Back-to-School: Homeschool Organization

This is the time of year when all families get their kids ready to go back to school. We take them shopping for new clothes and school supplies. We start getting them to bed earlier. We stock up the pantry with their favorite lunch items and after school snacks. For homeschool families, there are a few more details that need to be covered.

Things like school clutter multiply in a homeschool household. There are no daily schedules to keep us on track. And if the teaching parent works at home, timelines need to be set for the completion of work during the school day.

Here are a few tools that I employ to keep me sane and to keep The Sugar Babies and me on track:

White Boards

The kids use white boards instead of scratch paper to work out problems in math and science. We also use them for practice spelling tests. The less paper we use, the cleaner the learning space.

File Bins and Boxes

I receive the kids' school work in five-week packets. I've tried using binders before, but I've found that having one large portable bin with a lid keeps me more organized. I create two sets of files; one for Hannah, one for Ryan. Each set includes a file for every subject.

After the lessons are completed and checked, the kids file their work in their individual desktop file boxes. These already have separated sections that I label with their subjects for easy filing.

Calendar

There are so many benefits of homeschooling. One of my favorites is being able to sleep in. I'm also a big fan of taking the kids on trips outside of the confines of traditional winter or spring breaks. But the flexible schedule is a double-edged sword. For someone that enjoys chasing butterflies, I rely heavily on calendars, digital and paper, to keep me on task.

Cozi Up, Stay On Top

Have you seen the new Cozi Family? It's pretty slick. They've made several improvements to the site and even created an iPhone app. (If you don't have an iPhone either, don't worry. You can access the mobile version on a Smart Phone.) They have School, Sports, Activity, and Childcare schedulers that will keep homeschoolers as well as all schoolers on top of the busy days that are coming.

Check out the Cozi blog for tips on getting and staying on top, PLUS find out about their PTO/PTA Sponsorship contest!

Bob's Your Uncle

You're going to think I'm weird, but even with a digital calendar and a Blackberry, I still rely on a paper calendar. There's just something about writing things into a book that makes me feel better. I like to lay a book open, see the entire month at a glance, and be able to say to a client that yes, I am open on the 25th. And I like to keep things color coded. I'm nerdy like that.

When I saw this in my friend, Candace's Open Sky shop, I was thrilled! I ordered one on the spot!

Check out her post and OpenSky shop to see all the features.

The other thing that keeps me sane when we homeschool?

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

I'm On Top!

Cozi Family is giving away $1,000!!

Use Cozi to get at least ONE family task under control and be entered to win $1,000. Check out the contest details and follow the chatter on Twitter with #imontop.