Organization tips for homeschool momsGina Glenn
Everyone wants to be more organized, but there’s no magic wand to wave when it comes to getting it done. But, what is organized anyway? In the words of the creator of Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” With those wise words in mind, organizing really starts with how we spend our time. Simply put, organization is how we treat the time we’re given.
Organize your schedule
Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’. ~ Lao Tzu Click To Tweet
If we’re going to master the time we’re given, we need to change our view of time. Time is really property. Due to the nature of time, when it comes to organizing, we’ll have to first organize our schedules. Start creating your schedule by first creating a list. Not only is this a great first step to scheduling, it allows you to be detailed. For instance, don’t list “do school” on your list, be specific. List specific lessons you must accomplish, such as, “chapter of history reader.” And, hey, you’re homeschooling, so be sure to list all the things you do. Here’s a sample list to get you started based on my own home and homeschooling:
- load of laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away)
- math lesson (daily)
- unload and load dishwasher, run before bed
- vacuum 1x per week
- set out any meat for supper by 9 am
- online grocery order placed
- pick up groceries
- English grammar lesson
Your Own Big List
You get the idea. I made a long list called The Big List. You want to include every single thing you find yourself doing each week on your own Big List. From here, go through your list and move any items that are day specific to their corresponding day. For instance, if your trash runs on Monday, then you’ll want to include “take trash to curb” on that day.
After I’ve moved all items that are day specific to my weekly calendar, I circle the things that are non-negotiables. They simply must be done. I move those things to the weekly calendar and space them appropriately. These generally tend to be my household chores. I add in my homeschool responsibilities next. Now, at this point everything I do has a place in the normal flow of life. It gives me a daily checklist, and when life is perfect, everything gets checked off.
Organize your stuff
It’s great to have your time managed, but it can burden your time schedule to always deal with too much stuff. By stuff I mean things you’re not using, find yourself moving from storage to storage, and maybe even hoarding. It can be a challenge to get your family to help keep things well managed, but for most families it starts with mom. Do you have a plan in place to consistently deal with all the stuff you accumulate in the homeschooling years? I have always used a simple approach. I do a daily clean called the Hotel Clean. The other is the Quarterly Shakedown. And, I’m a homeschool mom! I’m forever culling books!
The Hotel Clean is the daily pick up each person of age is required to do. If you have littles, an older sibling or parent will have to assist. Basically, you make your bed, pick up your toys or whatever’s made its way to the floor, put your laundry where it should go depending upon if it’s dirty or clean, and remove any trash or dishes from bedrooms. As your kids get older, assign an area of the house to hotel clean to free you up. You can also designate one area among many children, as in the kitchen. Remember to add your Hotel Clean details to your Big List.
The Quarterly Shakedown is usually what struck fear in the hearts of my kids. I’m a no-mercy pitcher of things, so if they wanted to keep it, I needed an awfully good reason why. Otherwise, it was time to clean out toy boxes, closets, and bookshelves. If they hadn’t played with it in a year, worn it in a year, or had a good reason to keep it, it became donation material. When the kids were little, we did pass things down. But, I’m generally not a storer. Out out sight was out of mind, and I found myself buying things I had stored.
Organize your school
Organizing your homeschool goes hand-in-hand with your overall house organization. You have to be able to find what you need in a timely manner in order to have an effective schedule. Because of this, it helps to have an organized school space. Even if you’re doing school at your kitchen table, a small bookcase dedicated to school books and supplies can be helpful. Once your homeschool stuff is organized, your homeschooling schedule becomes simpler. You can use what’s provided by your curriculum, or even use The Big List method above.
Extra organization ideas
You can get started organizing today. Here are some fun ways to organize your homeschool stuff.