Before I started homeschooling I spent months searching through countless blogs looking to see how everyone else was setting up their space and organizing. I realize now that every family is totally unique and what works for some does not necessarily work for others. I also realized that every family has a different financial situation, and that I was going to have to get creative with what we had around the house.
When I started putting this post together I thought I could show you everything that had to do with my preschool letter of the week year, however once I started I realized their was way to much information and pictures. I decided it would be best to break it up. This 1st post is about how I store and organize the manipulatives, puzzles, games, alphabet bags, and more (organizing the paperwork will be part 2).
So now let’s get it, how to store all the goodies…
This use to be one of my china cabinets, now it houses lots of our Letter of the week supplies. As you can see on the front I always post the letter that we are working on. My older boys are working on Anatomy so that skeleton is one that they diagrammed.
The bottom shelf has 26 gallon size bags, each one is labeled with a letter and filled with little things that go with that letter. I’ll touch on that more below.
Here is a close up of letter D bag.
Here is what is inside of the Letter D bag, a lot of small animals beginning with D, Dinosaur, dolphin, duck, dear, dog, plus a few letter cards and a foam duck set. These things can be used in a sensory basket, a treasure basket, a tray, or any other way you can think of. I like having these things already set aside in a bag because it makes it very convenient for me to work on any letter at any time. Also if you use a movable alphabet (Montessori) it’s easy to grab one thing out of each bag to set up this learning activity.
This is the middle shelf, on this shelf I store a basket with Discovery cards, Montessori 3 part cards, and dice. On the right side of the shelf I put whatever extras I am going to be using for that week. For instance this week I worked on nutrition cards and sign language. I also have a glass rattle that I keep put up for the baby. The hangman and vocabulary cards are for my older sons. Again it’s nice to have this space available so I can just grab what I need quickly.
The top shelf houses some of the extra activities, that I switch out weekly.
I have approximately 6 of these 24 Quart containers that I store educational games, blocks, Science supplies, Dress up, and more in. These are great because I can see what is in them and just grab what I need quickly when I’m setting up. These are stored neatly in my closet, they can also be stored in a garage.
This is my puzzle storage, a plastic rolling cart-that I love. I keep this in my closet and roll it out every couple of weeks. I had one of those wooden holders where you slide the puzzle in, but I always had more puzzles then there were slots so it still seemed unorganized. This cart has different size drawers so it works for all types and sizes of the puzzles.
I use storage boxes that I purchased at Walmart for $0.96 (cheaper than the dollar store), That I store magnets, special building blocks, lacing beads, lacing cards, pegs, and other activities I use with my son in. I store these in his room on the top shelf of the closet. I also have extra boxes that I have holiday goodies in. I keep all of this separate from his toy collection so that he doesn’t get bored. (I switch his schooling set up around every Sunday night when he’s sleeping).
This is an example of some of the activities that will be out for D week. Above is his work table, on it to the right are two dishes with donuts and a card that reads Dish, I also have a lacing Duck, some small D animals, several ABC books, and a tray with blue play doh and foam ducks. As you can see below I set these activities up on trays (Montessori style) so that he can do them as he wishes.
On his tot shelves this week their is a basket of dolls with clothing (Practical life), Dinosaurs with rocks, a dog pattern tray, sand for writing letters, D books, and Dice
The top of one of the bookcases has some other activities for him to explore, this week they are pattern blocks, Melissa and Doug key house, shape sequence sorting set, and pounding bench.
I usually add in a fun Letter of the week bath time, sensory activity, and a few Montessori lessons. Plus we read, read, and than read some more. We love books.
Wow, that was a lot of information. Sorry it was so long but I hope it gives you some idea’s of how you can set up and store schooling items on a budget.
If you would like to see where most of our purposeful play/schooling takes place you can see several pictures right here.
Don’t you feel better when things are organized?