School looks very different this year. Many students will be working partially, or even fully online. As a parent, you want to provide a place where your kids can successfully learn, but also have space to play and still be kids. How do you balance all of their needs in a small space? Before you go on an online shopping spree for school supplies, take a little time to plan out your space first. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Create Zones

Think about what kinds of activities you will need to accommodate in homeschooling. Of course, the kids will need a desk or table where they do their work, but what about a spot where they can read comfortably and quietly? Where will they go for their breaks? Create zones for different activities. You can get creative with this. It doesn’t all have to be in one room. You can turn an unused corner or landing on top of the stairs into a little reading nook. It helps to work with rather than against kids’ energy and short attention spans by allowing them to move to different areas throughout the day. 


It’s always great to get a fresh start when updating a space, but it’s especially important if the room is going to take on double, or even triple-duty (bedroom, classroom, and playroom!). Go through the room with your kids and pass on any toys, books, and clothing they are no longer using. This is important to make space for what they need now. While you’re at it, this is a great time to “shop what you have.” Maybe you’ll discover that you already have plenty of school supplies, and you don’t need to buy a whole new set!

Have a schedule

With all the uncertainty this school year, it helps everyone to have some structure. Create a schedule for your kids, and post it somewhere where they can see it. Make sure to include breaks, especially active breaks. This gives them a chance to get the wiggles out before the next learning session. It probably won’t be perfect on the first try. Play with it until you find something that works for you and the kids. 

Put it away at the end of the day

At school, kids are expected to put their supplies away at the end of a class, and the end of the day. They can do this at home too (no, really!) if you create that expectation. Have clearly labeled (you can use laminated pictures for younger children), designated spots for all the school supplies. A cubby unit with bins is great for this purpose, or you can repurpose a bookshelf, using magazine holders to contain worksheets and workbooks and caddies for pens and art supplies. You can even use drawer dividers in a dresser to section it out. By putting everything away at the end of the day, you can physically mark the transition from “work” to “free time,” putting everyone at ease.

Be gentle with yourself

This is a difficult transition for everyone involved. Try to set realistic expectations and give yourself some grace. You can do this!

Big Rocks Organizing Team Member AlissaWritten by Alissa Fuchs.

Alissa has a background in social work, special education, and behavioral therapy. In everything she does, she hopes to help others improve their quality of life. This allows them to spend more time with the people they love and doing the things that bring them joy.

Alissa is a member of NAPO and volunteers on the Resource Committee for the Oregon Chapter. She lives with her partner, Chris, and 25 plant babies. She loves dancing, cycling, outdoor adventures, reading, cooking, and having friends over for game nights.

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