplies out as needed. You could also store them in shoebox organizers as well.

I like how the parts are removable.
My kids each have their own caddy like this.

3. Teacher Supplies

Sometimes it feels like I have just as many supplies as the kids! Between my planner, writing utensils, and teacher manuals, I need a place to store my stuff as well. I keep my pens and sharpies on my desk in a caddy. These are my absolute favorite pens! My teacher manuals go on a shelf next to my desk. My planner usually just sits right on my desk most of the time.

4. Chapter and Picture Books

Oh my, all the books! We have so many books that anytime a package of books comes in the mail, my husband wonders how we don’t already have every book ever made in the house already! We have books on shelves in the family room, and the kids each have a bookcase full of age appropriate books in their room. Additionally, we have bookcases in the dining room (that connects to our living room/school area) full of picture books. Finally, we have several bookcases in the school area full of books as well. Whew, that’s a lot of books! Bookcases in all sizes are kind of a must when homeschooling. 😉

create a homeschool routine guide

Don’t let your homeschool days become stressful and overwhelming! Learn how to create a homeschool routine for a simplified day. When you join the Homeschooling in Progress community, you’ll receive a guide with 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days. You’ll also get homeschooling tips, activities, and resources sent right to your email inbox each month.

Color Code Everything!

Color coding your kids’ materials is a great organization tool. We color code practically everything! My daughter is usually purple, my oldest son is blue, the next son is green, and I’ll probably use red for the little guy when he gets old enough for school. Basically, color coding means that each child’s materials are in their color. That way we can see at a glance who it belongs to.

Color Code Materials

For example, the cloth baskets I mentioned earlier that go in one of their book cubbies are color coded. We have a purple one, a green one, and a blue one. Their spiral notebooks are also in their color, as well as any folders I use to hold their work. Binders are in their color. When they were younger, we even had cups in their colors to use throughout the day.

Color Code Lesson Plans

One way I make my planning easier is by color coding their lessons. Lesson plan books don’t allow much space for writing the assignment. If I had to write their names down for each subject each day, that would waste space and my time. So I write my daughter’s lessons in purple, my oldest son’s in blue and my other son’s in green. Group work for all three is in pink, while the boys’ work they do together is in orange. Makes for a pretty planner too. 😉

Homeschooling comes with a lot of stuff. Lots of books, lots of papers, lots of stuff. Having a good organizational system in place can help your homeschool days run more smoothly and save you time.

How to Organize Your Homeschool for More Relaxed Days

Related post: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Homeschooling

Hi, I'm Christy!
Hi, I’m Christy!

I’m a homeschooling mom of 4, from preschool to high school. Homeschooling can be overwhelming, but I believe you can simplify your homeschool day so it’s manageable and enjoyable. When you join the Homeschooling in Progress community, you’ll learn ways to simplify your homeschool through emailed tips PLUS receive 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days guide so you can start simplifying your homeschool today!

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