Real-Life Homeschool Organization

posted in: organizational | 8

Organizing Homeschool Stuff

I’m excited this month to take you on a tour of some of my favorite organization solutions I’ve stumbled upon during my five years of homeschooling.

In this current internet culture of Pinterest, the temptation to compare ourselves to perfect organization standards is strong. “Organized,” in Pinterest terms, seems to mean cute, coordinated, and labeled with a fancy font. But in reality organization means having a place for our stuff so we can find it when we need it without taking all day.

So my hope is not that this will be a “show off” series, again raising the temptation to make comparisons, but that I can communicate through pictorial, real-life, in-the-trenches examples that it doesn’t have to be cute to be organized, it doesn’t have to be always put together to be useful, and it is possible to use what you have in unconventional ways to get the result you want.

A few years ago when I read Karen Ehman’s Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, I was very encouraged to read her definition of organized: “Being organized boils down to being prepared.” In the book, she explains:

Organization for organization’s sake is a dead-end goal. […] Ultimately, becoming organized should be a means to achieve the ends God has for us. […] To be prepared for the work he has for us to do each day. Not to alphabetize our spice cupboard or label all of our children’s clothing with different-color permanent markers.

We want to be able to be as efficient as we can in the management details we must attend to so that we have not only the time but also the mental space to be present and pleasant with our children, take meals to people in need, take a phone call or a drop-by visit from someone who needs to talk, and any other service opportunity God puts in our path. If we have the details of life addressed in a systematic way, it expands our capacity for reaching out with less stress or the feeling of constantly playing catch-up.

We want to be efficient with the stuff in our life so we can be extravagant with the people in our life.

And, that begins with mundane, trivial details like giving the math CDs a home so it doesn’t take half an hour and snarky, snippy comments just to get people’s lessons started.

I hope you’ll follow along this month as I share some ideas for minimizing and managing the stuff that homeschooling adds to our homes and schedules.

8 Responses

  1. Marie
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    I love that you’re not focusing on “cute.” I’m a pretty practical–but messy–person, and my eyes glaze over when I see organizing articles that focus on pastel labels and gingham-covered baskets, etc. I find that organizing resources for people with ADHD are helpful, as they tend to be very nitty-gritty and concerned with what works, not necessarily what looks prettiest.

  2. Mystie Winckler
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    I’ve never looked into organization for ADHD, and although I’m not ADD, I bet that would still be helpful. :) I have a natural tendency toward the practical rather than the aesthetic.

    Probably it comes down to being a closet perfectionist. I can never get even close to perfect if my goal is for it to look good, but I can get pretty close if my goal is for it to be useful! :)

  3. Sarah
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    Really looking forward to this series, Mystie!

  4. AdenaF
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    Looking forward to this. I’ve been homeschooling forever (okay, 18 yrs and 12 more to go!) and although some areas are very organized, others I’ve never quite gotten a grip of, at least not to keep it that way.

  5. Brandy @ Afterthoughts
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  6. kort
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    “We want to be efficient with the stuff in our life so we can be extravagant with the people in our life.”

    beautifully said! what a wonderful way to measure our work and attitude.

    peace keep you.

  7. Linda
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    Love the quote you have from Karen’s book. This really sums it up for me – how can I be better prepared and more efficient? I have found I’ve actually created more work for myself when I was sucked into imitating someone else’s beautiful and creative “organizing” project.
    Although, I DO have my spices alphabetized – it was a school assignment for one of my daughters and it turned out to be a very helpful tool! I was much more efficient in the kitchen and it was easy to return them quickly.
    Looking forward to your series!

  8. Karen
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    I’m hoping to homeschool when my kids are older & I’d love to be doing more w/my 2yr old right now, just for fun. Looking forward to this series!