Organization is a means of functioning effectively and efficiently, and you must find what works for you and your home. HSLDA
Whether you are brand new to home schooling or a veteran, here are thirteen ideas for organizing your homeschool day. Who doesn’t love to find a nugget or efficient plan for organizing?
1. Identify what each child needs.
Personalize the needs of each child. Start by identifying your child’s needs in academics, social, physical, relationships and other skills. Pray about what your child needs. Once the needs of each child is confirmed, begin selecting the best curriculum and supplies for the upcoming school year.
2. Locate curriculum and supplies.
Some sources provide lesson planning, sample schedules. Most of the books I select have me sort out the material into the weeks and days for our schedule. Set aside time to look through each potential curriculum or plan. Spending time studying each prospective book will help you avoid wasting time and money on books that do not fit your goals or your child’s learning style. Once a list of sources are identified, compare prices between used books and new books. Many areas offer a used book sale for homeschool resources once a year. Track down this event and attend with a written list of your needs. Amazon, Ebay and Facebook pages offer great discounts for necessary sources. Purchasing your upcoming books in the spring and early summer allows you to organize and set up the school room early. This also avoids unnecessary delays with backorders. Don’t start the year late because books are not in place at your house. Once supplies are collected, sort out a daily schedule that will accomplish your goals.
3. Music, memory work and core subjects first.
Place these core subjects first in the schedule. Place troublesome or remedial subjects first in the day. Below is a skeleton of a schedule that works for our family. Customize your own.
Sample Daily Schedule. Personalize for your family.
- 8-11am - Memory Work, Math, Grammar/Vocab/Spelling, Music
- 11am Protein Snacks
- 11am- 2pm - Science, Writing, History
- 2pm-4pm - Reading individually. Group time
4. Protein snack or lunch.
Early in my homeschooling years, the idea of an 11am protein snack with a 1:30pm -2pm lunch found tremendous success in improving productivity. Our goal was to start at 8am in order to pack in a sizable amount of work by the snack time. A protein snack bolstered our physical and mental energy while the concept of an extended morning prolonged the potential work in morning hours. Most feel sleepy and sluggish after lunch. Since the efficiency of morning work lengthens with a protein snack and delayed lunch time, this is a great strategy. Most of the time the protein snack fills them up leaving less interest for much lunch.
5. Post a daily schedule for each child above his/her desk.
After discussing your child’s personal academic plan, devise a daily and weekly routine to ensure success. Type this plan and post it above his work area. Regularly encourage your student to read over this plan out loud.
6. Don’t let the “schedule” put you in a noose.
Think of a planned schedule as a routine. Keep going even if it starts later or something interrupts. Life is unpredictable. Just making an effort to complete the tasks you have deemed important for this day will guarantee success. Do the day in the order that you planned. You may have to make adjustments as you go along when your original expectations are inconsistent with reality. Consistently, my daily plan fails to be completed, so I just move the uncompleted items to the top of tomorrow’s list. The “list” is not my ruler, just my guide. Sorting everything onto a plan allows me to focus on one thing at a time knowing that the important things are all arranged systamatically.
7. Stay current on grading.
This is much easier said than done. Usually, I start with instruction for the new lessons. Then I settle into grading and guiding my children through the corrections. Schedule grading into your every day. Rotate subjects. Maybe one day you grade through all the math books while the next day you grade the language and spelling. My children grade each other’s work when they work together as a team.
8, Organize your school area.
Bookshelves from Ikea have been one of my best purchases. One year I asked for these bookshelves for my birthday. Bookshelves are your best friend as are fold-up tables and chairs. Colorful storage and walls create excitement. Organization generates calm in mom as well as the students. Designate a desk for yourself. Keep “desk hours” for grading as well as monitoring and adjusting the schedule. Arrange books by categories: history chronologically, science, literature, math, games, upcoming books, audio books, extra paper/supply boxes, Spend time at the end of each school year to touch everything in this room and declutter. Prepare for the upcoming fall and then close it behind you.
If your school area is the kitchen table, select baskets for each student. Assist in preparing a box of needed supplies such as 10 sharpened pencils, colored pencils, erasers, a sharpener, markers, ruler, and a calculator. A zippered pouch or box of their choice works perfectly. Encourage every student to put all of their items back in the basket as the school day is completed.
9. Tag and mark shelves and baskets so items go back to correct locations.
Encourage 10 minute clean-up time at end of day or before school starts. Keeping your room as orderly as possible significantly increases productivity. Plan deep cleaning for a day when students work on lighter assignments so that you are not needed for instruction and grading.
10. Plan Fun
Field trips, park days, all day reading days, (which are great in the winter), ice cream runs, ENOing just offer a few ideas. Plan regular breaks for desk work. In some years, we work off a four day academic schedule which leaves a day for cleaning, reading or outings. Even on a regular day, students love to be diverted after math worksheets with a math bingo game or a puzzle.
11. Plan a day out for you often.
Slip away to the park. Plan coffee with a friend. Schedule a spa day. Rest replenishes. Take a break so you will be a better homeschool mom.Think of it as an “in-service” day.
12. Start with the youngest student and work up.
When working with a varied age group, launch with the youngest student and then work up. Think of your group as boarding a school bus together with family time, breakfast and contributions. As they settle into school responsibilities, the youngest needs instruction first. Their attention span is the shortest. Since they will leave first, be intentional to complete the pertinent work with them first. Consider the schedule we mentioned earlier. Start with math, memory work and music practice. Older children need to have the maturity to complete work on their own.
13. Start your day on time.
Think of this as a job outside the home. Once you identify your overall goals, you will be able to break them down for daily success. Determine how the morning needs to play out in order to complete your long-term goals.
Plan to work and then work your plan.
In closing, organizing each homeschool day requires intentional planning. Consider implementing one of these thirteen suggestions. As they say, “Plan to work and then work your plan.”