Last year, I had some of our books up high in the den, above the TV/stereo, and that just wasn't convenient. So this year, I got a few extra bins and sorted the books into them and put a few others on the shelf below the bins. My thought is that Caroline can just pull down the bin of morning work and pull from it at the table and then put it all back on the top of the bookcase. Having the bookshelves better organized with all the various books and resources we will use makes me feel less frazzled - and it also shows me just how many books we actually use!! It really is a lot, yet we typically (if the day goes relatively smoothly, like only a few toddler tantrums, ha) only work from around 8:45ish until noon and then a little bit of finishing up between 1 and 2 while Lucy (hopefully!) naps alone. We just cover a large variety of books over a week's time.
A few other things I did to better organize our school room... First, our school room is a central room in the house. It connects to the hall, the kitchen, and the large den. It was a former den before somebody added on the large den many years before we bought this house. I like that it is close to the kitchen, the bathroom, and the couches in the den. It also has a huge closet, which I love, because I store all kinds of art supplies in it, and the toddler hasn't figured out that she can open it yet! ;) I use the large doors of the closet to hang stuff on... I hung up some bird number cards this year for Cecilia:
I also have a "computer desk" in the school room... with no computer on it. My laptop lives under the couch, where its charger is, and where I can enjoy it while being lazy on the couch. ;) But I often take it to the school table, the kitchen counter, etc. So, the computer desk just gets used as a regular desk for me. I still rarely sit and work at it - it is really more of a glorified bookshelf at this point! The printer is on the top, along with printer paper and cardstock, and then supplies we use frequently like tape, pens, paper clips, stapler, 3 hole punch, digital camera... those are all kept up here out of Lucy's reach.
I have some "master binders" here as well - one for Caroline and one for Cecilia which I keep documents in to show what they have done: lists of poems memorized, books read, chapters read in history books, and that sort of thing. I hope these will be complete records to show what they have read and used over their school years. Mostly, they are checklists, because I find it simple to type up a list of all the chapters in a history book, have Caroline check them off as they have been read/narrated, and then filed away in the binder. We can keep track of where we are throughout the year and then also have a completed record of what was done. I found this idea on a few homeschool websites/blogs and love it! I especially love the idea of a record of books read - I now have Caroline write down the title and author and date when she finishes reading a book, either just for fun or related to school.
Here is Cecilia's shelf of "work activities." I pull out puzzles, games, manipulatives, etc. that go along with the letter we are doing... so since we began Aa this week, we have some alphabet puzzles, an abacus and number cards, puzzles of America (comma United States of ;), an acorn letter file folder game, and our Plan Toys preschool alphabet activity. Cecilia pulls these out at the beginning of the school day while Caroline does her "morning work" - you know, in that time where I am trying to finish my cup of tea and breakfast, clean yogurt out of the toddler's hair, maybe do a few dishes, and check email or print/look up last minute stuff for our school day...
My new system... I got this partway through last year to replace my "unfinished work gets stacked randomly on top of the unused file crate" system. I just finally nailed it to the wall this week, ha. It is out of Lucy's reach, and the front file is for Cecilia's work, the middle for Caroline's, and the back slot for joint work or art projects, coloring pages, etc. Now they have a place to stash copywork papers that aren't finished... I like to have Caroline only work at copywork for 7 minute chunks o time to ensure it is her best, neatest work - the longer they write, the more tired their hands get and the sloppier the writing. Cecilia only does 4-5 minutes, and hers is only tracing so far. But this guarantees that they won't finish a page in one sitting, so having a safe place to store the papers is necessary.
If they are working on a more complicated project (say, a lapbook with several smaller components that are cut out and assembled), then they keep all the papers and such in their own project boxes - just simple rubbermaid-type plastic boxes with snap-on lids.
I know this photo was in the last post, but it shows our Circle Time/Morning Basket stuff... I printed up the list of what we do each day so I don't forget something like the monthly poem or to do counting patterns with both kids, etc. All of the books plus this laminated cardstock list get stored in the orange basket by the couch where we do this after morning work/work activities time each day.
So, that is just a little explanation of how I attempt to organize things so the days can go as smoothly as possible (since little kid interruptions are certain to throw us off here and there anyway, like when my 22 month old was pointing to the top of the closet, howling and saying, "Hidey hole!!!" over and over as we attempted to do Circle Time today). So far, it has worked well for us. If anyone would like to share how you organize your school room and materials, I'd love to hear about it in a comment or a link to your own post!