Last week I shared our favorite homeschooling spot with you– the kitchen table! Today I am going to share how I organize and manage our supplies as we homeschool at the kitchen table!
Anyone who has been homeschooling for any amount of time can tell you that it can be done just about anywhere. But for us, the kitchen table is currently our favorite homeschooling spot. As I shared last week, I was a little nervous about moving our homeschool paraphernalia to a main living area of our home because I was afraid our house would look like a school. Well, guess what? Our home is a school. And it does look a little bit like a school in the dining area of our kitchen. And that’s fine with me because we homeschool!
In order for me to move our homeschool to the kitchen I had to get creative! The majority of our homeschool supplies are kept in a spare pantry closet (formerly a cleaning supply closet) near the kitchen table. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a cleaning lady, so I had to keep the cleaning supplies–they’re in the garage now.) Our new homeschool supply closet holds our curriculum (books currently being used and from past years), my teacher’s manuals, and completed work for the current year (prior years are kept in boxes in the attic). It also houses our arts and craft supplies, my gear for printing, laminating and binding, things like math manipulatives, flash cards, and my teaching supplies.
I use a supply caddy that is stored in the closet for my everyday items (Lesson Planner, Bible, pencils, grading supplies, etc). I pull it out and keep it on the table for the day for easy access. The kids’ curriculum and workbooks are kept in their individual workboxes that are near the kitchen table. I may share more about how I use workboxes in a later post. The workboxes also contain their school supplies (pencils, crayons, etc), and anything else they need to complete their daily work.
I had my husband hang a 3′ x 2′ whiteboard on a small wall beside our supply closet. He also hung a photo shelf above it. On the shelf I keep our flag and several mason jars with extra pencils, markers, highlighters, etc. A world map hangs below the white board, and for this school year we added the US state map above. To give the maps form we attached them to foam board and used Command picture hanging strips (they work like Velcro) so the maps can be taken down easily and placed on the table when we want to study them more closely.
I also made good use of the inside of the closet door. I used a pocket organizer for small, frequently used items, and hung posters on the inside of the door. The Coconut tree will be used with our Letter of the Week curriculum this year. As a finishing touch we strung the alphabet letters across the wall for our letter of the week lessons (available at Confessions of a Homeschooler).
Our kitchen table area looks a little like a mini-school room, because that’s what it is and I love it! It is functional, organized and neat–which makes all the difference when bringing school into a main living area of the house. Believe it or not, our school space stays more organized now than when we were in the school room, and we have much more freedom. Since we need the table cleaned off for dinner we have to be diligent about tidying up after the day’s work is done and so we no longer just close the door to the mess, only to find it again the next day (that happened a few times in our school room). We have the convenience to snuggle on the couch for reading time, and to open the back door and take our work to the patio on nice days. Our kitchen has nice large windows so we don’t feel so far from the rest of the world, and a quick backyard play break or nature study is much easier to execute now. It benefits me as well, because I can tidy the kitchen or begin lunch preparations during independent work which allows me to better utilize my time.
I have found that we can accomplish school just about anywhere we find ourselves. For now, the kitchen table is our favorite HOMESCHOOL spot. Where is yours?