How to Organize Your Homeschool Books in a Small Space

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Are your science books are hiding under piles of art supplies while the history and Latin books are curled up together at the bottom of a crate?

It’s time to organize your homeschool books!

Where do you homeschool?

If you have a homeschool room where all of your homeschooling happens, your work is done. You know where you homeschool.

But I homeschool in a small space without a homeschool room. The kids spread out all over the house, from the kitchen to the living room. Eventually, they even wander up into their bedrooms!

You’ll want to organize the homeschool books in the area where homeschooling happens if you can.

So look around your house, and locate a shelf or bookcase in the area where most of the homeschooling happens.

Book Storage Ideas

My homeschool has two types of books: reference books that everyone uses in their day-to-day studies and books assigned to only one child.

Reference books tend to be history books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and science texts.

The books assigned to only one child are usually textbooks. We keep these books in the children’s crates.

{related post: What Is the Ultimate Homeschool Storage Solution?}

I suspect your family is similar. You have books used by several, or all, the children in the family. And you have books used by only one child.

I recommend keeping the homeschool reference books together on one homeschool shelf. 

After all, my kids never remember to put the history textbook in the history area and the science book with the other science books. Instead, the books are left in a pile or on a shelf.

My life is easier if all the reference books are together so I don’t have to search out where my children hid the books today.

And the shelf needs to be easily accessible. Wading through toys, crates, and chairs irritates me when I’m trying to grab a book and teach or plan. Stepping on Legos certainly does not help me explain long division.

I need easy access to my homeschool material.

Clear a Bookshelf

Earlier you located a bookshelf near the area where most of your homeschooling happens. Now it’s time to clear the bookshelf so you can use it to organize your homeschool books. If you can find an entire bookcase, you’re in the gold! But chances are you’ll be doing good to locate a single bookcase.

Now remove everything from the bookshelf.

In my case, I cleared a shelf near my kitchen. It’s close to the kitchen, living room, and dining room which makes it easy for the kids and me to wander over and grab the books we need.

Have you cleared your shelf?

Homeschool BookShelf

Once you have the bookshelf cleared, it’s time to place all the reference books on the shelf. I also keep all library books we’re using for homeschooling there as well. This way the kids know where to go when a strange book appears on their assignment list.

It also keeps me from losing library books as they wander all over the house, never to be seen again. I can’t tell you how much it’s saved me in library fines!

Please note: I only keep current books on the homeschool bookshelf. A single shelf is not large enough to hold all the books we need for an entire year. However, it is large enough to hold the books we’re using this week.

You will need to find a place to store homeschool books that you’ll use later in the school year.

These books don’t need to be as accessible as the books we’re currently using. So I keep a bookcase near my desk cleared for those books and rotate as needed.

Another option is to store the books in boxes or crates under coffee tables or in the corner of the room.

You need to books you’re currently using easily accessible to you and your kids.

Nothing is worse than hunting all over the house for the books you need to complete the day’s lesson. Books you’ll use next month can be stored elsewhere.

Organize Homeschool Books Daily

Kids always forget to put things back when they’re done. They never think to return items. So now it’s your task to train your children to return the book once they’re finished with it.

Make it part of the regular homeschool routine. Otherwise, you’ll end up with books hiding under beds, curled up at the bottom of school crates, or piled sky high in a corner.

I still need to tidy the homeschool bookshelf daily because while my kids are good about returning the books to the shelf, they simply pile to books there.

I take a few minutes to replace the books neatly on the shelf so I can see that everything has been returned.

The secret to organizing homeschool books is to have an easily accessible bookshelf for the books you’re using.

Once you’ve found your bookshelf, place the books you need on the shelf and train the kids to return the books after they’re finished with the day’s schoolwork.

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  1. We have several shelves that house current homeschool books. We are ones who homeschool throughout the house too. 🙂 I keep current homeschool books for me and my youngest on bookshelves in our living room. I have one shelf for me and one for my youngest’s school materials. My oldest has a bookshelf in her room. I do tend to keep reference style books in the living room.

  2. I am not a homeschooling mom, although my hat goes off to those who are. However, we still have a lot of books in our house and our children are not the most consistent with putting them back on the shelf. We also have a toddler and infant so once they get their hands on the books it is downhill. So, I definitely need to work on this book system, and being a little more strict about it. Thanks for sharing!! #shinebloghop

  3. A special spot for library books is KEY! When my boys were young and we would check out 30-50 picture books a week, I used to keep library books in a pile on top of our TV cabinet so that my boys wouldn’t get to them without me knowing about it. We had plenty of our own books that they could peruse at will. But having the library books in their own spot OUT OF THEIR REACH allowed us to only lose one ever. And the funny thing is that after paying for that book, I found it – it had fallen behind our TV. Figures! LOL

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