With books in hand, it is time to start the homeschool year.
Some families like to follow the same structure of a traditional school system – which means starting school in the fall. This is what our family does. It works better with our schedule.
Other families like to start in January and work through until December, with breaks off here and there as they need them. And there are some who homeschool year round.
No matter what you decide to do, choose an option that works for you. One of the perks of homeschooling is that you can make these kinds of decisions.
It is just as important to give yourself, and your child, a break from school at least one day a week. Some families practice homeschooling six days per week, others do so only five. Again, select the type of education model that is right for your child and your lifestyle.
Now that you are getting back to school, it is time to get organized. There is a lot to do to get ready for a new school year.
Start the Homeschool Year with Organization
Perhaps the biggest aspect to tackle when starting a new homeschool year is organization. Having a place dedicated to homeschool is not necessary – but it is oh, so helpful. There are lots of supplies, reports, and things to keep up with involving homeschool.
Trying to set up and take down every day at the kitchen table will get old really fast.
Dedicate a place in your home for homeschool.
You need a table and chair(s) and probably a shelf or cabinet to store supplies. This will help you to stay focused. Remember, with everyone home more often, and everyone so active with schooling, things can get messy quickly.
Here are some tips to help you to get organized so that homeschool can be the focus.
- Get rid of any junk in the areas where you will homeschool. If you do not need it, it is just cluttering up your home. Get rid of it so that you have plenty of room for all of the curriculum and school supplies you will need room for. In the beginning, it is easy to just collect everything you could possibly ever use for homeschool – but soon your space will get overwhelmed. Cleaning out regularly helps.
- Create a schedule for daily activities. Laundry and household chores often get left to the side since homeschooling is the focus of most at home parents. It can be helpful to get a schedule going that allows you to tackle all of your at home jobs while still getting homeschool done. Try to give everyone in the family assigned chores so that not everything is falling on your shoulders. Assigning chores and keeping a family schedule of when things are done will be immensely helpful.
- Get your home organized. Be sure that everything in your home has its own home. Where does mail go? Where do plates go compared with dishes? Where are toys stored? Where will homeschooling supplies be located? Anything that is just laying around is going to get lost or it is going to get in the way, which may be just as bad! You just thought clutter bothered you before. Wait until you’re home all day with all your kids.
- Recognize how much time homeschool takes and account for it. Keep big jobs for those days when you have extra time, or a spouse has a day off. This way, you are not worried about scrubbing windows and handling math work.
It is also important to realize that if you homeschool, it will be hard to keep up with everything always. In other words, be a bit more forgiving of the mess. What you may find is that it is a lot easier to focus on a quality education if your home is in good condition but it does not have to be perfect.
Protect your “spaces”. Making sure that laundry items don’t end up in the kitchen and homeschool items aren’t strewn across bedrooms will give you tons of piece of mind.
Your Homeschool Area
Your homeschool area is going to be a highly personalized space that will evolve the longer your homeschool your kids. Making sure that your space works for your family is the most important thing.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Have a box that has a lid on it that is used to store items like pens and crayons. In a separate box have craft supplies. This keeps them at arm’s reach but all organized and put away so that you do not have to worry about them.
- If your child has a lot of papers, use binders to organize them. Be sure to keep subjects as separate as possible to keep the focus on a single area. Also, be sure that if there are a lot of separate items, each one should be stored in a specific location.
- There should be an area for you to store your lesson plans, the curriculum guides and your grading records. This way, you can easily keep things organized but also it allows you to have your own items separate from those of your Childs.
- Keep all books, reference material and even a computer (if you will be allowing them) in this area.
- Keep up after it all! Be sure that after every lesson, things get put away. Again, establishing a plan here is incredibly important.
I use my Homeschool Binder every day. It helps me plan lessons, organize paperwork and keep up with attendance. I would truly be lost without it. Both of my daughters have student binders as well.
These steps can help you to set up an area within your home that is easily organized and well outfitted for education. Usually you can find decent sales during the early fall or late summer months. Buy extra if you have space for them and store them for when you will need them at other times of the year. Or just utilize what you have. Simply by repurposing some items you may find you have all the organizational items you need.
Setting Up a Homeschool Schedule
The location is set up and your home is organized, now, time to on the schedule. While you may think that the schedule is all about homeschooling, it should be all about home management. The best way to stay organized is to make homeschooling part of your overall schedule. Day in and day out, you will know what to do, as will your child, and when to do it. This will help to strengthen your homeschooling success in both the short and the long term.
A plan for the school year is important. Take some time now if you have not done so to write down your goals for the year. What do you hope to accomplish with your child? Next, break up the school year into quarters, so that you can track their progress towards their goals every few weeks. Quarters should have goals too, which can help you to stay on track throughout the year.
Now that you have an idea of what your schedule is like, you can incorporate a curriculum. In other words, focus on how your curriculum will work within the schedule you have set. Most curriculums that you will purchase will help you to cover this, in a step-by-step fashion. Or you can piece together your curriculum and fit it into your schedule.
After all, one of the main benefits of homeschooling is to be able to work around your family’s schedule. So take into consideration your family’s goals and extracurricular activities when setting up your schedule.
Next, let’s put it all together in a schedule.
Need more homeschool help? Check out these links: