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How do you keep your Homeschool stuff & life ORGANIZED??

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Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 2
Location: North Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: How do you keep your Homeschool stuff & life ORGANIZED?? Reply with quote

Hey Ladies! I am a mom of 3 and have been homeschooling for 3 years. My oldest (girl) child will be going into 2nd grade...she just turned 7, my middle little girl is 3 1/2 and is working on her letters and writing her little man will be 2 next month..June/2006...and his homeschool consists of just learning to sit at his chair for about 15 minute intervals and work on a single project at a time. He is not really "doing school" as the girls call it...and he calls it that as well...but he is learning to focus and just be still for a few minutes.! We face alot of challenges with the ages that I am dealing with...nothing like some of the teenager problems that I have read about here, thankfully, but with 3 little ones it is very hard for me to keep it all running smoothly! Sometimes it does get hard to keep a set schedule and just get all the laundry done while we are doing school! I am (was) a professional organizer for clients before my 3rd child arrived...but sometimes find it hard to really GET this homeschool organization stuff!! We do it...but it is more like "fighting fires".....or doing what just has to be done at that moment....and on to the next urgent thing. That part of it makes me nuts! Any suggestions on how you guys keep the home running smoothly while still having the homeschooling feel like it is running smoothly, too!!?? How do you organize your official the monthly check off sheets that have to be sent in to the state education dept? and do you keep a lesson plan book? And how do you keep up with "done" you leave them in the original books, or put in binders, etc. What are your ideas on keeping all the books and papers and unit studies and art supplies, etc organized in a user friendly way?? We just seem to be overrun with homeschool STUFF that sits in every bookshelf, and on every countertop. We don't have a separate HOMESCHOOL some, so we do school at the bar in the kitchen and at the kitchen table...while we function with LIFE! Cooking and cleaning and putting away things are a big part of our school days! With 5 people in the household...if I don't keep on top of it, the dishes and the laundry will burry us alive!! Laughing We try to corral it all on one wall in the shelving and divided slide-out, clear stacking drawers...EVERYTHING LABELED! We also keep the books in bookshelves...but we have 3 of them that are FULL! (and did you notice she is only going into the 2nd grade!!What in the world will it be like when the other 2 get a little older???)) With 2 smaller ones coming behind my exuberant reader...we would be crazy to get rid of any of the great books we have collected! So, here is one organizer that is asking for some tips to just get more organized! I look forward to your responses!
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Janet Tatman

Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mdgibbs1:

Your letter certainly brought back alot of memories for me. I was the last of seven children growing up and our house was always full of clutter. I had no intention of that happening to me when I got married. But that was before 4 children and homeschooling!

Here are a few things that I did that worked. Hope they help.

I would pick appointed times during the day to pick up so I didn't feel like I was doing it constantly - at night before going to bed, in the afternoon before naps with the kids, and right before my husband got home from work so he didn't feel like he was walking into a mess each night. Unfortunately, our kitchen table was our school room and to eat a meal involved "putting all the books away" first. I usually had to check and grade things first, though, so I would take the individual work sheets out of the books instead of leaving them in. It was easier for the kids to write on them, too, that way. Completed work would go into individual boxes for each child - if we needed to reference past work or submit it to the state, I would have their entire year's work in one location.

We also cleaned out the pantry shelves in the kitchen and used them to store our school books. I had to put all the groceries down stairs instead, but it was so much handier to have my teacher keys and and all the books together in one spot. Things didn't lost that way either. I would sort the books by child and put all the subjects and the answer keys together in one place. The new DVD curriculums that Alpha Omega and Abeka books offers makes this alot easier, of course.

I only attempted to do laundry during school when we were doing memory work like spelling words, scripture memory, etc. Otherwise, I saved that chore for Saturday morning or after supper. When the children got older, that became part of their responsibilities at home which helped with the work load so we could school.

Cooking lunch and supper was always a big chore as well. I usually overcooked the amount every time so there were leftovers to send in my husband's lunch pail and also to feed the kids the next day. We did alot of gardening, so fresh vegetables were always easy to fix along with some pasta.

God's best to you as you attempt to stay ahead of the clutter. My kids are grown and gone now, and you will miss having them and all that stuff around some day. It is nice, though, to clean up once and have it stay clean. Take heart, it is just a small price to pay to love your kids and be a part of their lives right now.
Janet T.
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Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 2
Location: North Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Great, 25 years of homeschooling! Reply with quote

Thanks for your kind and encouraging words! I appreciate your tips and wil try to implement them! Congratulations on schooling for 25 years, wow! I feel like a newbie compared to that!! My little 3 years is just getting started...hopefully God will allow me to be able to keep doing it! I do love it and Know it is something that will have ETERNAL rewards, no matter how cluttered it gets! Thanks again, Melanie
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Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 3
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a few ideas I will be implementing where this is concerned. One is very similar to the pantry idea, except ours is the coat room. This is where we have an "office" set up for our kids to do their homework in, and this is where the items for the kids work will be kept, basically workbooks and the like, pens, paper, art supplies, etc. Anything they will need for homework, and now for my oldests at-home schooling.

I also have my own small office area in the house, basically it's a little corner where I have my computer a filing cabinet and the like. We have an extra bedroom, and are planning on moving my office up there, to allow for more privacy while I teach my oldest, and while I work on my writing.

As for the household items, I know what you mean. One thing to do is to assign chores even to the youngest. My three and four year old have been picking up after themselves since each was able to walk and understand simple directions. Basically, before naptime, and before bedtime, "pick up your toys and put them in the toy box". remember just to give them one small task at a time, it helps to have them do that while you ready a load of laundry, or are doing dishes, or sweeping the floor in another room, it may not seem like a whole lot, but it helps tremendously, when each child is doing a little bit. We kept a chore list until the kids learned what their own responsibilities were. Now all I have to do is tell them to do their chores. It helps to have some sort of incentive program, such as "after chores are done we'll sit and watch tv while you rest here on the couch". (It also helps not to call it naptime, but instead, rest time. They still go to sleep usually, but they don't feel so forced into it...)

Trying to do everything on your own, will end up in nothing getting done right, and you feeling like a bad mom (I know because I tried to do it like that). My husband and I take turns fixing supper, and doing major chores. With his work schedule, it ends up that he does these about one in every four times, but even that gives me a chance to do something else. Also, if I'm sick, or tired from being up with one of the kids, my husband let's me rest when he gets home, it doesn't happen very often, but with four kids, and all of the related appointments phone calls, chores, etc, it is sometimes necessary. A lot of people don't realize that "stay-at-home mom", does not mean being lazy and kicking up your feet, while others work. It is just as much work, and just as tiring, and rewarding as any other occupation, and our payment is having healthy, happy kids, who know that they have the love and support they need when they need it, not just, whenever mommy and daddy aren't too busy. We are also rewarded by not having to worry about what sort of "values" are being taught our kids by others, and knowing that the one taking care of them is capable of giving them the time and attention they deserve.

Because I am trying to get a business going my husband tries to help out as much as he can. However, he works five to six days a week with anywhere from eight to twelve hours work, on top of a three hour round trip each day. On the weekends he takes care of the kids while I run some errands, such as grocery shopping, and he takes the kids to the park and with him to run other errands. He actually appreciates it, because he gets to spend time with the kids, and without "Sergeant Mom" interfering

Organizing your home, and all doesn't need to be a big chore. Just make sure that everything has its place, and that everyone knows where that is. Also, keeping "school stuff", separate from other things (having two sets of art supplies, and the like, one for schooling, the other for fun), and "school time" separate from other time, would probably be a big help. When it comes to whether or not to separate past work from current and future work, do what you feel most comfortable with. You will probably need some of your past materials for when your kids have to have chapter, and year end tests, but trying to keep everything all in one place would be a chore and a half, and things may get mixed in together. I would say keep all of the stuff in one place, and then as you need a lsson, set it aside separate, when you are done put it back in place. My plan for this is a binder for the years work, in each subject, then a folder to keep the current lessons in, as we're going through them. Tests, worksheets and the like will each be kept in the grade book for each subject (I am going to have one for each subject, then one to track overall performance, I will have to be sharing this information with his techers, and others, So, it will be helpful to have his work all together, and separate from other teaching and learning material).

Also, give the kids break time consistent with their attention spans. By now you probably know how long each of your kids can sit and actually concentrate on things. Work with that to allow for the best possible learning experience. My oldest and I are going to work with a 15:5 system. Fifteen minutes of work, and five minutes that he can take to get a drink, go to the bathroom, just get away from his work. With an ADHD kid, that is something we have just learned to deal with, however, we are also trying to work him into longer periods of concentration, as he will need it later in life. We are also going to have a set two hour time to do things in each night (he will be going to regular school during the day, it's a long story), then snack, bath, and bed. Ichose that time because it seems to be when he does best on anything related to learning. It gives him a chance to play while the sun is shining, and then work doesn't seem to be so hard for him (this is the time we have currently set for his homework, however,he won't be having actual homework, next year, so I usurped this time.)

Basically, the best thing to do, is what works for you and your family. As well as what works for each of your kids. Times of day that each kid works the best, the best methods to use in teaching your kids, may all differ for each one. My oldest is night time, hands on. My four year old, is early morning, by sight. And the three year old is afternoons, anyway she can (this is the one who does "homework", even though the preschool doesn't give her any, she makes up stuff for herself to do, then does it, and won't stop until she is finished, she's going to be a geek just like her mom.)
The only defense of a civilized man in the uncivilized world is to think for himself. If you give up this right you may as well take a room in a kennel, as you are no better than any other dog.
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