Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. All opinions expressed are my own.
One thing every homeschool family knows is that the lines between school and family life get blurry at times and without intentional effort your days can become disorganized in a hurry. I’ve never met a mother who didn’t want her home to run smoothly, but I also have never met a mom who has it all figured out. So here’s my contribution to the discussion about how to keep your homeschool days organized. I focus on three areas.
Devote Time to Review Lessons & Gather Materials
No two homeschooling families are created equal. Some families use a complete homeschool curriculum package (ie, Sunlight, Abeka, etc) while others prefer to pick and choose their curricula for each subject. No matter the path you choose you’re still going to need to devote time—weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—to looking over upcoming lessons, preparing any special materials you’ll need, and possibly finding supplemental activities.
I prefer to devote time weekly to prepare. Everything seems to run more smoothly when I’ve been able to get in a quiet room by myself to look over lesson plans. Typically this is how I spend my Sunday afternoons. I’ll gather up all the books and lesson plans for the week, find some good music on my computer, and spend the next few hours alone focused on outlining the week ahead.
By the way, this is a good opportunity for homeschool dads to make a contribution. When my husband keeps the boys occupied I’m able to really focus and get everything done that needs to be done for the week ahead. It gives them some time to make memories and it gives me my sanity. That’s what I call a win-win!
Use a Homeschool Planner
My experience as a homeschooling mommy has taught me that a lesson planning system is a must. A good planner will give you a quick snapshot of all the lessons to cover in a daily or weekly snapshot. The more time you put into this visual reference on the front end the better it will serve you throughout the week.
A number of paper planners are available, but so much of my life is already organized online so a web-based planner makes more sense for me. Currently I’m using Homeschool Planet. It was created by the folks at Homeschool Buyers Co-op and it goes beyond what you’d expect of a lesson organizer to truly fit the lifestyle of a homeschooling mommy.
Homeschool Planet is a completely customizable online homeschool organizer that is as flexible as you need it to be. This tool will take a little time to set up, but once you’ve entered all of your students, their subjects and schedules, your weekly lesson planning time will be a breeze.
Advantages of an Online Homeschool Planner
- It accounts for variations in your weekly schedule. When setting up Homeschool Planet, you start by determining when your school year will start and what holidays you plan to take then it will automatically calculate the number of school days. YAY! No more counting!! If you have a bible study or co-op during the week you can drop that in the schedule and shift the rest of your schedule around accordingly. Every busy mom knows that no one week is like the one before it, so a planner that only requires a click or two of the mouse to make all the necessary adjustments is a must.
- It adjusts lessons due to unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, Homeschool Planet does what a paper planner could never do—it accounts for missed days. When something comes up and you don’t complete a lesson simply mark the lesson you missed and Homeschool Planet will update your lesson plans. How’s that for control?
- It automatically generates daily digests. You can set these to be emailed each day or you can login in and print out a digest for the whole family or for each individual student. This is a dream for mommy’s whose kiddos are doing most of their work independently. I like to print out a list for Lil’ Man and stuff it in a folder with the worksheets he needs each week. Which brings me to my next point.
Organize Your Student
Organized students equal an organized homeschool. The best way we have found to keep Lil’ Man organized is by giving him a to-do folder with all of his independent work for the week. Each week I’ll prep his folder by stuffing it with the worksheets and other assignments he’ll need to complete. Along with a daily digest, his to-do folder has everything he needs to start his school day.
I recommend getting something sturdy. The paper folders will be shot by Thanksgiving. Spend the few extra dollars on a vinyl, portfolio-style folder with pockets. You won’t regret it.
No one ever said homeschooling is easy, but with a little extra work before the school year starts and some time each week to get focused your homeschooling journey can be the joyful (and organized) experience for your family that you want it to be.
How do you keep your homeschool day organized?
Find out More About Homeschool Planet Online Planner
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If you have been looking for a single, easy-to-use homeschool planner for home and school, Homeschool Planet is worth checking out! Homeschool Buyers Co-op will give you a 30-day free subscription, so that you can try it out on your own schedule and with no risk.
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