Learning Materials for the Homeschool
Part 2: Storage Ideas for Busy Homeschool Families
© Beverley Paine, Feb 2007
Busy homeschools need storage systems that work well. When our children were young we had lots of shelves within easy reach for the children. Items were stored in trays or boxes, often ice cream containers or similar, and labelled with words and pictures. Pictures made it easy for non-readers to locate materials independently and encouraged reading skills as a bonus!
Organisation is the key to well used resources. It’s too easy to forget what you have if it’s hidden away or too hard to find. Stopping halfway through an activity because we don’t have what we need, or can’t find it quickly, is extremely frustrating. I made sure the shelves were tidy and well stocked, and over time the children learned to help, eventually taking over this responsibility altogether. Tidy, well-organised and labelled shelves encourage independence.
Infrequently used items can be stored out of the way, but still in sight. I’ve found that often the children will spy something on a high shelf and become inspired to do an activity. If you buy in bulk, have only a portion of the materials available for everyday use and store the rest: this stops enthusiastic children from extravagantly using materials.
Regularly rotating the resources and materials on the accessible shelves keeps interest high. It’s a good idea to rotate puzzles and games too, and even picture and story books. We put away dramatic play props, like huge cardboard boxes still in good condition, and dug them out when next needed.
Some things need to be close at hand all the time. These are often the most consumable items, such as masking or clear tape, paper, cardboard, stapler, erasers and pencil sharpeners, crayons, paints, etc. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of these items during an activity so keep supplies topped up.
Learning Materials for the Homeschool is a booklet designed to give you an idea on what kinds of materials and resources you are likely to need. You won't need everything listed - you'll find that what you need will depend upon your children's particular interests, hobbies, and learning styles.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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