Getting Ready For a New Homeschool Year in Just One DayApril Elstrom
Whether you have a designated school room or your homeschool has invaded your
dining room whole house, school materials typically become disorganized by the end of a school year. If you’re like me, you had good intentions of spending your summer sprucing up your school area and organizing everything. If you’re really like me, the new school year is now staring you in the face and you still haven’t touched the mess.
So, what’s a homeschool mom to do? Enlist the kids!
Seriously! It can be a fun day of working together and building excitement for the new school year. Throw supper in the crock pot, turn on some music, and rally the troops!
Clear Off the Table and Get Ready For a Big Mess
Have each student who is old enough to read sort through their own completed schoolwork. If you need to keep a portfolio, or if you keep files of completed schoolwork, then select a few pieces of their best work to save. Otherwise, toss out the used workbooks and empty out their notebooks. This process will usually be full of memories and discoveries, and you might be surprised at what projects or lessons they remember most fondly. Have your children stack all the textbooks and materials they’ve finished in one place for you to put away later.
Organize the School Supplies
Whichever students finish sorting through their schoolwork first can straighten up the school supplies. Toss out stubby pencils, and throw away dried-out markers. Organize the remaining supplies into their own caddies, and make a list of anything you need to replace for the year. Yes, this is where you’ll want your little list-maker. I hope you have one. Every mom deserves a list-making child.
Hand Out New Materials
When each student has emptied their school area, start handing out their new materials. Let them look through their books and enjoy listening to their commentary. We use milk crates to organize, so my kids put their new curriculum into their own crates. If you use shelf areas, have them put them on their shelf.
This is a time to promote anything new that you’ve bought and explain why you’re trying something new. Set aside a shelf or area for any shared materials that will be used with Mom, but show the books to your children anyway. Give each child a new spiral notebook, composition book, or pencils for the year. It doesn’t have to be much, but something to symbolize the fresh start of a new school year.
Organize Your Grading Area
By this point, your kids have either wandered off or have started doing the first pages in their handwriting books and math books. So now it’s time to get yourself organized. Put all your answer keys and teacher’s manuals on one shelf or in one basket, however you organize your school area. Your planning book should also be stored here. I like to keep a few pens for myself separately from the kids’ supplies. This includes a nice pencil or pen for my planner as well as some red or green pens for grading. But planning can wait for another day.
Clean Up the Mess
Take the trash out. File away the saved papers. Make two stacks of books. One you will use again, and one you might want to sell or give away. Put away the books you’ll use again and store the rest somewhere else. If I’m selling books, they go in a box by my computer desk. If I’m giving them away, I put them in a tote bag in my car to donate to homeschool friends or a thrift store later.
This last step doesn’t have to happen on the same day. It doesn’t take much time. This isn’t even necessary, but it’s fun. Did you buy a new wall map or learning poster of some sort? Display it! We do school in our dining room, and I do have a world map on my dining room wall. This year I bought a small white board to add to the wall. I plan to use it for writing prompts and daily lesson reminders.
Bring On the New School Year
It may not seem likely, but it really is possible to get the school mess under control in just one day with everyone working together. It doesn’t have to be complicated. This isn’t the time to institute a new system. This is just a matter of clearing out the old school stuff, putting misplaced items back where they belong, and bringing in the new school books.
As an added benefit, giving your children a sneak peek of their new materials and supplies can get them excited for a new school year.
I’ll be implementing this strategy myself in just a few days. Once the children and I get ourselves organized, I will be able to focus on some last minute lesson planning. Yes, I let the summer slip away without tackling that little project, too.
How about you? Do you have any tips for last-minute school preparation?