I have been home schooling my two boys (8 and 10) for the past two years. I think I have adjusted. I think. Honestly, things have been going pretty good–home schooling seems to genuinely be a good fit for my kids (and us adults as well). One thing that I do struggle with daily (in fact, it was the one thing my boys told me I could work on–oh don’t you just love empowered children!) are my organizational skills. I lack tremendously and find that it has a serious negative impact on my homeschooling life. Could you share your organizational tricks that help keep you sane and functional?
Shelly, Washington, DC
Shelly, Thank you so much for sending me your question. Believe me, you are not alone. Matter of fact, just to show Shelly she isn’t alone–if you are reading this and also struggle with staying organized I want you to LIKE this post!
Organization is a huge challenge for me. I have never been known as Ms. Organized but I can say that stepping into homeschooling forced me to get a little better at it.
When I saw your question so many things popped into my mind–both things that I have tried and things that I have read about but haven’t yet put into practice.
I settled on sharing my top three daily must-dos that help make my homeschooling experience…better.
1. Write it down: I keep my trusty composition book (that I call companion book) with me at all times. I have tons of thoughts, questions, and to-dos that come to me throughout day. I used to grab whatever sheet of paper (and occasionally toilet tissue paper…I know) to write down these important thoughts, but than I would loose them and things wouldn’t get done. So I turned to my companion book and I make sure that when I am teaching, there is my companion–ready and willing to capture all of my thoughts both big and small. It is organized by date and child. I captures observations of the children (how they responded to an activity), questions I need to answer, emails to send and things to purchase. I keep it all in one place and would be lost without it.
2. Inbox: With three children I have papers coming to me all the time. About five months ago now I assigned each child their own in-box where all their papers go. This system has helped me keep their papers safe. When I am ready I can sit and go through and file them. I also like the inbox because hubby can easily go through the papers to get an idea of what we are learning.
3. Plan Ahead: I used to plan the next day’s activities AFTER our class time. I guess I was still in my teacher mode. It is a great idea for sure but my problem was (and still is) I didn’t have a guarded planning period. I found myself planning after teaching and it was too much. Away with that! Now I plan as I teach. I am assembling papers for the next day, labs, anything and everything that I might need to make the next day a success. The result: when our ‘meeting time’ is over, I turn off the lights to our classroom and can move on to other things. Liberating!
So Shelly, there you have my top three things that have truly enhanced my life. I hope something inspires you. I find that when I tweak little things, I am much more likely to stick with it and make it a good habit.
If anyone else has some other tips, please do share. I would love to learn about more ways to get and stay organized.
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