Taking Breaks

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

                       

 

Do you take breaks during the school year? As we are approaching Easter, I encourage you to take a break from your school routine. This will help you and your children to relax a little. It will also help your children to absorb the lessons you have been teaching them.

Sometimes, we get a litte gung-ho as homeschool teachers and want to just keep pushing through the lessons. I want to caution you that this approach is hard on you and your children.

Take a week off and do some fun things! If you have some areas in your house you need to declutter, work on one at a time and have a reward each day.
Taking a week off gives you some balance in your life. It gives you and your children a chance to do some different things.

You can take that field trip you have not been able to fit in. You can break out the craft supplies that you keep meaning to get out. You can read that book that you wanted to read.

Have some fun this spring!

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your Living Room.

 

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.

My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and a salad.

Have a great day!

Zone Missions: The Living Room
Monday – Declutter flat surfaces and dust

Tuesday – Detail Dust the Ceiling Fan and Other Areas

Wednesday –  Go Sofa Diving

Thursday – Declutter something your do not need in the Living Room.

Friday – Clean under the Living Room Furniture
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Clean Under Your Bed Today

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Do you have a regular planning day? This is when you would plan your menu, plan school work for the next week, review school work, pay bills, make appointments, etc. While these are often the things you procrastinate, each of these activities is important to the smooth running of your home.

On Friday, I spent some time doing these type of “desk time” activities. Planning a menu often stumps many of us. My menu rotation is usually in these emails. I would say that we follow what I put down 95% of the time. There are days when we switch the menu around. There are times when we decide to fix something else. The main purpose of my menu plan is to help me not have to think about it every day. I just have to check my menu plan each morning for that day.

Here are some ideas I have on making menu planning easier for you:
  • Work as a team to plan the weekly menu
  • Keep it simple
  • Teach children how to make a grocery list and help with grocery shopping
  • Teach them about budgeting
  • Teach them to cook (Then you can rotate who the head chef is each day.)
Reviewing lessons and planning for the next week is also a part of my Friday morning planning time. I keep my lesson plans simple. If a book is divided into lessons, you do not have to specifically write down for them to do “Lesson XYZ.” You can just have a check off box for math. Same for spelling. For reading, you can just write down page numbers. The simpler you have it, the easier it is for you and them to implement. You want to spend more time teaching and less on writing elaborate lesson plans.

You will want to set up a regular time to pay bills based on how often you receive income. I file bills to be paid in order of date due. On Friday, I will pull the next week’s bills and schedule payments. The only checks I write are for our church tithe and our power bill.

Set aside time to check your calendar and set up appointments for yourself and your children. Do the best you can to keep the appointments from completely disrupting your school day.

If you are wondering how I do all of this on Friday morning and teach, I have always used Monday through Thursday as heavy school days for paperwork. On Friday, we do more hands on learning. They also have Friday as a buffer for anything they did not complete earlier in the week. This has worked well for us for many years. They are learning on Friday. It is just not done in a traditional way.

Today’s Zone Mission is to clean under your bed.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Setting Academic Goals for Your Children

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

As we are getting into the spring season, you might be looking at plans for your next school year. This is a great time to evaluate where you are with this school year. It is a good time to evaluate your child’s school year.

Have they progressed like you wanted them to?

If not, what area do you need to focus on next year with them?

Did you like the materials you used this year?

If not, write down some things that you would like to see in a curriculum.
You can set goals for each child. They do not all have to be academic, but by knowing some of these, you can better choose books and activities.
  • Academic Goals
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Life Skills
  • Social and/or Community/Church Service
  • Life Goals
In the spring and summer, spend time talking to your spouse, praying, and making some goals. If you have teens, talk to them about their goals and interests. You know what types of things bring your children joy. Find educational ways to make these things a part of your school.

This will help you guide their educational pursuits for the year.

Don’t buy books for the sake of buying books. Be discerning. Whoever has the most books is not necessarily the best homeschooler.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter floor of the closet and shoes.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.

Have a great day!
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Zone Cleaning for Your Children

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

As you know, we break the house down into Zones for detail cleaning. The FlyLady has also written a Student Control Journal to your children. In it, she helps them break their bedrooms down into Zones. Each day of the week, they focus on a different area of their room. By the end of the week, they will have worked their way through their room.

