Monday, January 13, 2014

Livin' on Homeschool Time-The Organization KEY

Home School Time


Some Serious Organization Tips

from a not so professional Homeschool Mom!
That's right!  I'm far from a professional and not even near being a Veteran at this beautiful thing we call Homeschool Life!  However-I am a real Mom, educating my own children at home.  Educating them very well I might that thing called school, the subject named Faith, as well as that very real lesson you might label life!
I never always hear people say how they couldn't do this because (pick any of the following):
I'm not organized enough
I couldn't be around my kids all day
I can't even help them with their homework now
I don't have the patience
I think you get the idea!  And I'm here to tell you that I'm always organized, have more patience than anyone I know, enjoy every second around my children, know the answers to everything, and have a perfectly clean house.  Now wait for it......
Truth be told, I'm just like you and the next Mom.  Some days I'm on top of everything and feel super together.  Other days....the house and the kids win-hands down!!!  My patience with my babies runs thin more than I want to admit-as does theirs with me!  We are a real family doing real things, Homeschool being one of them!  I love educating my children, it's an awesome experience, I have peace knowing we're right where God intends us to be, and I do enjoy it.  With that being said, it IS work, full time work.  It doesn't always go as planned and life is still life-homeschool or not!
With that being said, I'm here to share some tips on what does work for us!  Whether it's our best day or a trying time, our most enjoyable lesson or we're bored out of our minds, the happiest school day or one of those days when everyone gets in trouble....we've found one major thing that holds us together!  It's all in how I've managed our time!  I'll be breaking this into 2 main topics.

1.  The Master Plan-think lessons/curriculum

2.  Daily time management


The Master Plan

  1. At the beginning of the school year, decide on the number of weeks you want to school.  I followed the local school district just for reference purposes.  We go 36 weeks-that's four 9 week quarters.
  2. Then, child by child, subject by subject, break everything down into weeks.  Some subjects fit nice and tidy with the number of units being equal or close to the number of school weeks.  Others can be more tricky and need to be broken down into Chapters or pages per week.  And still others (Handwriting for us) may simply need to be broken down to how many pages need completed each week.
  3. Record this in an easy to follow form or worksheet.  I used Mardel's A Simple Plan-online version to enter and print our Master plan.  It was easy and free!
  4. Place in page protectors inside you 'Master Plan' Binder and you now have one of your own.
Now, let me share the why behind this wonderful organization tool!  There have been weeks that I've had lesson plans whipped up in no time and ready to go for the week.  There have been other weeks-such as those between Thanksgiving and Christmas or the week I forgot about the Childrens Hospital appointment 2.5 hours from home-that I've just had to hop on board and roll with the school day in order to keep us where we needed to be.  And I could DO that...all because of my handy, dandy master plan!  It took me a day or more to make it, but it's been my greatest lesson organizational tool yet!  I always know where we need to be, no matter what life throws at us week by week!

Daily Time Management

1.  Have a set time set aside for school.  Life is going to happen, period.  If you have a set school time it benefits in two ways.  First-it makes school the priority.  Second-it sets you free to step away on those days that you and/or the kids just want to bang you head on a desk!
2.  Work subjects loosely during your school time.  We are a family that likes variety.  Therefore, we change up who does what first to keep it fresh.  Others may benefit from a strict routine order. 
3.  When teaching multiple children (3 for me), I teach one while the other 2 are occupied.  Here are some tips to keep them busy if their work of the moment is complete....

Let them 'teach' eachother
Online supplements or educational games
Drawing and/or coloring or doodling
Electronic time-think educational here (Flashcards, reading, ect.)
(Gasp...the above is a GREAT tool when used at appropriate times)
4.  Combine subjects when allowed-more for the fun of it than anything.  For 'time organization' this obviously gets more done at one time!  This is especially great to do with hands on lessons!  If your kids are like mine, everybody wants to join everybody on everything that's not Math, Reading, or Handwriting.  Let that work for you-it's a great way to learn as a family! 
5.  Assign everyone responsibilities after the school day.  Not only is this absolutely necessary for character development, but it serves well to keep the day flowing well and the house in order.
6.  Be SURE to give them ample time to burn their energy!  This can be done through formal exercise during the school day or simply letting (or making) them play outside.  God gave it to them-it's our job to help them use it!  In keeps the chaos level to a minimum during the rest of the day!
7.  Give the kids AND yourself daily quiet time.  This may sound silly for older kids, but I promise we ALL need some down time.  Todays culture fills us with constant stimulation.  Obviously I enjoy the quiet (it keeps me sane), but the kids do too.  I believe it's detrimental to their raising that they know how to be alone and occupy themselves with no electronics. 
8.  At the end of the day...time's left to just be.  To be ourselves, to be a family, to be home, to be with friends.  Whatever serves the day best.  

While this may seem like a no-brainer concept to some, the routine and clear expectations have served our home life well.  It's served our HOMEschool life even better!  Organizing our time and our days has kept me on track when everything else goes haywire-and you know we ALL have those days! 
All of the paperwork, curriculum organization, school supply sorting, and checklists in the world would be null and void in our schoolroom without this basic set-up I've shared with you here!  It opens the door, and the day, for the rest of that to take hold. 
You could call time organization the soil in which I can plant the other organizational seeds!
So be blessed, get your Homeschools gardens ready, and continue to be uplifted with more organizational tips!

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