Must-haves for the organized homeschoolers are not the same must-haves for other stay at home families.
Think about that for a minute because priorities become real clear. The point is we share living and learning spaces and what we skip and what we keep are different.
By sharing must-haves for the organized homeschooler, I want to ease organization for you.
I do not want you to create a must-have list of things which don’t work.
When You Homeschool and Agonize Organize
We stop agonizing over organizing and what becomes a hobby for some folks (oh yes, I could so go there but I try to keep myself reined in) and the realities of the things that actually need to be organized becomes two very different things.
There is a difference in the ways we approach an idea, task or project IF we want to accomplish organizing that fits our homeschool lifestyle.
Our homeschool lifestyle cannot be dismissed as some small undertaking so it requires a measure of finesse that a lot of books, blogs and websites on general organizing just don’t understand. We are not sending our kids off somewhere, but we are living and learning in shared spaces.
Look at my list below because we don’t have to give up organization and don’t want to; we just learn how to do it differently.
5 Must-Haves for the Organized Homeschooler: What to KEEP
Homeschool Keeper 1. Menu Planning.
Menu planning for 30 days has grit, it’s the only way I menu plan.
It’s not easy if you normally menu plan for 7 days. However, I encourage you to menu plan for 30 days because you do not have to plan again so quickly.
You get a whole lot more return for your time when you menu plan longer. Taking an extra 15 minutes or so in the beginning of the month gives back more time in the month than it takes up.
For example, I turned this into a year long project. Take one year and plan something for every day of the year for recipes that your family like.
This plan will keep giving back for year after year because you’ve created 365 meals and the best part is that you have meals already created.
I color coded every 7 days so that you can see one glance at a time. I plan for 30 days, but shop weekly. So seeing the whole week at one time speeds up the process for myself.
Grab this editable recipe form on my page DIY Easy Home Management Binder.
Homeschool Keeper 2. Chores Assigned to Each Family Member.
I could not do what I do or even school for the day if my kids did not help. Teaching them requires time, but the payoffs are huge.
Ideally, I would love to tell you that I trained them so that now they do all my grocery shopping, but really they have learned some valuable life skills that I can’t check off in my planner.
Update: Yes, they did ALL my grocery shopping and half of the cooking as they grew older. Now, with so much available on-line they still help put groceries away.
Homeschool Keeper 3. A homeschool planner like my 7 Step DIY Homeschool Planner.
Do I need to tell how my heart goes pitter patter when I prepare the 7 Step DIY Homeschool Planner each year?
There is NOT another like homeschool planner like it because YOU organize it each year for your EXACT needs this year.
Using my printables with tons of options at every step, you create a UNIQUE one of a kind planner.
If you’re not a paper/pen gal, you still want some way to easily track your school work.
Homeschool Keeper 4. Command center. Even if it’s simple or temporary.
It’s one thing to have plans in mind, but communicating to the rest of the family is how to effectively carry out plans.
This area can include all upcoming activities for the family and even a Home Management Binder.
Many plans or routines fail and can be traced back to lack of communication.
A physical place at the house where everybody can see what is planned is useful in keeping my family up to date.
Also, I use and love Cozi, which is a free family calendar app.
Each week the calendar is sent o everybody’s email or phone. I love this now that I have teens because we could be going a lot of different directions during the day. Not just that, but the boys can see what is coming up too and learn to plan.
However, one place in the house where all family members pass by for the day was more effective.
Reminders from apps can be out of sight and out of mind; a command center in the house is a way that all family members can stay organized and be mindful.
Homeschool Keeper 5. Place to organize the overflowing amount of books, supplies, and crafts which come with the full time job of homeschooling.
Though I highly recommend having a homeschool room, I know that is not possible with everyone.
In addition, I was told I would never use a dedicated school room. That was not right either. Look at my tips Dedicated Homeschool Room or Dining Room Homeschooler.
Twenty years later and I’m here to tell you I used it very often. So much advice I’ve learned depends on families circumstances at the time.
When I started all of my kids were preschool. I needed pint sized furniture and I needed ways to train them to a habit and to get them ready to learn and focus.
On the other hand I have also had many years of my homeschooling where I couldn’t have a school room. I loved our homeschooling years just as well.
However large or however small area you have, I recommend that you have a place to corral all the clutter so that your home remains a place for relaxing family evenings.
5 Must-Haves for the Organized Homeschooler: What to SKIP
What to Skip 1. Reading organization books from those who don’t live our homeschool lifestyle.
Skip organization books that do not include homeschool parents as an author. I’m not saying you can’t glean some tips.
But if you are struggling in this area, then a book written for an audience that does not have the same demands we have on our time could end up discouraging you instead of inspiring you.
What to Skip 2. Extensive record keeping.
I’m not saying to throw caution to the wind, but record keeping for the right reasons is key to being organized.
For example, fear of the homeschool law changing is not a good motivator and we’ve brought undue stress to our organized day.
Trying to keep all records to provide proof when your state law does not require record keeping is undue stress. It’s one thing to keep it for you, but another if you need to meet the law.
However, record keeping becomes important in the middle and high school years.
Look at my videos How to Successfully Begin Homeschooling Middle and High School (facebook or here for YouTube) and How to Stay on Top of Record Keeping – Seriously!
Also, I have some detailed tips here Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 1 and Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 2.
What to Skip 3. Stressful Schedules.
I’m an organized person, but that still didn’t help me to find a balance until several years of homeschooling.
Some years, I was able to schedule hour by hour because it suited our pace.
However, most years, a flexible schedule was needed to accommodate slower learners, my toddler, and preschooler.
Your youngest learner is your TRUE scheduler.
Skip a stressful homeschool schedule in favor of a peaceful schedule.
What to Skip 4. Perfectly picked up house.
Having a perfectly picked up and clean to my standards mindset was the hardest for me to let go.
Learning to let go of that mindset helped me to stay organized although it didn’t feel that way in the beginning.
Accepting a kid cleaned house was not only key to my sanity, but now that my sons have all graduated it trained them for valuable life skills.
Being an organized homeschooler means knowing when to delegate which is not always easy. However, a good enough picked up house while being clean allowed us to move on with our school day.
What to Skip 5. Overflowing amount of clothes.
Lastly, when my kids were young, I realized the more clothes they had, the more they seemed to plow through them.
This always equaled to not only more laundry, but tiny mounds of messes everywhere.
So I realized less is more; I reduced my kids’ wear to less than half.
As you school longer, you realize that you don’t need as many dress clothes for activities outside the house. Unless, your kid are attending a five day co-op which is more like private mini school your kids need just a few sets of dress clothes each.
Having less helped me to organize more and gave me freedom to do the things we love the most.
Not giving up your homeschool freedom begins by knowing what to keep and what to skip as an organized homeschooler.
What are you must-haves and what have you skipped to be organized?
- Homeschool Organization – Why You’re Still Drowning in Clutter
- Homeschool Organization Motivation – 11 Gadgets To Get You Going
- 100 BEST Ideas to Organize Your Homeschool Area – Storage, Spaces, and Learning Places
- Top 10 Tips for Maximizing Space in (Really) Tiny Homeschool Spaces
- Homeschool Organization – Preschool/Kindergarten Free Morning Routine Flip Cards
This is also a blog hop. This blog hop is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutual beneficial projects.
Hugs and love ya,