Journaling in Your Homeschool

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Do you and your children have journals that you write and/or draw in regularly? Recently, I found some of my children’s early nature journals. What a precious thing to see their writing and drawings. As you know, I don’t keep a lot of their school materials when they finish, but I do keep their journals.

A journal can be an extension of your school day. Your children can draw while you read to them or play music. They can go outside and sketch things they observe in nature. You can help even young children look up information to add to their drawings. Nature journaling helps develop a love for science and nature.

A writing journal can be an extension of your current writing program, or it can be used for creative writing. A journal is a place to put ideas and thoughts down on paper. It helps develop their writing skills, but I want to caution you to NOT take a red pen to these journals. Do not grade them for content or grammar. Let it be a fun place for them to write.

You can give them ideas for stories, poems, or make lists of things they are thankful for. If your child struggles with writing programs, a free-form journal can be the thing that draws them to writing.

If you have analytical children, a journal can bring out some of their creativity. Even if they are resistant to the idea of creative writing to begin with, keep trying. I found that silly starters for stories got their attention when I first introduced them to journals. It’s quite funny to see them read these stories now that they are much older.

You can benefit from this type of journaling, too. You might tap into some artistic talent or writing talent that you have not had time to develop. Turn on some nice, classical music and sit down with your children and have a journaling session next week. You know you like pretty notebooks and school supplies, too. (smile)

Today’s Zone Mission is to shine your tub or shower.

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

My menu plan for Friday is chicken and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

How do you organize your homeschool books?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

When you get a few homeschoolers together, the conversation usually goes to what curriculum do you use? Then, my next question is, “How do you organize it?”

I am an eclectic homeschooler. Our homeschool curriculum is chosen with care depending on the student’s skill level and interest level. My children are hands on learners, and I have one who is dyslexic. So I cannot buy boxed curriculum sets. I have found materials that work for a variety of children, and I have had to find specific materials to help my son learn to read, spell, and write in a way that worked with his dyslexia.

My kitchen is the main homeschool area, but you can also find my children spread out around the house doing school work. They use textbooks, workbooks, and the computer. So there are a variety of things that are pulled out for each school day.

Part of their training has been to get materials out for one subject at a time and put those books away before getting out the next subject. I check them right before they put them away. I do not have piles of books and materials scattered all over my house. When it is time to do school, their materials are in one place.

We each have different set ups for organizing our school books. I have a cabinet with doors that close. I love this! Before I had the cabinet, I used heavy-duty plastic crates for each student.

Some of my friends use rolling carts with drawers to organize. Some use file cabinets. Some use plastic tubs with lids. There is no shortage of ways to store your books.

Tell me how you organize your books.

Today’s Zone Mission is to do a 15 minute room rescue.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is taco soup and a salad.

Have a great day!

Do you use a check off sheet for your kids?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

How do you help your children keep track of their routines?

Children are often eager helpers, but they do not like to have an unending list of things to do. When my children were young, I used check off sheets that I made on the computer. I kept it simple.

Download the Check Off Sheet

Daily
Check it off!
Pick up Behind Yourself
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
After dinner, put your stuff at your Launch Pad
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
MORNING ROUTINE
S
M
T
W
Th
F
S
Make bed
Get dressed for school
Swish & Swipe
Eat breakfast
Put your dishes in the dishwasher
Brush your teeth
Ready for School
AFTERNOON CHECKLIST
S
M
T
W
Th
F
S
Finish any school work
Drink your water
Pick up your stuff for 15 minutes
5 minutes exercise
AFTER DINNER/BEFORE BED ROUTINE
S
M
T
W
Th
F
S
Check your calendar and forecast
Lay out your clothes for tomorrow
Put things needed for tomorrow at the Launch Pad
Spend two minutes picking up behind yourself
Check the kitchen sink. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher
Wash face/brush teeth/bathe
Go to bed at a decent hour. Yes, this means YOU! J
You can print something off and put it in a page protector. Then, they can use a wipe off marker to check off daily.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter old towels.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is hamburgers and tater tots.

Have a great day!

Download the Check Off Sheet

How do I motivate my children?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

IMG_5632

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I had several great homeschool questions for the live Facebook video I did as a guest of The FlyLady.

You can watch it on her YouTube channel at the link above, if you missed it.
One question was, “How do you motivate your kids?”
With a large family and many personalities, I put into practice what I learned from The FlyLady. I use rewards to motivate my children.
If I had a child who dawdled over his school work, I would use incentives and rewards to encourage him to be diligent. If he finished all of his school work before lunch, he had free time to play in the afternoon. If he didn’t finish before lunch, he had to sit with me in the afternoon and do his school work while his brothers played.
It only took a couple of times for this child to see that it was better to just get his school work done and not dawdle.
Each Monday, I review with each student the weekly goals for their school work. I go over how many lessons, pages, or units I need them to complete for the week. It is up to them if they spread it out over 4 or 5 days. They prefer to get it done in 4 days, and then Friday can be for a day for field trips or fishing. I also grocery shop on Friday afternoons, and they enjoy that, too, since a trip to the sporting goods section is usually a part of our Friday errands.
It is rare that I have to use negative consequences for a child who does not complete routines or school work. But I do control electronics, car driving privileges, and cell phones for the teens. So I have the ability to take privileges if needed to motivate someone to do what is expected.I refer to this as my super powers.
I also praise my children liberally for doing a good job, and that motivates them to do well. I use positive reinforcements as much as possible to motivate my children.
What do you do to motivate your children?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter 1 bathroom cabinet or drawer.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
My menu plan for Tuesday is venison roast and a salad.
Have a blessed day!

A New School Year

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,

At the end of the spring, I did a series of videos on ending your school year. For 5 days, I decluttered and filed important papers. Several of you have asked for a video to help you get started with your school year.

Today, I will be hosting a Facebook Live Session on The FlyLady’s Page at 2:00 pm Eastern. If you have questions, email me now. You can ask questions during the session, too. It will help me to have some of your questions ahead of time.
The boys and I started school the first week of August. I prepared for the first day of school in the two weeks prior to starting, and we started back by adding a subject at a time. We started with Math and Reading.
This week we will be adding Science and History. I like hands on learning as much as possible for these two subjects. No matter what curriculum I use with the boys, I can add in hands on activities.
For History, we can do projects based on the period of time we are studying. We can add in field trips of interest. They can do a final report each semester. There are many ways to add in hands on learning at any age.
For Science, we use experiments to bring action to what they are reading about. In school, I never really enjoyed science. As a homeschool teacher, I love science, and it is because of the experiments we do.
I use simple composition books for planning purposes. In the past, I have used resources, such as Homeschool Manager. You can try it for free for 30 days.
If you have not closed out your last year of homeschooling, do that this week. You can watch my  decluttering your homeschool videos on YouTube.
This week we are detail cleaning and decluttering in the Main Bathroom and one Extra Room. You can use this time to help you with organizing your homeschool materials.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter your bathroom counter and wipe it down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.

My menu plan for Monday is Skyline Chili (Cincinnati favorite).

Have a great day!

 

Back to Homeschool

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
Happy Friday! We made it to the end of the week! This ends our second week of our homeschool year. We started slowly on August 1, and I enjoy adding in a subject at a time over the course of a few weeks. This helps everyone adjust better.
Have you got your school year under way, or are you planning to start soon?
We don’t start with a lot of fanfare, but we will have a Back to School Party with our homeschool group in September. We plan a potluck lunch and let the kids play. We can start planning our group activities, and the teens enjoy making some plans, too.
We use a mix of technology and books for our homeschool, and that seems to work well for us. The boys use DVD’s for math lessons, and then they do their lessons. They read their history and science independently, but I do projects with them as a group to tie it together. They have their language arts programs for their respective grades with reading, writing, grammar, and spelling.
We started homeschooling in 2000, and it is hard to believe that this is the beginning of year 18. It’s strange to be down to 3 students, too. I remember when I had 6 students. They grow up fast!
If you are homeschooling little ones, I encourage you to read with them daily ann incorporate playtime and hands on activities. They will learn so much from playing and experiencing learning.
If you are homeschooling upper elementary and middle school, you can still provide project-based learning and hands on projects. It takes a little planning and creativity.
High schoolers can still do hands on learning for science and history. Their reading will be more prominent than younger years, but they will remember their projects and experiments.
Enjoy each stage of the learning process with your children!
What do you have planned for Family Fun Day tomorrow?
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink.
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!

Using Your Timer to Help You Declutter

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
How many of you have a kitchen junk drawer or two?
Kitchen junk drawers become a catch all for stuff. Usually, you decide to clean it out because you can’t open or close it easily. I want you to be proactive with your junk drawer. I want you to clean it out and purge deeply. I would guess that most of it can be trashed.
Get your timer and trash can out. Set the timer for 15 minutes, Start taking things out a little at a time. Either put it in the trash, in a put away box, or in a giveaway box. Resist the urge to dump it on the counter. I know that is what you want to do. But you are going to do this for 15 minutes and walk away.
I want you to practice working on projects a little at a time to help you overcome perfectionism. If you don’t finish, just leave your boxes there. You can go back later in the day and do another 15 minute session.
Currently, I am cleaning out and decluttering my kitchen cabinets 15 minutes at a time. That is all the time I have to work on decluttering each day. I do not have all day because then my routines will not get done. I can only work on one cabinet at a time.
Many of you have talked to me at homeschool conferences about struggling with keeping your routines going when you homeschool and do other projects. This is how I do it. I use my timer and am disciplined to move on when it goes off.
If I decided to do a big, 8-hour clean out project, I would not get laundry done or food fixed, and I wouldn’t have time to move other things along. I also wouldn’t have time to homeschool my kids either.
Learning to add in decluttering projects takes patience with yourself and with that voice in your head that wants you to stop everything and do it from start to finish right then.
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter your plastic wraps, foils, etc.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken, potatoes, and a salad.

