Early planning on your part will ensure that your kids get the best education and you'll spend less time worrying.
The first thing that needs to be accomplished is getting the whole house organized. Check out the Organized Home for a room by room guide to organize your home.
Depending on the size of your home and the number of children that you have, you may need to get a little creative. If at all possible, there should be a room set aside for school activities and posting homeschool schedules.
Organization for homeschooling can be a challenge, and if you don’t have a spare room, find the largest room in your house and dedicate as much space as possible to your children’s homeschooling needs. You'll also need to use this area to store the school supplies at the end of the day too, so think about the type of storage you are going to want: closed or open?
If you like open storage, then be sure that you have numerous bookshelves for encyclopedias, maps and other reference material. If you like closed storage, then purchase cabinets with doors or an armoire so you can put it all away and close it off at the end of the day.
I prefer closed storage because I don't like visual clutter. Just remember, whether you store your school supplies in open or closed shelving, contain it all in boxes and baskets so that it stays neat and contained and you can easily grab it the next morning.
The next step after your home is organized is to get your kids on a schedule, but first, you'll need to think about your family's daily rituals. Be sure to work in some time for yourself too so you can exercise, or just read a book.
Think about your kids natural rhythms, are your kids more alert in the morning versus the afternoon? When do you do the grocery shopping? Do you have a baby to feed? These are all valid questions and issues to think through and plan your homeschool schedule around for it to be successful.
So, when developing homeschool schedules, it's important to be flexible and go with the flow of life. Don't be so rigid in scheduling your kids activities that one illness and subsequent visit to the doctor throws the whole week off. Again, think about your family's daily rituals, set some goals for the week ahead and work towards accomplishing most, if not all of them during the week.
For instance, Kelly's two kids are 3 1/2 and 7, and this is how she breaks up her homeschool schedules:
"First and foremost I write out my homeschool goals for the week... in other words, what do I want to get accomplished this week.
This is typically what we do:
I read aloud at least 30 minutes a day and sometimes break it down into smaller chunks of time if the kids are restless.
Everyday we read aloud, do math, have bible lessons, get outside for some fresh air and exercise, and do some science. I try to incorporate my kids favorite subject(s) into the daily routine, and they really like science now.
Every week I make sure we work on history. Since my kids are at different stages, we work on assignments that require more concentration while my youngest is sleeping. I include my youngest child in other subjects like reading aloud, getting outside for exercise, and art.
"Hands on" learning is very important to me, so I like to get both my kids involved as much as possible and let them work through problems. I can actually see their little brains working, coming up with questions on their own and answering them as they work through lessons with my guidance and encouragement.
I use a homeschool organizer to track my kid's work on paper so I can visually see on paper how they are progressing. This relieves my stress and worry about those subjects we don't get to everyday like history."
So, if your challenge is having several children in different age groups. Include small children in the “hands-on” teaching subjects like reading aloud and art. If you decide to teach your children at the same time, just remember you'll need to spend more "hands on" time with your little ones and older children who are more patient, can spend more time reading by themselves or watching video-taped lectures.
You need to remember that you have many tools at your disposal and although sitting kids in front of a video might not be your first choice, it can be a good choice every so often. Plus, kids always enjoy taking a break from teaching and love watching videos.
One mistake that parents make when planning homeschool schedules is to overload their kids. Children learn at different rates and one of the advantages of homeschooling, is that programs can be tailored to suit a child’s individual needs. Take into account your child's individual needs and abilities when planning a homeschool schedule and be sure to not overload it.
If your child is particularly bored by a subject, spend a little less time on it, whether it is history, geography or science. Allow more time for those things that your child seems to be gifted in. Overloading a schedule will only frustrate you and your child.
It will take a little time to get your homeschool schedule just right, but don’t be afraid to change and rework it to fit your family's needs. Becoming a more organized mom will help your homeschool schedules flow better too.
And, as a result, you'll be less stressed, you'll get more done, and more importantly, your children will learn more too.
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