Let’s Get Outside and Learn – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Learning Opportunities are All Around You
Take a look at your lesson plans for today. Is there something you can do outside to enhance your learning time and soak in some of the beautiful weather? (If it’s raining in your area, do this on the next sunny day.)

Going outside for reading time and some nature journaling makes learning fun. You also get the side benefit of everyone soaking in some natural vitamin D. This helps elevate your mood, and it gives you more energy.

Take out a blanket and enjoy the freedom you have to homeschool your children. We are blessed to be able to choose this option for our children. We tend to get hung up on checking off the boxes and moving along with curriculum plans. This is your jump start to add some fun and movement into your day.

From older children to young children, they benefit from getting outside and learning about the world around them. They are naturally curious, and the spring brings all kinds of new growth to the world around us.

My boys come up with the most interesting questions. Today’s question was, “What color are crow’s eggs?” We did some research to find that answer. We found that they are blue and speckled.

Bird watching is very interesting. They are quite lively this time of year, and they like to nest near our bird feeders. We spend time each day observing our bird population.

The boys have planted a few things in the garden so far, and they check daily on growth. We have had several days of rain, so they are not watering the plants currently. They just keep a check on them.

Send me pictures of your children enjoying nature and learning!

Your Zone Mission for today is to dust the tops of the doors, pictures, moldings, corners, and the tops of your curtains.

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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Putting Things Off Until Tomorrow – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Do you put things off to do later?
Later never seems to come. Today is anti-procrastination day. Pick one thing that you have been putting off, set your timer, and do it.
We put things off for different reasons, but if you look deeply, you will find that you procrastinate because of perfectionism. Just getting started and moving forward is better than doing nothing at all. Even trying and failing is better than not trying at all.
Each morning, I make my small To Do list with three things on it, and I use my timer to help me accomplish them. If it is a big task, I break it down into steps that can be completed in 15 minutes.
Sometimes, you realize you have a few minutes to do something, and you just do not know where to start. This is where your little list comes into play. You pick something off the list and move forward.
Many of the tasks we do around the house are the same ones day after day. Bring a little fun into these tasks. Make it a game to fold laundry and put it away.
When the dishes need to be washed or put away, enlist the help of one of your children. Use it as a time to talk and laugh.
When you have a Home Blessing to do that you have procrastinated, turn on some music and make it a fun activity. Play beat the clock.
If you have decluttering to do, write down a few of the areas and draw them out of a hat. You can do this for 15 minutes and switch to something else.Have you been putting off grading school papers? This is an area that is easily put off, and later you have a big stack of papers to grade. Add grading papers to your daily routine. It works well for me to do this in the afternoon.

The goal is to find ways to help you to have fun doing your tasks and Home Blessings.
Your Zone Mission today is to detail dust the decorative items in your Living Room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is spaghetti and salad.
Have a great day!
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Decluttering Daily Works – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

    

 

Decluttering Daily Makes a Difference
Are you using your timer regularly to declutter in your home?

Many of us grew up with the mindset that we need hours to clean and declutter.

That goes back to perfectionism that you don’t start a project unless you have hours to complete it.

After using The FlyLady system for the past 15+ years, I have discovered that being consistent in my decluttering for 2 to 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference. I no longer have to have big cleaning projects during the spring or fall. I don’t have to crisis clean before someone comes over.

Right now, I am sitting in my Living Room, and I did my daily Zone Mission this morning. The boys have picked up their stuff. It is company ready, and we are not expecting anyone over.

Each evening, I spend 2 to 5 minutes decluttering stuff that has found its way to my Hot Spots. This part of my Before Bed Routine is as ingrained into my mind as Shining my Sink. I have to be sick in bed to miss doing either of these things daily.

Decluttering can be done where it fits your day the best. The main thing is to do it daily. If you have a lot of clutter, you will need to budget 15 minutes into your schedule. If you are just doing maintenance of your daily clutter, you may only need to declutter 2 to 5 minutes a day.

As a part of your children’s daily routine, ask them to spend a few minutes decluttering in their bedrooms. Children like to keep lots of little things I their bedrooms. Put a reminder on your calendar each day, and ask them to declutter in a specific area each day (floor, flat surfaces, closet, under bed, bathroom).

If you have not decluttered this way before, try it for the next few weeks. Let me know how you are doing!

Today’s Zone Mission is to dust along the top of your ceiling and along your baseboards.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!
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Are you a juggler?

zone-5-april-2017

Homeschooling brings a lot of elements to your home. Many days you feel like you have been a juggler all day. That’s when you realize that you did not take the time to eat properly or took the time to drink enough water. You start to feel tired and burned out. You might even think to yourself that it would be easier to put them all in school.

 

When you have those days, look at how you took care of yourself that day. If you go without enough water on a regular basis, it will effect how you feel physically and mentally. Use a timer to remind yourself to drink your water, or put an an alarm on your phone to remind you. Keep your water bottle refilled and close to you all day.

 

If you are trying to live on protein bars and protein shakes for your food source, spend a few minutes planning your menu and having healthy foods available to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Take time to sit down to eat your meals. Resist the urge to multi-task while you eat.

 

If you have a lot of children, teach them routines. If you give them a mission to do around the house, teach them that you will check their efforts. Don’t stand over them to make sure they do it. Walk away and give them the chance to do their mission. When you check back in 10 or 15 minutes, don’t look for perfection. Look at their effort. Did they try? If they dawdled, find a way to motivate them with a reward to focus on doing their missions quickly.

 

When you are doing school with multiple children, help them develop skills for independent work. Balance the subjects they do not like with their favorite subjects. This will give them motivation to focus and finish the tasks they do not enjoy because they get to do something they enjoy next.

 

If they make mistakes in their school work or in the home missions, work with them in a positive way to correct the mistake. Children and adults are going to make mistakes. You can teach them how to respond to mistakes without falling apart. Mistakes are learning opportunities.

 

Schedule breaks into your daily life. This can be a 5 minute time of quiet and reflection for you. If you have to go to your room and shut the door for 5 minutes, it will help you deal with the things that compete for your attention.

 

Have your daily devotion time before your children are up in the mornings. This will help you to be ready for the moment when their little feet hit the floor. You need to fill yourself first, so you can pour into the lives of your family. You can’t get water out of en empty water pitcher.

 

When you are having a hard day, remember that you are not alone. You can do this.

 

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter and deal with the Hot Spots in your Living Room. Do a reverse scavenger hunt in your Living Room and put away things that do not belong in there.

 

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.

 

My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and salad.

 

Have a great day!

 

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Making Your Room a Place of Peace

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Peaceful Bedroom
This week we have had missions in our Master Bedrooms. The goal is to have a peaceful place to sleep and rest when you need to rest.
If you bedroom is a catch-all for miscellaneous stuff, stop putting it in there. Teach your family to stop putting it in there, if they are the culprits. When I do my daily hot spot drills, I put away things that have found their way to my bedroom.

Today’s zone mission is to remake your bed and fluff your pillows. If you have a different comforter or bedspread, switch them out. It’s nice to change things around in your bedroom.

Do you have a treadmill or other exercise equipment in your bedroom? Do you use it regularly? If it has become a clutter magnet, it’s time to move it.

Do you have a chair in your bedroom to sit on and relax? Does it serve as a place to pile clothes? If it is not serving a purpose as a chair for sitting purposes then get it out of your bedroom.

What else have you put in your bedroom that does not serve a purpose? Declutter anything that is not usable in your room.

Start thinking of your bedroom as your sanctuary and place of rest and not as a storage place. Make it as pretty as you can. Think of a beautiful bed and breakfast room and make your room that nice and inviting.

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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End of Your School Year

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Every year I talk to homeschool moms who are going to keep plugging along on school work with their children throughout the summer. If you are considering this, I want to encourage you to set an end date for this school year and take a break.

You need a break from school, and your children need a break from their formal lessons. You can have some math practice sheets and some pleasure reading for your children each day to keep their skills sharp. You don’t need to plan a full schedule.

If you are staring at books your children have not completed this year, skim over the topics. You can cover the topics quickly. You do not have to finish every textbook that you start. You can just end your school year. If you are less than halfway finished with a book, you can use it the next year. If you are more than halfway, then skim it with them.