You can download a free copy of the Homeschool Student Control Journal for your children to build their routines, but here is an overview of how they would break their room down into Zones.
  • Monday – Wash Sheets and Make Bed; Clean Under Bed
  • Tuesday – Closet (Rotate floor, hanging clothes, shelfs, etc. each week)
  • Wednesday – Floor (Under Furniture, too.)
  • Thursday – Desk/Flat Surfaces – Declutter & Dust
  • Friday – Detail Clean Bathroom or Declutter Chair or Anything Stacked in the Room
By using this technique, you do not have to use blanket statements like this: “Go clean your room.” Instead, you can be more precise. You can ask them if they have asked their bedding and made their bed on Monday (or whatever day you choose for each person to wash their bedding.)

Think about ways that you can provide tools for your child to be successful in keeping his or her room cleaned.

Do they have a basket for dirty clothes?

Do they have a trash can?

Do they have adequate storage for their clothes?

Have you taught them how to sort laundry and wash their clothes?

There are many tools and ways of encouraging your children to take care of their rooms. Please feel free to ask any questions. This area is always a work in progress for children. It takes patience and persistence in your training.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter 1 dresser drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is a beef roast and vegetables.

Have a great day!
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Are you drowning in clothes and laundry?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
                        
How is your laundry system working? As the weather is warming up for many of us, it is time to purge clothes. Just by purging clothes, you will improve your laundry process.

Today, let’s spend 15 minutes purging clothes that do not fit or are worn out. This is something your children can do, too. Ask them to bringyou anything that does not fit, or that they do not like. Start a box for giveaway items.

Even though I do this monthly, I will usually have a bag full of things to donate when we switch seasons out.

You want to have enough clothes for several days for yourself and your children. You want to be able to contain all of your clothes in the areas designated for clothing. If you are living out of laundry baskets, you need to declutter.

In our house, each person has a dresser for folded clothes. Each person has a place for hanging clothes. When a load of laundry is washed and dried, we fold it or hang it and put it away. It is a habit that we have developed. It is not easy to break the habit of living out of baskets, but it is possible.

The first step is to have a place to put the clean clothes. If you have to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering clothes, then put that in your afternoon or evening schedule for a week or two. You can declutter the items in one drawer in less than 15 minutes. You can divide the closet up in sections and declutter 15 minutes at a time.

Resist the urge to dump everything out in the floor. If you want to dump it, then dump it into a black trash bag and donate it. I am not making light of this, but I do know the pitfalls of dealing with clothes for a large family. I am trying to keep you from living in clutter and not burning you out cleaning all the time.

If you have less stuff and fewer clothes, you will have less to maintain.

Today’s Zone Mission in the bedroom is to declutter clothes.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is tacos and a salad.

Have a blessed day!
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Homeschooling with Little Ones

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

                 

 

A couple of months ago, I wrote about homeschooling with little ones in the house. I had several questions about activity ideas, so I thought all of you might like some ideas if you have young children at home.

When we started homeschooling in 2000, my children were 10, 5, 1, and one on the way. They are currently 26, 22, 17, 15, 13, and 10. I had to learn ways to entertain and occupy my little ones, so I could homeschool the older children. It took creativity. It took a willingness on my part to let the little ones learn and explore through arts and crafts when they were big enough to do that.

The first thing to remember in messy playtime is that your children are washable. Their clothes are washable, too. It is possible to have a quiet place to do you out loud reading with all of the children in the room with you. They can color, use markers, playdough, or colored pencils while you do out loud reading and instruction to the older children.

My older children also enjoyed the creative arts and crafts, so I would also let them spend some time doing these activities while I was talking or reading to them. They could remember what I was reading to them even though they looked busy with their artwork.
So my first go-to activity became anything that involved plain paper and some sort of art medium.

I also learned to rotate toys for my younger ones. They had special toys that they got to play with during school time. This made it special for them.

Rotating where they are in the house with you also works in distracting them when they are bored of one room. Little ones have a short attention span. You can homeschool in a lot of places in your home. I would read with my children in the living room some mornings instead of at the kitchen table. Sometimes, we took school outside for a change of scenery.

