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So, you have decided to homeschool your preschooler or kindergartner and now you are wading through the enormous mass of information trying to figure out what you need in order to feel organized and ready to go. If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the information, I can totally relate.
When we first decided to homeschool I read a lot of blogs and a lot of books to try and figure out what materials, in addition to curriculum, I’d need to get started. It was completely overwhelming because there is so much variety, various teaching methods and many different ways of setting things up. It’s wonderful to have choices but it can be really overwhelming when you are first starting out.
For us it has been a continual process these past few years of homeschooling to figure out what works for us and and to get everything organized. As long as we homeschool we will reorganize, adjust, improve and purchase more materials as they are needed. Since our oldest is seven and our two youngest are four-years-old (almost five) most of our learning materials are geared for younger children.
As we’ve worked on setting up our school room, which is a room off of our kitchen, there are seven things we’ve included in the room that have been wonderful tools for learning (and teaching). Some of these are actually a bit of a luxury but now that we’ve used them I can’t imagine not having them. This list doesn’t include all of our curriculum materials, but is more of a focus on the school space itself.
Optimize your homeschool by including these 7 items for preschoolers and kindergartners:
- A small table and chairs – I have this first on the list because it is my favorite item in our homeschool space. The kids received the table and chairs as a gift from their Nana and Papa so we didn’t have to actually purchase it. We use it all the time and I can’t imagine not having it. That being said, I realize that it isn’t practical or realistic for everyone who homeschools to have a small table and chairs. The way I manage things during the day is to have the girls at this small table working on coloring, a craft, painting, workbook pages, drawing, or a number of other things. It is the perfect size for them and positions them well to practicing handwriting. With the girls in the schoolroom, Kellan is then able to concentrate on his work at the dining room table. We have an open floor plan so I am able to see all three children even though they are in different rooms. When the girls aren’t working on something at the table we’ll often use it for drying artwork.
- Wall Calendar – Since we work on calendar skills on a regular basis it is so convenient to have a large calendar for the wall. Each of the girls has their own personal calendar as well but we mainly use the pocket chart wall calendar
- Alphabet Poster – When our girls were learning their letters and sounds I would refer to this poster on a daily basis. We worked through the All About Reading Pre-Reading Program so I used the charts that were included (which are lovely!) but you can use any alphabet poster that you like. You can attach this to the back of a door if you are short on space. Ours is actually attached to the side of our pantry cabinet.
- Bins, Cube Storage and a 10-Drawer Organizer – In order to keep our materials organized I use plastic bins with lids, cube storage and we also have a 10-Drawer Organizer. The 10-drawer organizer is colorful and is constantly in use. It is a bit wobbly and not the most sturdy so I certainly wouldn’t consider it a great piece of furniture or anything but it has worked well for the papers and workbooks we store inside.
- Art Materials – Crayons, colored pencils, paints, markers, chalk pastels, oil pastels – these are non-negotiables and are used nearly everyday to create memorable pieces of artwork.
- Paper – Lots and lots of blank white paper is needed for all the kids’ creative art projects and comics they create. Since I want them to always have materials available whenever inspiration hits (which is often), I always try to keep blank paper stocked in the bottom drawer of the 10-Drawer Organizer.
- Utensil Caddy – When the kids want to work on an art project on their own they can just pull out some paper from the drawer-organizer and then pull out markers, colored pencils or crayons from the utensil caddy and get started on their own. It’s keeps everything organized and readily-available for little hands. The caddy we have is actually a condiment caddy that I purchased a couple of years ago in the seasonal section at Target. I’ve been unable to find it online to share with you, but this utensil caddy is the same size, if you are interested.
I understand that the size and layout of everyone’s home is different and not all of these items will work for everyone. However, having your items organized in whatever way works for you so that most items have a designated spot, can go a long way to keeping the day running more smoothly and you feeling less stressed. I know from my own experience that when things are completely disorganized I begin to feel very anxious. Because of this I try my best to keep things fairly organized and have the kids putting materials back in their designated spots when they are done with them. This does not happen perfectly by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a work in progress.
The other key factor for any space you are working in is to have learning materials readily available so your children can create works of art when they are inspired! (Of course this does not include two-year-olds who draw on the walls). 🙂
If you have any questions, big or small, please feel free to ask them in the comments below. I’m glad to help in any way that I can!