In the summer, I have allowed more free play with a little math practice and reading, and I see growth in my children academically. Their brains don’t need constant input from workbooks and textbooks to learn. They learn quite well when given time to observe life around them and experience lots of different things.

The end date for my school year is May 31. We will take off the months of June and July. We will start back slowly in early August. This is my typical schedule, but it has been different in the years that I had babies in July and August.

Enjoy this time of unstructured learning with your children this summer! Set your end date now, so you have a concrete date in mind.

Your Zone Mission for today is to clean the Master Shower.

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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Learning About the World Around You

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Do you take your children outside to experience the world around them on a regular basis? They can learn a lot from walking around outside and observing what is going on in your yard.

You can plant flowers to attract bees or butterflies. You can put out bird feeders to attract birds. We keep a bird feeder with bird seed in one feeder and hummingbird nectar in another feeder. The boys built a special birdhouse for blue jays to nest in.

You can research the type of flowers that grow well in your area and attract many kinds of butterflies. This is a great science activity for your children to research, plant, and observe with you.

If you have never tried nature journaling with your children, give them some drawing paper or drawing notebook and some drawing pencils and colored pencils. Let them draw their interpretation of what they are seeing. Use a field guide to help you identify what they observe.

We have several different field guides that I have collected over the years. We have an Audubon Bird Identification book, a plant identification manual, a flower identification manual, and a tree identification manual. All of these are pocket size, and I keep them in a small canvas bag with their drawing notebooks and pencils.

My youngest has been using the bird identification manual a lot this spring as he watched the birds that come in to our feeders.

Spending time outside with your children is a great way to get in some daily movement and soak up some vitamin D from the sun.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter one drawer in your bedroom.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is spaghetti and salad.

Have a great day!
Siggie - Tami Fox

Arts and Crafts are Learning Opportunities

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

    


Do you let your children play and create with art materials regularly? I have talked to many homeschool moms who tend to let this part of learning slip by day after day.

The reasons for not allowing your children to have creative play varies, but in most cases it boils down to you not wanting them to make a mess, and you having to clean it up.

Creative play for children has big benefits, and you can teach them to clean up behind themselves. In our homeschool, we don’t have arts and crafts daily, but it does happen at least weekly.

Children will grow academically when they are also exposed to the fine arts. Regular exposure to music and many art mediums uses a different side of the brain from the math and science side.

Creating and drawing is relaxing. It allows the brain to absorb information. It helps children work through emotional times, too. The year both of my in laws passed away, we did a lot of art and talking. It helped them process their grief.

Even before I started homeschooling, I made time to have messy art time with my children. It is something they enjoyed, and it is something I enjoyed with them. I grew up in a home where we did not make messes, and I wanted to let my children learn through art. That meant they would make messes, but I also committed to cleaning them up afterwards.

My daughter is very artistic. Her ideal school day was to create and do art all day long. She blossomed and learned many things through her artistic pursuits.

If you are resisting arts and crafts just because of the mess, please reconsider and make it something that is a part of your weekly routine.

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter in your closet for 15 minutes.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is ham and cheese sandwiches.

Have a blessed day!
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Spring Fever

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Do you or your children have a case of spring fever?Recently, I talked to a friend who says she has spring fever. She wants to get outside and play with her kids. She wants to plant a small garden. She wants to take the children on a fun, outdoor field trip.

My advice to her was to do all of them! These are all educational activities. Learning does not just happen with books and worksheets. Education happens all around you. Embrace it! Have fun and learn with your kids.
Take school outside with a blanket or chairs to sit on. Grab your books and have lessons outside. Sit under a tree and observe nature. Get out the nature journals and colored pencils. Take the identification books you have in your homeschool collection. Watch the birds. Smell the flowers. Share the joy of creation with your children.
Take 15 minutes each day and play outside with your children. You can count it as PE for them, and it can count as your movement time for the day. Playing is good for you and your children!
If you want to plant a vegetable or flower garden, research with your children what grows well in your area and when to plant items. Use paper and sketch out a simple planting plan with your children. Let them make little signs that you can laminate and put in the garden.
Ask some of your homeschool friends about a spring field trip. Historical sites, science centers, and zoos are all fun, spring activities. Set up a play date at a local park. Have a scavenger hunt or go geocaching. Pack a picnic lunch and have fun!
The boys and I will be attending the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Sandusky, OH this week with The FlyLady. We will have some fun, field trips along the way, too!
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter your dresser top and detail dust.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is tacos and a salad.
Have a great day!
Zone Missions: Zone 4         
Monday – Declutter dresser top and dust

Tuesday – Declutter your closet for 15 minutes

Wednesday –  Declutter 1 Drawer in Your Bedroom

Thursday – Clean the Master Shower

Friday – Clean under your bed
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Guiding Your Children to Clean Their Room

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
Take a minute and go look at your child’s bedroom. How does it look? If it needs cleaning, your first inclination is likely to tell your child to go clean his or her bedroom. This is usually not met with success because they don’t know where to start.
(You can download the Homeschool Student Control Journal from the FlyLady’s website, and it contains these Zones for their rooms plus pages to help them with the routines.)
You can help them take control of cleaning their room by giving them Zones to work in for each cleaning session.
Break the room down into Zones. Most bedrooms can be broken down into 4 or 5 areas:
Zone 1 – the bed, nightstand, and under the bed
Zone 2 – The Closet
Zone 3 – The Floor
Zone 4 – Desk and other flat surfaces
Zone 5 – The adjacent bathroom, if they have one.
Another way to break it down into 4 Zones would be to divide the room into fourths and use each wall as the directions.
Zone 1 – The wall where the door is. Clean the area along that wall and the floor.
Zone 2 – The wall with the closet. Clean the floor in front of the closet and the closet.
Zone 3 – Wall 3 where the bed is. This would include the bed, floor, and furniture around the bed.
Zone 4 – Wall 4 where the desk or dresser or other flat surfaces are located and the floor in that area.
When you tell them to clean an area in their room, you need to give them the tools they will need. If they are changing their sheets, have an extra set of clean sheets ready, so they can strip the bed and remake it immediately.
Teach them to wash, dry, fold, and put away their bedding and clothes.
If they need to do a big declutter project in their room, give them boxes labeled, Throw Away, Put Away, and Give Away. Tell them that they have to find a place for everything they want to keep.
If their dresser needs cleaning out, have them do one drawer per day for a week. If they need to clean out their closet, tell them to only pull out what they can put back in an hour. They might have to stage out how to clean out their entire closet. You don’t want to burn them out on an all-day closet clean out.
Help them break it down by shelves in the closet, the hanging stuff in the closet, and the floor of the closet. Tell them they can only keep what fits neatly in the closet.
If they need to clean their flat surfaces in their room, provide the same boxes for them to sort the stuff. Then give them the tools to dust their flat surfaces. If you can convince them to keep fewer things on their flat surfaces, they can do a quick dusting in their room once a week.
If they have a desk in their room, have them clear it off and only put back what they need to have available to do their homework. If their desk drawers need to be cleaned out, have them clean out one drawer per day.
If their bedroom floor is covered with clean clothes and dirty clothes, it’s time to introduce them to doing their own laundry. Teach them how to sort their clothes. Then make sure they do all 4 steps of the laundry process: wash, dry, fold/hang, put away.
Only let them keep the clothes that they can store reasonably in their room. They can store off-season clothes somewhere else in the house, if you have a place for that. Have them clean their bedroom floor and vacuum it.
Work with them weekly on consistently keeping their floor picked up, the flat surfaces clean, and their bedding changed.
If your child has an adjacent bathroom, you should also provide them with the tools and training to clean his or her bathroom. Teach them to do a quick, daily swish of the toilet with the bowl brush and a quick swipe with a cloth around the sink and in the sink. Once a week, they should wipe down their shower and/or tub. The daily maintenance will take less than two minutes and will eliminate the need for a major deep cleaning of the bathroom.
They can do this! You need to give them the tools to do it.
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter anywhere in the house.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is rotisserie chicken and a salad.
Have a wonderful weekend!
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