Have a great day!

Paper Patrol – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Do you have a paper hoarding problem? Most of us have papers we have held onto for far too long. We get security from holding onto these papers. We think there is valuable information in there somewhere. If these papers sit in piles and files somewhere for years, how valuable are they?

Today is anti-procrastination day. I want you to let go of papers today. You have papers in many places in your house. Find a stack. Set your timer for just 5 minutes. You have to follow the OHIO Method – Only Handle It Once.

You have to resist the urge to sort it into piles that you will go through again. Get your shredder out and use it. With each piece of paper decide whether to shred it or file it. Do not hold onto all of it and file it.

As I am decluttering various areas in my home, I am also decluttering any papers that are not completely necessary. If I can find the information via an Internet Search, why would I keep a hard copy?

My necessary files for 2017, fit in one file drawer. I set my files up at the end of 2016. I file papers in it as I open the mail and bring copies home from doctor appointments.

If you tend to collect paper every time you go somewhere, make it a habit to sort it and shred it daily. At the very least, do this weekly.

You need to have 15 minutes of desk time per day. This will give you the time you need to deal with paperwork, shred paper, sort the mail, look at homeschool plans, pay bills, or menu plan. Set up a nice desk area and don’t clutter it up with stacks of paper.

Paper clutter is common to all of us. Let’s work on having consistency in getting rid of it!

Your Zone Mission today is to clean out the fridge.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is hamburgers and tater tots.

Have a great day!

How’s Your Kitchen Sink?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Dear Friends,

Your kitchen is a big asset to your family. Do you take care of it or neglect it?

This week we are doing quick zone missions in the kitchen. This will help you bless yourself and your family with a organized area to do your meal prep and cooking.
Is your kitchen sink shiny right now?
If it is not, I want you to empty it and shine it as soon as you finish reading this email.
Step 1 – empty your sink. Wash the dishes, put them in the dishwasher, or stack them to the side. Drain the water.
Step 2 – spray down your sink with warm water and squirt a little soap, or you can use a glass cleaner product. I like to use a sprinkle of baking soda when I detail clean my sink.
Step 3 – wipe down the sink with a clean cloth.
Step 4 – rinse and wipe down with a dry cloth.
You are done!
Each night, make sure the sink is empty before you go to bed and giveit one last dry down.
You will be so happy to have a clean and shiny sink ready each morning when you get up.
Throughout the day, have each person do their own dishes. When you cook, wash dishes as you go along.
Procrastination on doing dishes builds up, and it causes you to have piles of dishes. Do them as you dirty them.
Ready. Set. Go shine your sink!
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter and clean the silverware drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is homemade pizza and wings.

Breaking Down Decluttering

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Many of you reading this live in clutter, and you like to deal with it in a long day or two. Then you don’t want to declutter again for months or years.
Some of you have children who do not like to let go of things well past the time of letting them go. You say they have emotional attachments to their toys. Yet their rooms are so full, they cannot walk in them easily.
You and your children have too much stuff, and you say you don’t have time to declutter or clean. You tell yourself that it is going to take you too long, and you have too many things to do.
Today, I want you to take a deep breath. You can declutter a little at a time. Use your timer and choose a time of day that you are home on a daily basis.You can be successful at decluttering!
I don’t want you to add decluttering to your morning or afternoon routine, if you are out of the house regularly during that time. Decluttering will fall off your list pretty quickly if you have to leave for an appointment more than once a week. If you are home in the evening most consistently, I want to you put decluttering for 15 minutes in that routine.
When you are decluttering an area, I don’t want you to get distracted and chase rabbits. I want you to focus for this short amount of time.
Last week, I wanted to assist the boys in decluttering in their bedroom since Zone 1 looked good in my house. We have several home improvement projects on the calendar, and I needed some areas freed up for storage. Together, we decluttered for 15 minutes a day.
We went through their closet, clothes, and bookshelves. We worked until the timer went off, and then we moved onto the next thing in our routine. Some days, we spent 15 minutes in there in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon, and 15 minutes in the evening. We were able to get through their whole room in this manner.
If your child’s room is too full, you need to assist them in boxing up most of it. Use boxes that you can label and store. This way you are not forcing them to get rid of items, but you will be able to put the boxes away. You can control how much stuff they have in their bedrooms. You can help them rotate toys.
You children will find peace in a room with less stuff in it. They will be able to better maintain it. They will be able to pick things up daily.
Where do you struggle the most with decluttering?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter and wipe your kitchen counters.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is breakfast for dinner: pancakes, sausage, bacon, and eggs.
Have a great day!