10 steps to keep your homeschool organized
Make sure you have the right space set up for yourself. This looks different for everyone and the ideal space, the dream space, the space that takes your breath away on Pinterest- all of these are not the right space. You need to evaluate where your home is now and accommodate to what your student needs based on the space you have and the material you can afford. In our family being a single income household meant getting creative with the bookcases we could find and organizing what we could from there. We didn't have much furniture but made it work with what we had. We ended up having a large beanbag chair and could snuggle up and do art or bookwork or read a read aloud while something is baking in the oven.
2. Keep subjects separate. Now this is not to say to keep subjects separate in your homeschool and how you teach, this is specifically referring to materials used in your homeschool. If you know where things go it keeps all of the moving parts to things together. This helps so much when your learners are older and taking on tasks with huge working parts. They come together and work well with one another. I will clear off shelves on the bookshelves in our rooms to do this so everything stays together but everything can also be located close together. This helps my kids know where to find things and I put them at their eye level to make sure they can find it. Spoiler alert: I'm still looking for stuff all the time.
3. Make time for organization. Everyone wants the organized home- everyone is also too tired to organize their home. For me, self-care is any attempt to come to balance within and that means a regulated and at peace nervous system. For me that will not always look like sitting down, face masks, fancy bath time although sometimes that is what I need and I love it! Other times I need to regulate and come back to center by working hard on making a room how the family needs it. Sometimes just how I need it in order for me to not place all of the extra items in the room on my mental load. Yes it may take a few hours to get it set up but ultimately it will help for weeks to have it set up in a way that makes more sense. For me, accepting self care under this definition has been huge for my progress in all areas of life from art to writing to cleaning to planning. Make time will come up a lot in this article, that is because I personally have learned it over and over again. We say we want things to change but then we say "I don't have the time for it!" Well, yes that is kind of the point of why starting something new is impressive when you stick with it- because no one believes they have the time in the beginning.
4. Be disciplined to find freedom. Discipline is the road to being truly free. If you want to have mobility you need to have the discipline to work out every day. If you want to live a long life you need to have the discipline to meal prep, cook ahead, and make sure you have a snack, so you don't rely on unhealthy fast-food options while you're out. Want to have a successful homeschool experience as a whole? I think you know what is coming next. Taking time to know your own weak points and evaluate yourself as a teacher and a mother- to get totally and sometimes (if it motivates you) brutally honest with yourself so you can follow Gods calling to be a better man or woman as a whole for them and ultimately for yourself.
5. Get in tune with your needs. Your needs are so important- so knowing how to start the day so you are ready for your kids in the best possible way you can be is important. All the more so when you are their mother, but you are also their teacher. We need to balance all of these relationships by realizing that school centralizes the place where learning happens to building but homeschooling takes that place and makes it the entire world. With the safety of your family of origin, you know you are in good hands and in tune with yourself. Many kids are able to access interests they otherwise wouldn't have had the time to do if they wanted to be a good student and keep up with all of the work assigned to them in school. Make sure your needs are met because they are going to express their needs. While we try to teach our children all about life they in turn teach us what life is all about.
6. Arrange often and if you're on a budget give yourself grace. Understand that you do not need to update your furniture to update how you are using your furniture. You can reaccommodate things to a better arrangement and reorganize things to be more accessible but also take up less space. The instagrammable homeschool room, while a gorgeous photoshoot and product placement display is not reflective of a functional home with science experiments happening in it. Please do not be discouraged that you are starting from a place that may look in somewhat or stark contrast to that- you are not comparing yourself with real life when you compare your space to something you saw on Instagram. However with that said once you clean one space even if it is 'just' a corner in a room then the rest of the space follows. You see a contrast and it will build on itself- it is kind of a creative endeavor to clean a space especially if it needs help a bit so don't be discouraged!
7.Don't be afraid to ask for help (Mentorship is awesome) There are so many homeschool coaches out there now and it helps to know that they are all networked with each other and know each other because they too, all once needed coaching themselves. The majority of homeschool moms could teach you and coach you so much...25 years down the line. As far as right now and what you need? It helps to have as many tools in the toolbox as possible to figure out how to take all of this wisdom and condense it to the needs of your family. Also needing another mother to talk to and seek guidance from doesnt make you a bad mother. It makes you a humble woman and you want to become who you really are within in the outside world. That takes work.
8.Weekly chore charts for everyone to focus on the same room. You are not an entire family mama, and so you do not have to work like you are. Take time to consider the strengths of each person in the household when it comes to chores, maitenence, projects- whatever feels overwhelming. In what ways could those strengths be played to? In what ways could the weaknesses be brought up and flexed but in a less uncomfortable way? I have a daily chore list for my son as well as a rotating weekly chore list that has a 'focus' room where we clean every 20 minutes. This acts as a visual chart because it shows my children what has been done as well. This helps them to see that there is housework always going on but it falls into the basic rhythms of life if you let it. It took me years to figure out what works best for our family and in some ways it does not all work the best way or I need to re-make some charts in order for them to even be read. It does not make my efforts not worthwhile though, so I keep that in mind and keep going until we find something that either works better or works like the old method did but in a new way. Either way this is what works for us now, but always be open to changing. It can be okay to throw away the plan to make room for something you know will work on a deeper and more peaceful level.
9.Make sure everyone in the family knows when things are happening. I like to have a check in every Sunday with how the week before went for everyone. What was the most memorable thing? What was the part that was challenging and what about it was? If there was something you could re-live through again and change, what would it be? These talks always provide the entire family with incredible insight into the upcoming week with our inner worlds. We also discuss any meal planning, meet ups, field trips, appointments or otherwise that we have going on that week in order to keep on top of things in advance.
10. Make time for planning. By that I mean the time to plan, the time to make the list, the time to write down the events in the Calander AND put them in digitally with reminders if you need, does not come from being completely random about how the day goes. This takes a lot of planning and thought to do- so you must make time for this activity. Planning is like a muscle and the more you flex it the more tuned your senses get to the needs of the family and what takes priority. Don't get discouraged and remember your why mama, you've got this!