I am happy to have Jo from My Organized Chaos as the first ever guest post on Chasing Cheerios! Jo's blog, A Bit of This and That, was one of the first blogs that I ever read years ago before I started Chasing Cheerios, and she has always been an inspiration to me.
Jo Ebisujima is a Brit living in Japan, she has been raising her bilingual son in a Montessori environment and is the founder of My Organized Chaos, where she helps busy moms to organize their home and kids so that they have more time for the fun stuff.
Make A Home For Everything: This is my mantra and I say it because it works. If everything has a specified home it is much easier to keep the place tidy and organized, (and much easier to find things when you need them).
Storage Bin and Boxes: Perfect for keeping things looking neat and tidy on the shelf. Make sure they are well labelled and you keep the contents according to the labels.
Store Subject Items Together: This might be easier said than done, depending on the size of your home but having subject zones make it easier for you to grab what you need when you need it.
Learn The Art Of Rotation: Often we have too much 'stuff' to have it all out on the shelves at one time. If that is the case, rotate your activities. Using a seasonal basket or shelf is one easy way to introduce rotation. I also recommend setting a time each week to swap your shelves around. Rotating items keeps them fresh for your child and having less on the shelves makes it look better, tidier and more organized and makes it easier for your child to decide what to study with next.
Use Colour Coding: If you have more than one child then colour code your binders, the children's notebooks etc. Alternatively use colour coding for subjects, Montessori makes good use of this and it makes it easier for bother teachers/parents and the children. Whatever your labelling system of choice is, be sure to stick with it for the year to prevent confusion.
Set A Week To Declutter: It is easy to over accumulate 'stuff' so set a week aside before the start of your school year to give your homeschool area a good de-clutter. Throw out, or pass on anything you no longer need or your children have outgrown.
Family Schedule: You can do this on paper or on the computer but try and get the whole family into the habit of keeping up with their schedule making. We use google calendar for all our scheduling, we all have our own calendar, a family one and my husband and I have our work schedules on there too. It is easy to check at a glance to see if a new event will clash with something else.
Pinterest: Use pinterest to keep project ideas and lesson plans all in one place. Set up boards for each topic or subject then anything you stumble upon as you are surfing the net can be kept all together in one place, much easier than wading through hundreds of bookmarks.
Specify Your Work Area: So often we end up having homeschool bits all over the house. Decide where is the work area and make sure that your child has all the items they need at hand in that area. Of course you can have different zone, they might have a writing statoin in one room and a study and experiement are in another room.
End Of Day Clean Up: This should be applied to everywhere really, when you and your children have finished for the day, tidy everything away so that you have a nice clean desk/room/kitchen to start on the next day. Having to clear away the previous days mess before you can et started for the day is a downer and a waste of precious time, much easier to get it done at the end of the day.
The next My Organized Chaos e-course kicks off February 18th, the doors for early bird registration are open now.