By TMoM Team Member Suzy Fielders
We began my daughter’s homeschool adventure when she entered sixth grade. You can read a little more about why we choose this journey here. At the time, I was a single mom and working full-time, so being organized was not just a desire but a necessity. Today, we are currently in our third year of homeschooling and my daughter is in her last year of middle school. Along the way I have learned a lot not just about homeschooling, but how to stay organized.
Below are a few tips I recommend to busy homeschool moms. They worked well for us and hope they can help others!
Utilize Google Tools
Google is not just a search engine or even email platform, they have a whole array of FREE tools that are great for staying organized.
This year we used a Google sheet to track all my daughter’s schoolwork. I created a tab for each week and all the subjects she must complete is on that week’s worksheet. Below is a quick screenshot of what ours looks like. But the beauty of this tool is you can input and rearrange the cells to fit your child’s schedule and their academic needs! You will notice on ours there are check boxes, this way I can see what my daughter has completed, and it holds her accountable for keeping track of her work.
Another amazing tool is Google Docs. This is great for papers or projects for many reasons. One, hello “autosave function!” Next, they can easily share it with you. Plus, it is accessible anywhere you have an internet connection. Best of all, you both can work from the same document at the same time. Another great feature is you can tag your child in the comments and it will notify them. Lastly, it basically has most of the functions of Word, but it is free!
Other great tools that are perfect for organizing homeschool dates and information are the Google Calendar and Google Drive.
Purchase a Homeschool Organizer
There are many options on the market. So, it is really about how detailed you want it to be and what price point is in your budget. We used the one pictured below.
- Year at a glance calendar
- Instructional materials chart
- Attendance record sheet
- Report card sheets for 4 quarters
- Reading list record sheet
- Student work – to keep track of all graded assignments
- Weekly lesson plan blank sheets for the entire year
- Numerous blank recap and notes pages
If you are interested in purchasing this one you can get it here on Amazon. I loved that it was inexpensive and under $10!
Have a Calendar You Love – and Will Use!
I utilize Google calendars for all my electronic calendars as I can easily see everything on my phone calendar. Another great tip is to have color coding calendar system. This is great to keep track of different children or subjects. It allows you to easily see and register which items are for which child or subject.
Choose a Schedule that Works for Your Family
One of the easiest ways to stay organized is having time to do so. The best way to do that is create a homeschool schedule that works with your family’s schedule. If you and/or the kids would rather sleep in, then kick off the school day later. Or, if you work on weekends and have children above 8 or 9 years old, then utilize those as school days and give them assignments they can complete on their own. Then, you can enjoy your workdays off together! Always remember, the best thing about homeschool is you can create your own schedule. You are not confined to stick with the standard school calendar.
Another important thing to utilize which helps keep the schedule flexible is real-life learning. Not all lessons plans have to be with books when you homeschool. Teach your kids math through grocery shopping or cooking. Teach them science, and bonus get exercise for P.E., through outdoor nature walks.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
This might not seem like an organization tip, but it truly is. If you miss a subject, lesson, or even day, cut yourself some slack. Do not feel confined or beat yourself up that it did not get complete that day. The people that appear the most organized, understand this particularly important lesson.
Again, the beauty of homeschooling is flexibility. It is a wonderful organizational tool to keep things from feeling ‘stale’. There are numerous studies on how flexibility promotes change and growth within any culture, that includes a homeschool environment. Therefore, when you are organizing your lesson plans keep in mind it is okay if things occasionally veer of course for a day or two. Sometimes those days end up teaching us, and our children, the most valuable life lessons!
Visit TMoM’s Homeschool Directory here.
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