Organization Tips for the New School Year
August 4, 2021
It’s a Balancing Act, Mama
Have you ever looked longingly at the Mama who seems to have it all together? I’ve got a secret for you—she wasn’t always that way! And she may not be as “together” as you think!
Even Mamas who appear organized with charts, schedules, and plans started where you are. Aren’t you glad your kids feel comfy at home and safe with you? Maybe your house isn’t picture-perfect, but when your little one raises his hand in prayer meeting to give his praise, “I’m thankful my Mama’s my teacher!” you can’t help but beam. You’re doing something right! Find tips and advice on organizing your new school year in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine:
And Mama . . .
Let me give you some perspective:
Was your week perfect? Did you fail at all? Were there any meltdowns (from you and/or the kids)? How about grief or pain . . . Any of that? Some of the kids run away or starve? Did the house burn down?
Another week in the life of a Mama—whose family strives for balance, not perfection. A Mama who loves her children with all her heart but also who keeps it real. A house that is so messy at times maybe it should burn down (at least it would be sterile), but hey, the important things got done this week, right?
If the school work wasn’t completed, if the kitchen smells bad (still), if the playroom looks like it went nuclear, if the ants are back because of all the crumbs, know this one thing: you kept the priorities. Your children were hugged; they laughed their heads off; there were meaningful conversations; they ate just fine, and they feel secure, safe, and loved by a Mama who’s not at all perfect—but never claimed to be! They see the REAL. They see what’s TRUE. Nothing phony going on at your house. You keep it genuine, and while you might not feel too balanced lately, even that, too, is OK because you’re striving for it. You lift your eyes to the One Who sustains you. Keep doing that, Mama. Give it some time.
Look at your plate. It’s full and spinning, Mama. Yet you manage to keep the important things balanced right in front of you. Well done. Eyes on Christ – don’t neglect that; it’s most important because He is the Author of balance. Guess what? His hand is on your head today.
Organizational Tips for a New School Year
Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed with planning for this next school year?
Here are a few tips to help you get ready for a new school year:
First, I encourage you to seek God and His guidance for your year. Seek His help in setting a few quarterly goals for each child and for your family. Here’s a link to a document from The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner that you can use to help with setting goals.
Second, I found that planning school a week at a time was more manageable than trying to plan a whole school year. I recommend using weekly academic assignment sheets for each child, so they know what they need to accomplish each day. They are great for helping your child become more responsible, plus they can be used for record-keeping as well as planning purposes.
Reviewing your curriculum to see how much needs to be done each week helps make preparing the assignment sheets easier (A math book with 180 lessons means doing one lesson a day if your school year is 180 days).
Last, I learned I needed a plan to keep up with meals and household responsibilities during the school year as well. Creating chore charts for each child and weekly meal plans eased my daily load because the children were helping me with housework, and I had a plan for food each day! This reduced my stress greatly and helped the children learn to manage a home.
The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner is a great tool that includes school-planning and record-keeping guides, meal planning, chore charts, and more. With the planner, you receive a digital download of all consumable documents. It’s the only planner you’ll ever need!
Raising Real Men
The Life You Live
I have a love/hate relationship with planning. I love for things to be organized. I do not love to be scheduled. We have friends whose days march by, each one the same, and schedules work well for them. Our days vary wildly. Some are calm and concentrated. Others we’re traveling the country speaking. Still others are interrupted by sickness or doctor visits. Besides, schedules make me feel trapped; the Lord knew what kind of life we’d live!
How can you plan if hour-by-hour, day-by-day scheduling doesn’t work for you—or you just don’t like it?
Look through each curriculum and decide how to adjust it. Although we love academics and our graduates have done well in college, I don’t think early elementary is the time for academic rigor, and I don’t do a lot of testing or a lot of written work in the younger years. It’s taken me a while to get the confidence, but now I modify curricula to suit us!
Figure out how much work you need to do in a week. A school year is typically thirty-six weeks, but I allow for thirty-two. That gives us an extra each quarter or so to catch up or to do hands-on and fun projects we have trouble getting to.
Then, at the end of each week, plan generally for the next. That allows me to adjust each week to fit what is going on.
Remember, homeschooling is very forgiving! Don’t stress over getting behind. You can cut out extras to finish on schedule, go longer, or decide enough is enough. Remember, you’re the BOSS and you have plenty of time. Don’t let your goals and plans distract you from the love of learning.
What a shame if we focus on getting a worksheet done and miss the joy of tracking down a child’s question, taking an unplanned day of exploration or joining friends for a spontaneous field trip. That kind of learning is what will spark your kids to want to keep learning. That will pay off in high school and college. A student who loves to learn and has the basic tools of learning will be fine!
Here are five of our favorite downloads FREE for some practical help doing that.
Hal & Melanie, but mostly Melanie since I’m the planner 🙂
Top 3 Tips for Homeschool Harmony
There are as many ways to schedule your day as there are ways to homeschool. Instead of fantasizing about some new notebook that will deliver organizational beauty beyond your wildest dreams, let’s get real. There are three keys to scheduling that will provide harmony in home education.
1. Put weak areas first.
Every student has a weak area; perhaps it’s writing or math or art. A parent may have a weak area too! I encourage you to focus on your weak areas, putting them first.
