Each of my children have a workspace each.  We have a room we call the Family Room where the kids do their studies.  In the middle of this room is a large dining table.  When we set up this room I wanted flexibility so the room can be used at any time of the day regardless of the family activity – not just for study.

Here you see it in our 'weekend mode' - books left out, Nomi was using the computer and her bamboo mat (art on the computer) and Jess has been cardmaking.

Each child has a office tray that sits on their desk. In this tray they hold their diary, unfinished work (in a clear plastic envelope), pencil case (which holds their own pens/pencils/colouring pencils/eraser/scissors etc). When they were young they had two pencil cases one for textas/markers. This tray may also hold a book they are reading and a reading journal or notepad. They also have a folder they keep there for their finished work – which they give to me at the end of the day. They have some degree of choice what goes in the tray but the guidelines are that it is not to be overflowing; it is to be organised, and full with only the things they use regularly. This means if they go through a season of writing they’ll have their writing pad but if they go through a season of drawing they’ll have a drawing pad. It keeps it individual and yet functional.

Daniel has just sorted out his tray so it looks nice and organised. They should tidy their tray every day and keep it this way!

Under their desks they have a plastic box (the type you can hang suspension folders in) and in this box they keep all their books from their regular studies and personal responsibilities. Math books, art books, DVDs they are using for study, their personal finance records – anything that they refer to during the course of a week or month. They have a few suspension folders in here for work in progress.

This box also serves as a foot rest for when the kids were little and sitting on dining chairs meant they couldn't touch the floor (The box has a lid on it).

As I said I wanted flexibility. At the end of the study time, or on Friday they put their trays on their boxes, under the desks and they are left with an empty table to enjoy in their ‘free’ time – they play games there, share meals with friends but most of all they create there – lots of mess and their books are packed away tidily.

They all file their finished work in binders – God’s Word (Bible), Character, God’s World (History/Science etc), any personal interest/delight studies.  Each child has all their binders in a particular colour.
We have an ‘art cupboard’ where I keep all art supplies. I have organised the art supplies in boxes. We have a paint box which includes paints, brushes, plastic lids for palettes, aprons. I have a box for misc mediums – pastels, charcoal, and oils, a box for rubber stamping, a box for collage bits, a box for clay etc.

This cupboard is not only for art but for any supplies for any creative pursuit including notebooking. It doesn’t hold thread/material type supplies – they are elsewhere.

Science, Math, Nature, Language type activities and supplies are all kept in their own box.

I love boxes. It has helped the children be responsible for the supplies – if they want to do a particular activity – like painting – they pull out the painting box and that is what they are responsible for when they are finished – it all gets packed up into the box back into the cupboard.

Books are organised by Christian, Picture Books, Non Fiction, Chapter books (which have many categories of their own). I love to put picture books in magazine file boxes. Once again a young child can pull a box from the shelf and when they are done all the books are put back in the right place. I organise the books by either series, author or genre (depending on how many I have for the category).

The kids have a small bookshelf where they keep their current interest books, which includes library books.

My resources are kept in two small bookshelves in my bedroom – I constantly need to declutter it and only keep the really worthwhile. In my office I have a shelf where I have more magazine file boxes for each of the subjects I teach my children (not their independent work) and this is where I keep the resources that we are currently using.

Our family room holds two bookcases like this! Sometimes I think we have way too many books - other times I just love them!

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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