Rotate who plays with them. As toddlers and preschoolers get more active, you assign older children 10 or 15 minutes of play time with the little one. This might have to be in the same room you are in for supervision sake. But it is good for bonding between siblings, and it can give you a few minutes to explain a concept to another child.
If you don’t need a nap yourself, you can use nap time for one-on-one time with older children. I did this when I had high schoolers and preschoolers. I was able to teach algebra and science concepts much easier when I did this teaching during the afternoon nap time.

Use pack ‘n plays and high chairs when needed. There are times when you need both hands to teach an older child. Put the high chair or pack and play right beside you and teach you lesson. It does not have to be for a long period of time, but it will help your little one learn to play independently.
Sit on their level when you can. This is a great technique when you have a lot of little ones. Just sit in the floor and teach your lessons and read to the children. The bigger ones can do their paperwork part of school at a table, if they like. But my little ones were usually more content to play beside me or it on my lap if I was on the floor with them.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your bedroom for 15 minutes and dust. Set your timer and ask your children to declutter in their rooms, too.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and a salad.
Have a great day!

 

Zone Missions: The Master Bedroom     
Monday – Declutter flat surfaces and dust

Tuesday – Declutter in your closet

Wednesday –  Declutter dresser drawers

Thursday – Declutter the floor of your closet and shoes

Friday – Clean under the bed
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Are you getting enough rest?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

As you are sitting here right now reading, tell me if you are tired and fatigued or well rested. Seriously, you can reply and email me your answer.

Are you getting to bed at a decent hour each night and getting 8 hours of sleep? If you have babies and toddlers, you might not be getting a full night’s sleep. You may have older children who get up at night, too. So you could be dealing with interrupted sleep. I understand. I have been there!

My fourth children was not a good sleeper. I was sleep deprived for a year with him. Fortunately, he started sleeping through the night, but during that year, I took a daily nap when he napped.

If you are not sleeping through the night because of your baby, then you need to take a nap every day. I realize you probably have other children at home. Institute an afternoon quiet time for everyone. Teach them to rest or read quietly for 30 minutes to an hour. You need to have this time to refresh your body.

Do you view your time after the children are in bed at night as your time to catch up on computer stuff? Try working on your schedule, so you get up before your children get up, and then go to bed ahortly after they go to bed. In my house, everyone is in bed with lights out at 10:00 pm. Most nights, I fall asleep before 10:00 pm. But my alarm is set for 6:00 am every morning.

My early morning time is the time of the day where I have my quiet time and Bible study. It is when I catch up on a few emails. It is when I exercise. I am up a full 2 hours before my children. This is much better than staying up until midnight because we all know that if we are up that late on the computer, it can lead to staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

By having this time for me before the boys get up, there is a natural stopping point when they get up. I am more efficient if I am working before they get up. I know that I have to be ready to start school with them.

If you struggle with getting enough rest, please use some of these tips. You will feel better and be happier if you get the right amount of sleep.

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter paper from the home office or your homeschool papers.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Reward Yourself and Take Care of Yourself

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
In the course of talking to many homeschool moms over the years, I find that most of them put everyone else first, and they often neglect taking care of themselves and rewarding themselves. This is a a recipe for burn-out and martyrdom.
You are probably thinking that I have already written about this topic, and I think it is important enough to mention again. If you neglect yourself to the point that you are not physically well, you have to evaluate when you can do to change that.
Several years ago, I was overweight with a list of health concerns. Does that surprise you? I was on prescription medication for several things. I was not good at telling people the word, “No.” I tried to please people and take care of my family. In the process, I neglected my health.
After a doctor’s visit to increase one of my medications yet again, I decided it was time to make some changes. I had six children, and four of them were born when I was in my 30’s. I started homeschooling when I was pregnant with baby number 4. I helped take care of elderly family members. I had a lot of things going on, but I was unhealthy. I did not want to continue on that path. I did not say, “No,” often enough to others.
Small changes to my routines helped me to successfully take charge of my health. I weaned myself off sodas. I changed some of the foods I ate. I started drinking more water. I added in exercise. If I had done all of this at once, I would have likely failed. But I did them one at a time, and I still work at tweaking things.
Your body gets conditioned to certain things. It adapts, and that is when you have to look at ways to change things up. If you are accustomed to a certain amount of movement each day, your body will get used to it. So you have to vary your exercise routines. You have to vary the amount of time you spend or what you are doing with your exercising.You have to change things up with your diet, too. Your metabolism slows down as you age. So what you ate in your 20’s and 30’s might not work as well in the same amounts in your 40’s.

