This week, the members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew will be participating in a Homeschool Essentials Blog Hop. So, all this week, I will be happy to share with you all some of the things which we have found essential in our homeschool.
As one who thrives on organization and structure, on this first day of Homeschool Essentials, I would like to share with you all some of our favorite organization essentials for our homeschool.
Organization For Kids
When my kids were young, we started out with something as simple as a to-do list. I had a list of school tasks they were to accomplish each day, and had a separate to-do list for chores and extras. Children need breaks, so we would do a bit from one list, beginning with schoolwork, and then take a break to accomplish some things from the other list. I kept their lists laminated and hung in a prominent location so that they could always see what was expected, and check off their lists themselves once they completed their tasks. This method always helped them feel a sense of
accomplishment throughout the day. By breaking up the day in this way, we were also able to avoid burn-out and meltdowns.
As my kids have gotten older, we have worked together to create a more time-structured daily schedule along with their assignment lists. The benefit of this is twofold. First, it keeps my kids on task, and there is never a question of what they should be doing when. Second, they are able to easily visualize their day. If they are able to see scheduled breaks, snacks, meals, etc. then they can see their day as a series of shorter tasks, rather than one long, exhaustive marathon of school. We have found that having a visual of their schedule has helped tremendously with focus and diligence, and reduces stress overall.
Organizing the Entire Household
One source I have found very beneficial in organizing our day is a book called Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Terri Maxwell. This book helps to develop a daily schedule, down to half hour blocks, for each child in the home. All the individual schedules are then combined into one master schedule, which can be hung on the wall for everyone’s reference. This type of scheduling can be especially beneficial, and was originally created, for those with large families and multiple children.
Using some of the techniques found in this book, I worked with each of my children to create their own daily schedules, allowing them to help decide which subjects and tasks to do when. Allowing them some input in this way has helped them in adhering to the schedule. The schedule also allows for “mommy time” and tasks, so the kids always know what is going on with me as well. With a
clear schedule like this, our school days run much smoother.
Assignments & Record-Keeping
The last organization essential I would like to share is the software we use to keep track of assignments, resources, grades, attendance, etc. There are quite a few options out there, but the tried and true program for us is Homeschool Tracker. Although I understand the convenience of being able to access my kids’ info from anywhere at any time, I am not really comfortable with online programs that store my kids’ info, so I prefer the downloadable version of this software. The best part – they have a FREE version! The free version is fully functional as well, not simply a preview or trial version.
Homeschool Tracker has been invaluable in helping us keep all of our homeschool
information organized, all in one place. It really keeps track of everything- attendance (including time spent), field trips, courses, resources, reading lists, and assignments. It also produces report cards, attendance records, and all sorts of other reports that you might need. You can also print out a weekly schedule for each child, as well as a teacher schedule, directly from this software, so no need to write everything out separately in an assignment book. I really can’t recommend this software enough!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our organization essentials. Please come back for other “essential” posts coming throughout the week. Please also take a few moments to visit a few of my team members’ blogs this week to learn about some of their Homeschool Essentials as well!
Tabitha @ The Homeschool Four
LaRee @ Broad Horizons
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Gena @ I Choose Joy!
Adena @ AdenaF
Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker