Years ago I taught 2nd grade in a public school. And while I loved teaching my students–I sure did love my teacher work days! These are days carved out on the calendar for teachers to get work done–without students! Sometimes they’re called Professional Days or Inservice Days–but regardless of what you call these special work days…Homeschool Moms need them too! Let’s dig into 5 reasons homeschool moms need teacher workdays!
**Side Note: I know, I know…Most of us homeschool moms don’t have the luxury of actually having a workday without students! But I bet the kids won’t argue with you about getting the day off! Send them to clean their rooms or the playroom, and you won’t hear a peep from anyone for about 2 hours (at least)! Warning: Rooms will not be cleaned and may end up even messier!
1. Get Organized
I always start the new school year with great intentions of keeping myself organized daily…
But then life happens…Suddenly I’ve got piles of Freshman English Papers mixed in with Biology Exams mixed in with the Artwork of my 4 year old twins…I am so GUILTY of creating piles!
Use your teacher workday to declutter all those piles!
- Decide what needs to be thrown out.
- Put papers you are saving away. I use a 3-ring-binder for each of my kiddos where I save tests, writing samples, and other work that’s extra cute or demonstrates growth! It basically becomes a very simple portfolio! My 9th grade daughter‘s is divided by subject, and my first grader son’s is chronological (I love seeing how young students change so much from the beginning to the end of the year)!
TIP: For larger projects or artwork–take pictures and then add them to the binder. Or create and save digital files to Homeschool Folders on your computer!
We don’t have portfolio or work sample requirements in my state–but if you do, teacher workdays are a perfect time to make sure you are keeping everything you need!
In addition, by the end of quarter (about 9 weeks) I end up with disorganized shelves and piles of books and curriculum! So teacher workdays are the perfect time to make all the shelves look pretty again!
2. Grades and Record Keeping
I’m not really a “formal,” grade keeper for elementary or even early middle school. We take a mastery approach to learning, and I just don’t see much point in keeping track of grades…
But, high school is a whole other beast!
Detailed and accurate record keeping and grade reporting are some of the primary responsibilities I have as homeschool mom at the high school level!
She gave me so much peace of mind about the whole entire thing…I highly recommend attending her webinars or reading her e-books–you will learn a ton (like what can count for high school classes, how to get scholarships, and how to simplify your homeschool)! I use her Total Transcript Solution and her Comprehensive Record Solution for creating high school transcripts and course descriptions.
3. Evaluate Goals
Homeschool moms may know better than anyone–life happens!!
Teacher workdays are the perfect time to re-focus and evaluate progress.
It’s great to set goals at the beginning of the school year–but we have to be intentional about analyzing our progress! Sometimes we get behind because of life (sickness, babies, family moves, etc…)–but sometimes our children need extra time learning certain skills, which maybe we didn’t initially anticipate while plotting out our year!
This is the beauty of homeschooling–meeting the unique needs of your child and tailoring his or her education! Remember, it’s not a race–and even if it was…homeschooling is a marathon!!
Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t as far along in your curriculum as you planned to be! Instead, make small quarterly goals and work towards meeting 3 important milestones for each child.
For example, by the end of this quarter I want my son reading Level 1-2 books independently and to know 75 sight words. His reading goals are my primary focus this quarter. I also want to be sure all addition facts through 20 are memorized.
These aren’t goals in the curriculum I’m using–I just see that they are areas needing extra focus, and I’m going to make sure these 3 items get prioritized this quarter!
I have some helpful goal and quarterly planning sheets in my Homeschool Year-at-a-Glance Long Range Planner! (It’s free to my subscribers and part of my Free Subscriber Resource Library.)
4. Order New Curriculum or Supplements
Sometimes we just know something isn’t working…We’ve given the curriculum time–but there is no way you (or your kiddos) can bear another day!
It happens to all of us!
During a teacher workday, in addition to evaluating your child’s progress–it’s a good time to evaluate what might need to change with your curriculum!
Hopefully nothing drastic needs to be altered–but often we realize there are some areas that could use supplementing!
Maybe you need some new math games or puzzles for geography. For me–my 9th grade daughter’s grammar program was not a good fit. I decided on a simple supplemental workbook (The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need) for the 2nd semester.
Here are some posts that might give you ideas if you are looking at new supplements or curriculum:
- Top 12 Favorite Homeschool Curriculums
- The Best Curriculum for Kindergarten
- Top 10 Favorite Math Manipulatives
- The Best 8th Grade Curriculum–For Me!
- Saxon Math vs. Teaching Textbooks
5. Learn a New Teaching Strategy or Style
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Waldorf, Classical Education, or Unschooling? Whew?! There are so many fascinating teaching styles and philosophies–I tend to mix lots of them together! I’ll call my homeschool style: Relaxed, Eclectic, Classical…with a side of unschooling! (HA!)
Classroom teachers are required to attend regular training where they learn new teaching techniques and how to better identify and meet the unique learning styles of their students.
And many of us have homeschool book lists a mile long…Give yourself an afternoon to really dig into some new learning!
Two of my favorite homeschool mom books:
- The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, By Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
- Homeschooling From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace, By Sarah Mackenzie
Educating your children is such important work–you deserve (and they deserve) time set aside for growing and learning!
So don’t be afraid to take advantage of webinars, conferences, podcasts, blogs, and books–you owe it to yourself and your kiddos!
What I really love after a teacher workday is my sense of renewed purpose!
I am refreshed, refocused, and recommitted to giving my children the best education I can provide them!
We all need to refill our cups–so we can pour back into and bless our families!
I highly encourage you to sprinkle in regular “Teacher Workdays!” Taking a cue from my local school district–there’s almost one built into every month! Personally, I make it a priority about once a quarter–especially for keeping up with high school grades and re-evaluating goals!
And remember, Sweet Homeschooling Mamma–you are amazing!