Rewarding yourself and pampering yourself should also be a part of your regular routine. As you probably have guessed, my schedule is busy. I still take time to soak in the tub a couple of times a week. I take a few minutes each day to read for pleasure. I plan dates with my husband to have fun with him.
It’s hard being “all work” all the time. Write down a list of things you can do to better take care of yourself. Set some small goals. Move more.
Drink more water. Rest more. Play more. Eat better. You want to model this for your children.
Your Zone Mission for today is to shine your bathroom sinks and counter tops. Throw things away for 5 minutes.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.
Have a wonderful day!
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Guarding Your Time

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

As a homeschool mom, you probably get a lot of interruptions in your day. I know in my earliest years of homeschooling, it is was big adjustment for our extended family to realize that I was not available certain hours of the day.Prior to homeschooling, I could take social calls during the morning. After I started homeschooling, I found that a morning phone call quickly disrupted my school morning. Simply put, if I took a call, my students disappeared.

If you have family members who like to call and chat with you in the mornings, you can ask them nicely if you can call them in the afternoon or evening at your convenience. Use your voice mail. Turn the ringer off your phone or use the Do Not Disturb feature. On most phones, you can put in a couple of numbers that will always get through to you.
If you live in a neighborhood, you might need to put a sign on your front door to help with people who just stop by. If the neighborhood children like to visit your home, you will need to have a signal of some sort for them to understand when you are doing school, especially when the school systems have a holiday.
If you get distracted easily on the computer while your kids are doing school work, close it and resist the urge to check on things on your phone. Try to be present with your children during their school time. It will make the lessons go by faster. Only open the computer during school if you need it to teach a lesson or show a video. I do use my computer at times to show videos during school. It is rare, but I do pull it out for school once in a while.
Stay in control of your outside appointments. Many offices like scheduling homeschoolers for monring appointments. Most of the time, this can disrupt your entire school day. So do what you can to use one day a week as an appointment day and schedule a light school day, or just schedule appointments for right after lunch.
Encourage your kids to move around in between subjects. This will help them absorb what they just learned, and it will help work out any wiggles that they might have. My doctor told me that my boys have never had many health issues because we eat healthy and get in lots of movement time daily.
What are things that distract you during your school time that you can prevent?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the medicine cabinet.Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is a beef roast and vegetables.
Have a great day!
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Attending Homeschool Conferences

Do you attend a homeschool convention each year? Many of you who receive this email have attended a homeschool convention. I have met many of you as I have traveled with The FlyLady.

When I started homeschooling in 2000, I did not attend a homeschool conference when I placed my first book order. The school year had already started, and I started homeschooling our son after two weeks of kindergarten in public school. I started homeschooling my daughter 6 weeks later. When the spring rolled around, I attended a homeschool convention for the first time.

The benefits of attending a homeschool conference are that you get to listen to great speakers who are vested in the homeschool community. You make friends with other homeschoolers. You get to look at books in person, and many times, you get to meet the author of the books.

When I picked curriculum for our second year of homeschooling, I switched from a textbook approach to the unit study approach. If I would not have looked at the materials in person and talked to someone who used it, I probably would not have made that decision.

Using unit studies really ignited a love of learning in our home that was not present when we worked separately with textbooks. We started doing history and science as a family, and it made us closer. My younger children learned so much from just being a part of what my older children were learning.

In one week, I will be traveling with The FlyLady to the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Rogers, AR. We will also be attending the other three TTD conventions in Tennessee, Ohio, and Georgia. We love meeting homeschoolers and talking to you. We love sharing how you can have peace in your home and homeschool by using basic routines.

If you are interested in attending the event in Arkansas, you can register at https://teachthemdiligently.net/homeschool-conventions/rogers-ar/ . You can save $10.00 off your Registration Fee with Coupon Code flylady2017 .

The following weekend (March 30-April 1), we will be attending and speaking at the TTD Convention in Nashville, TN. You can register for this event at https://teachthemdiligently.net/homeschool-conventions/nashville-tn/ . The same discount code mentioned above should also give you $10 off your registration.

We are so excited to be able to attend the Teach Them Diligently events this spring. Make plans to join us if you are within driving distance.

Today’s Zone Mission in the main bathroom is to wipe down the shower walls.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is tacos and a salad.

Have a blessed day!

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