Life Savers For This Homeschool Mom

A little over a year ago, we decided to embark on an adventure called Homeschooling. Morgan went to a private Christian school for Kindergarten. We enjoyed her teacher and classmates, but tuition was going up and really I wasn't feeling like it was the place for her. I was feeling very led to homeschool. I never ever thought it was something I would do, even though I am a teacher by trade. I remember living out here for about 2 months and someone at church asked if Morgan was homeschooled. I laughed out loud and said "Oh, I would NEVER homeschool." Both the ladies looked at me and said "We homeschool!" OOPS! Thankfully they were forgiving and we can just laugh about it now. As time went on that year, I was confronted with different situations where homeschooling was the focus of conversations. In June of 2006, I attended the local Christian Homeschool convention. I remember sitting in tears as the keynote spoke. I don't even remember exactly what he was saying but it touched my heart and I knew I needed to homeschool my children. I knew it wouldn't be easy and that there would be challenges for our family as the year went on. I was pregnant with Mauryn and adding a new baby to the mix would be something we would have to work around with our school day. Last year was a journey in getting to know my kids on a different level, trying to manage and balance life as a wife, mother, teacher, homemaker, and all the other many hats I can find myself wearing. I started the year thinking we would have a general idea of how our day went and go from there. I would have a list of what I wanted to accomplish each day. I was very resistent to having a set schedule. Once I finally gave in to a set schedule our lives changed dramatically. I was held accountable for my time and our day didn't slip by us without getting much done. I love homeschooling. It is such a blessing to be educating and raising my children. I have listed some of the things that have helped me to stay focused and be more organized with my time and energy during the day. Here are few things that make a HUGE difference that I do not have photos of: start dinner at breakfast time (I try to plan my meals ahead) I always say if I don't know what is for dinner by 9 am I am probably not making dinner (not for real but the afternoon will be stressful), I get up at 5 am to exercise, then I shower, get myself ready and get the kids up. Sometimes I get them up so they can get dressed etc while I shower, it depends on when Mauryn gets up. It will change a little bit when I am done with her morning nursing time.

My lesson plan book~It is a three ring binder where I keep my lesson plans for Morgan and Landon. I also keep notes or things from the internet I have printed off for our units. There is a section for the past and future plans for our online co op. Right now we are making our first lap book so I have all my notes in my binder for that as well. This is just an easy place for me to keep track of all those items.

This is our schedule. There is a page for morning, afternoon, and evening. It is based off of Steve and Teri Maxwell's book Managers of Their Homes. The general ideas in the book are great starting point for making schedules. The original schedule is large but I used it last year and our schedule changed and this works just as well as a reference for me.

Here are my planners. I have a large desk calendar so Lance and the kids can see what is going on each week or for the month. I have a small planner that I carry with me and can add things as needed. I am a long range planner for sure. These calendars definitely help me keep our life in order.

I have set up "office hours" I do not answer the phone during school time. I love having voice mail so whomever calls can leave a message. This year I also have posted a note on the door. It can seem a little extreme but just taking the time to answer the door for a neighbor, UPS delivery, salesperson, whomever disruptes the day. I posted the sign after I had a salesperson tell me they only needed 5 minutes of my time and they talked for over 30 minutes as I kept trying to politely get back to teaching. Now I have the sign! I find that by reducing these disruptions we gain so much time in our day.

Our new chore chart! It is working well so far. Landon was "balking" at the idea of daily chores but now he is so eager to get them done. The chore system idea came from Steve and Teri Maxwell's book Managers of Their Chores. I liked the book but they had the children wear their chore cards clipped to them all day. I had the kids carry them instead and they lost them so we moved on to the wall chart in the kitchen. It is in a central location and easy for the kids to visually see and move their cards. I did use the pre reader chore cards off the Maxwell's website to make Landon's cards and they work great. I schedule time in their day for chores to be done so it is just a natural part of our day.

What are some of your "life savers" for keeping your home, your kids, or yourself organized?


Denise said...

5 O'CLOCK wake up! YIKES!!! I can't! I CAN'T!
I am in the beginning of my 5th yr of homeschooling (Noah is in 4th grd). And even as I type that I cannot believe it has been that long.
Things that work for me are having a clean house every a.m,- or having a clean class room (since school is at the table). I just cannot have other things calling to me... dishes, laundry, floors, bills. So, I have to get them done before school is in session.
I will be sharing soon some of my favorite things (thanks Lindsey, and some of those are home schooling favs.).

Kristen said...

I agree Denise - if my house isn't in order I can't start school. I can't have any of those other things as distractions. I have been much better about making sure the house is picked up, kitchen is clean (we do most of school between kitchen and living room), and any other projects are out of the way so we can have a fresh start in the morning. It does make a HUGE difference!

ChristyPA said...

Hi, I am new to homeschooling and have twins, which I think makes it easier that they are in the same grade. HOWEVER, I am having a tough time scheduling our days. Before we know it our day is over and we hardly got any schoolwork done. Is it possible for you to email me a clearer photo of your Morning Afternoon and Evening Schedule? I know we won't have all the same things but It would give me a good idea of how an organized home runs and may get me off to a better start for the new year. my email is womens_plus@Yahoo.com Thank you so much! Christy