Homeschooling can bring a family closer together, but it can also take over your house if you aren't careful. Computers, books, art and other supplies required for a homeschool curriculum spill out of your homeschool classroom and relocate to the kitchen, the living room and even the backyard. Gain control of your homeschool with the KonMari Method developed by Marie Kondo whose mission is to help you discover the life changing magic of tidying up and surround yourself with sparks of joy in an organized home.
The Challenges of an Unorganized Homeschool
The biggest benefit of homeschooling is also its downfall — much of the learning takes place where you live. The comfort of studying in friendly surroundings inspires many students, but keeping homeschool curriculum materials in a designated classroom is difficult. Too much clutter can drive even the most relaxed parents crazy. Not to mention, it can turn into a record keeping nightmare. The family needs space to relax in an organized home after the day's work is done, and tripping over the art easel in the den has the opposite effect.
Experts explain why failing to declutter your homeschool could be hurting your students. When the classroom gets messy, it gets distracting, and too much time is spent searching through stacks of books, bins of supplies and piles of paper to locate lost materials.
Clutter is expensive. When you can't find something, or it's not in plain view, you may forget what you actually have. You then find yourself at the supply store buying supplies entombed under last year's homeschool curriculum.
Now here's the fun part: how to get organized and declutter your homeschool — the KonMari way.
The Magic of the KonMari Method
Marie Kondo's KonMari Method has found its way into the homes (and homeschools) of people everywhere. Her mission, after all, is to organize the world. Kondo is a minimalist who believes in removing items that don't bring happiness. In her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," she encourages only keeping items that bring a "spark of joy." Kondo also suggests organizing by category instead of location. So instead of cleaning your bedroom, sort out the clothes first. The same goes for homeschool school supplies.
To declutter your homeschool, start by holding each item in your hands and determine if it brings you that spark of joy. Kondo also advises you to acknowledge the hard work of your belongings and to treat each as if alive.
The KonMari Homeschool Classroom
Many homeschooling parents become overzealous in collecting books and other materials for their scholars to use — you want it all. Stacks upon stacks of the latest trends in homeschool curriculum mean nothing if you can't find them. Before you tidy up, discard with these steps:
Step 1: Set aside a day to declutter your classroom.
Step 2: Gather your school books, texts, novels and storybooks, and put them in a pile. Have donation boxes at the ready.
Step 3: Hold each book for a moment. Does it spark joy?
Step 4: Discard or donate if the answer is no.
In the case of homeschooling, your joyfulness will be associated with your students' success with the book. If you don't feel a spark, put it in the donate pile, even if it used to be a favorite. You should end up with at least 50 percent fewer books by the end of the exercise.
The same goes for workbooks, worksheets and even tests. Be ruthless in letting go of old paperwork. If you've forgotten you had it, then it certainly wasn't bringing you any joy.
Like most homeschooling families, you probably have a dozen clay sculptures, some science experiments and countless pictures and paintings hanging on the walls or stored in boxes. While these items are special, you simply shouldn't try and keep them all. Your gut will tell you which items to keep and which to dispose of. Once you've held your seventh drawing of the solar system, you'll find it easier to use the discard pile.
If it helps, thank your old objects before you move on.
This process may take a full day, but you need to tackle the job in one sitting. Afterward, you'll be amazed how spacious your classroom looks and feels.
Organizing and decluttering your homeschool classroom creates a more peaceful environment in which to teach and learn. Distractions are gone, and you'll feel less boxed in, literally and figuratively. By working with the teaching materials that bring you joy, you'll be able to pass along happiness and excitement to your scholars. It's time to put the home back in your homeschool.