Monday, April 11, 2011

Project Simplify - Hot Spot #5 - Homeschool Curricula and Books

For Project Simplify's Hot Spot #5, participants could select a project or area in their home on which they wanted to focus their energy.  For this final challenge, I wanted to go through 3 1/2 shelves on my office bookshelf as well as two shelves in my office closet that had books and curricula that I have used or anticipated using in the future.

Before:  Books and curricula for homeschooling
on my office bookshelf.  They are not organized by subject
on these shelves which makes it challenging to find anything.

I began sorting through the books in my office closet because I had already done some grouping by subject before this school year began.  The top shelf (at my eye level) is history (from ancient civilizations to modern times). 

On the next shelf down, I began putting reading, writing, and poetry on the left side; and science and nature study on the right side. 

The lowest level had physical education, social studies, geography (world and U.S.), character education, sign language, government, art, music, handwriting/penmanship, and math.

Three shelves in my office closet that I was
starting to remove items from and
then group according to subject.

I removed all the books and curricula from the wooden bookshelf and integrated them with the resources on the closet shelving.  Now, the science shelf (for example) has books arranged alphabetically by topic (e.g., bats, birds, frogs, nature journaling).

It was a pleasant surprise to find curricula that I purchased in past years at homeschooling conferences that the girls weren't quite ready to use yet.  This upcoming year, there are some excellent resources that I can use.

After:  Cookbooks are now on the top two shelves
(depending on the book size).  Also on the second shelf
are books with topics I need/want to reference during the upcoming year.
The third shelf is all related to reading, literature, poetry, and writing.

Conversely, I realized that even though I have the Five in a Row curriculum series, I am missing some of the children's books that are needed to do the series.  I wrote a list of books I'll need to purchase, and now can look for them at the used book section of the homeschooling conference.  I have not used the series, but it seems like an excellent fit with Olivia's learning style and interests. 

Also, I am happy to have the KONOS trio of books together now so I can use them again during the upcoming year.

After - Closet shelves.  Top shelf:  All history.
Middle Shelf: All science.
Third Shelf:  Geography (world and U.S.), social studies,
character education, critical thinking, and math.
Bottom Shelf:  A variety of other subjects
in addition to art and music.

I have never taken as much time as I have this year to prepare for a homeschool conference.  Knowing what resources I have on hand will greatly reduce the amount of money that I spend at this year's conference.  My goal is to use what I have on hand for the majority of next year's school year; and only get the curricula needed for the level/grade that Sophia and Olivia are at with each subject.      

Not only am I more organized and know what resources I have available, but I have three grocery bags of books and curricula that I can sell at an upcoming curriculum fair in May, one bag of garbage, and one bag of recycling that are now out of my office. 

After I was done, there was an entire empty shelf on the bookshelf, so I transferred all my cookbooks from the kitchen into my office.  In this way, I gained a shelf in the kitchen where I can transfer food from another cupboard (where the dishes are) to one that is only for food.  Things are starting to come together better now which is so nice!

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