The holiday season always throws me a bit…super fun and busy—but my normal routine has been lost somewhere in the apple pie, wrapping paper, and hours of binge watching the Crown. So ringing in the New Year is much like Cinderella at midnight…the party’s over! Time to re-evaluate, re-dedicate myself to healthy habits, and re-acclimate to reality! Today I’m sharing tools and the Homeschool Planner I created to help me get organized —and I hope they will help you get more organized too!
Organization and Mental Health
For me—keeping organized is a big part of healthy living. I’m prone to anxiety. Also prone to stuffing things in drawers and closets. (Sort of a vicious cycle!) But the less clutter—the more peace I feel. So because it’s not my nature to be organized, I have to be intentional about my habits at home.
Establishing Housekeeping Habits
I will be going to the FlyLady for help—I’d be such a mess without her! Her help and plans are totally FREE! She will help you too—don’t get overwhelmed by all her website has to offer. Start at the beginning, and jump in where you are!! (And as she always says, “You can do anything for 15 minutes!”)
I’ve been applying the FlyLady’s philosophy nearly 15 years. And for me, her system boils down to four basic daily chores…
1) Keeping the kitchen sink clean
2) Making my bed
3) Doing a load of laundry every day
4) Cleaning one bathroom daily (just wiping things down)
In addition, I try to follow her advice to tidy-up “hot spots,” for 15 minutes a day, and do a once a week “home blessing.” (AKA—dusting, vacuuming, windows, etc…for one hour.)
Here are printables I’ve created to help me work on those basic habits:
Utilize Lists and Your Calendar
Lists also do wonders for my mental health—decluttering my mind! With 6 kids—my life would be a complete hot mess without utilizing my calendar and lists.
My husband spent about three years trying to convince me to use our computer’s calendar (which is synced with my phone calendar)…I wasn’t having any of it. I just wanted my paper calendar—leave me alone! But finally I caved and went digital. Honestly, I don’t think we could manage without having the online calendar…If you haven’t tried it yet—I highly suggest you give it a go in 2018! My favorite benefit—because it’s a shared calendar, my husband now has a clue about what’s going on around here!
Keep It Simple
So if you’re like me and organization isn’t second nature to you…I say keep it simple! There is no way I could work within a complicated organization system. Over the years I’ve come up with a simple way to organize my thoughts—and multiple to-do lists. I like to keep it all on one page:
Getting Your Homeschool Organized
After homeschooling for 14 years…sometimes I find myself flying by the seat of my pants. Which is fine every once in a while (trust me—classroom teachers spend plenty of days winging it too). But really, I feel so much more effective and ready for the day when I utilize lesson plans. Here are some of my favorite lesson planning tools…
For Pre-School and Primary Grades, I truly believe the main focus should be Reading (with Writing incorporated) and Math. Everything else is icing on the cake! Science and History can easily be integrated in gentle ways that connect to what your child is already excited and curious about! Currently I’m using this planning sheet for my Kindergarten son:
For Upper Elementary and Middle School, I like a more comprehensive lesson plan—and one that begins to teach kids to be more independent and take more ownership of their work (read this post to see how that looks for my middle school daughter). I’ve been using this style of planner for many years:
And of course…most weeks things don’t go exactly as planned! I’ve got a great planning/journaling sheet that helps me record what we actually did, along with any notes about student learning I want to be mindful of and document. This would also be a great planning and record keeping page for families utilizing an unschooling approach to their homeschool!
You can grab all the planning pages we just talked about—plus more (27 total pages) to keep your home and school running as smoothly and simply as possible!
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Here’s to your best year yet! May God bless your family, home, and homeschool in the New Year!!