Tuesday, January 21, 2014

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials- Day 2: Organization

Anyone who knows me in real life know that organizational skills do not come my way naturally. In fact, they tend to run the other way! I haven't been near as organized as I would like as I need to be. This is something I am working on, not just in our homeschool but in our house and other aspects of my life. In fact, "Organization" is my Word for 2014 because I know that it is essential, not just for our homeschool, but for peace in our daily lives.

What are some things I am working on toward organization?

I am working on decluttering, which I hear will not only help with my stress levels (being able to find things when I want them is definitely less stressful), but may also help alleviate some of my memory problems as well (from what the hubby had been reading).

I am working on creating a schedule for my day, limiting my time on the computer and making sure I am getting necessary things accomplished. I have actually started setting a timer to help make me aware of the amount of time I have spent on different tasks. Even if I am in the middle of something I will stop and wait to finish it later so I can stay on schedule. I don't have a specific schedule written out yet, but I am working on it. As I stated recently, little steps at a time. I am looking forward to the opportunity to review one of the Chore Planners from Motivated Moms to help keep me on task. You can look for the review the first week of March.

One of the biggest things that has helped me keep from getting completely disorganized in our homeschool time was adopting a workbox system.  I had read about workboxes here and there but wasn't sure if they would be for us. I am so glad I gave it a shot. At first I thought it was going to be too expensive and take up too much space. I had seen pictures of other's workbox systems where they have sets of drawers to keep their children's work in. I have to tell you now, I knew those would be way beyond our financial reach and NOT an essential for our homeschool. Then I was directed to a blog called, The Mother's Journal where the author had shared about using cereal boxes for her child's workbox system. This seemed quite promising.

Here, let me share how I have been organizing our school work.

I start by having the year's work all laid out by unit in file folders in a box that I keep under our activity table. Fortunately this is easy to do using the My Father's World curriculum. The student sheets we purchased, along with any of the letter of the week ideas from the past are in each letter unit's folder.

At the beginning of each week I take the pages and place them in folders labeled by day. Currently we are on a 6-day system, taking 2 weeks (3 Days each week) to finish a unit. We are actually going to be switching to a 4-day system (taking 1 week) after we finish our K unit. These folders will remain about the same, except the 3rd folder will just be for Miscellaneous work each week. 

Each morning we have lesson time I take their workboxes and remove the previous day's work to check it over. After I file that work I put the new work in the workbox.

As the girls finish each activity they take the number off of the workbox and place it on the chart on the side of the bookshelf.

When we first started I was using mini post-it notes that I had handy. However, when I ran out of those I found it to be more frugal to write the numbers on a little rectangular piece of card stock and use Velcro to attach them to both the boxes and the chart (Yes, this is an old picture that I took at the beginning of the school year. The bookshelf isn't quite this organized right now, but the system is the same.). 

When we first started the girls would work on their workboxes at the same time. However, just this week the girls began alternating working on their workboxes and having computer time.  I can rotate between them and have time with the younger children. We will see how this change works.

This organization system has become essential for me to keep some sort of order in our homeschool. Even when nothing else is going quite right, I can keep us moving along by filling the workboxes so the girls know what to do.

How do you keep organized in your homeschool?

I invite you to stop back tomorrow as I discuss another important essential for homeschooling, Hands-On Experiences.

As I mentioned, there are many more insightful posts to be found. Here is the link to the main post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog where you can find a list of everyone who is sharing. To get you started, I invite you to stop by these blogs:

Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool talks about Libraries
Jenni @ Conversaving discusses A Plan
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos discusses A Planner
Beth @ Weavings discusses the importance of Living Books
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling discusses Quiet Time
Karen @ My Harbor Lights discusses having a Sense of Humor
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings discusses being Content with Her Role as a Mother
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy shares her "Absolute Favorite" homeschool company
Tara @ This Sweet Life


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