Put weak areas first with your time. Do the weak areas first during the school day. Make sure you never miss a day in that one area. It becomes your number one priority that you never skip. If you skip your weakest link, it can easily snowball out of control. Even if you must leave the house for the day, try to get the weak area done before you leave.
Put your weak area first with your money. It should be the first curriculum you buy, so you don’t blow your whole budget on subjects you already love. Reinvest in weak areas if the curriculum isn’t working, and the investment isn’t paying off. This is the one subject area where it will be worth getting new curriculum if you or your child hates it.
2. Plan a morning meeting.
Each morning, spend a few minutes reviewing assignments with your child. Make sure your child stays on task by setting expectations, clarifying any misunderstanding, and reviewing spelling words or vocabulary.
3. Invest in yourself.
Take the time you need to plan for the coming year. Invest in yourself as the home education professional that you are. When you buy curriculum for the students, buy some continuing education for yourself, as the teacher. Buying yourself even one book per year, helping you homeschool the coming season of life, will go a long way to gaining the confidence you need to be successful. Check out Amazon Kindle and Print books on homeschooling middle school and high school. Take my free online classes to solve your high school worries.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is a speaker and author of more than 30 books about homeschooling high school. An expert on homeschool transcripts and getting scholarships, Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. Grab some of the complimentary homeschool resources from Lee and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
Pillar of Faith
Diane Heeney – Welcome Aboard the USS Procrastination!
Running a tight ship. In our homes, this means that we have control, and things are run in an organized, efficient manner. We see God’s order and organization in everything from the seven days of creation to the intricate plans for the Tabernacle and Temple which would provide an earthly sanctuary for His presence. The lady in Proverbs 31 would never have been able to budget, invest, spin and sew, run her staff or exercise her enterprising and entrepreneurial skills without organization. Today I share one simple, inexpensive tip that can get your home into ship shape in no time!
Become a Schoolhouse Ambassador to homeschoolers in your area! Partner with The Old Schoolhouse® to make your group visible. Free training, product samples, curriculum, and more. Help us help others!
The Kentucky State Fair, which offers all sorts of educational activities for families, will be August 19th-29th. This year some of the activities will include: Time Travel with the Lewis & Clark expedition from Frazier History Museum, Mingle with Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Reptiles in the Aussie Kingdom, Test Your Skills in the hands-on Ford simulated assembly line, and MORE! Get the family together and visit: https://kystatefair.org/ Make your plans today!
Explore the world with SchoolhouseTeachers.com! Use code: EXPLORE at checkout to pay only $179 for a two-year Ultimate Membership (reg. $224.97/yr). Explore the World Tote included. Certain restrictions apply.
Looking for back-to-school ideas? Join 9000+ families who are SchoolhouseTeachers.com members and receive access to the exclusive Hey, Mama! Bright Spot event on 8/17 at 4 p.m. EDT. Come prepared to learn about back-to-school routines that you can try out this coming school year.
Looking for a homeschool community? Be sure to join the Explore the World of Homeschooling LIVE Facebook Party on Monday, August 16, from 3:30–5:00 EDT to learn how to join a growing community of over 9000 homeschooling families. Win prizes, listen to experienced homeschool moms, and be inspired. https://www.facebook.com/theoldschoolhouse
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is now available for FREE online! Click the graphic to read it cover to cover!
Congratulations to Ashley Dillon from Huntsville, AL, who won our June giveaway!
for the month of August
Blocks Rock LLC
Blocks Rock! is a STEM game created by Blocks Rock LLC. The game contains a set of different colored and shaped blocks, a timer, and two sets of cards. The blocks, made of wood, are very sturdy. The timer is a traditional looking bell timer. There are two sets of cards included. One set is large, colorful preschool STEM cards that help develop hand-eye coordination while learning shapes and colors. The other cards are smaller, the size of regular playing cards, and used for the Blocks Rock! challenges.
My students played this game together during their free time. They enjoyed the competition of the race to build. The packaging of the set makes it easy for them to pull out on their own and put away. It is compact enough that it stores away easily on a shelf. I was pleased to have a game like this available to them that worked on the development of STEM skills.
I would recommend this product. It is well-constructed and durable. I could see this being great for a preschool child and teaching shapes and colors. The product would grow with that same child as they develop and could do challenges so it will last longer than traditional preschool STEM toys. Both of my students are elementary age, and they both enjoyed the game so it covers a very wide range of ages.
This is part of a review for the Blocks Rock! building game. Read the full review on our site with much more information about using this in your home.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN Blocks Rock!
My School Year
Easily get organized with a one-month FREE trial to MySchoolYear.com Family Edition homeschool record keeping. Generate lesson plans, visually track progress & attendance, create report cards & transcripts, daily/weekly email reminders, reading logs, student logins, and so much more. All features available on your computer, tablet, and/or phone. Use promo code FREEBIE20 for another FREE month with annual membership.
This free product and more are found in our 2021 Freebie Directory: TOS Freebie Directory – The Old Schoolhouse®
Where is the fall harvest of God’s goodness and righteousness in your heart and in your house? Go through each season/stage of development with the author as she shares her wisdom, experiences, and what she has learned, and you’ll see a pattern of things to be doing (or not doing) to ensure a good harvest in your children’s lives and in your own heart. She promises to show you something optimistic and hopefully even beautiful.
Find more freebies at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Store: Freebies Archives – The Old Schoolhouse®
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