Lists For Back To School

back to school lists One of the greatest inventions was the idea of keeping track of things with a list, and what better way to celebrate Back to School, than with a series on lists! I’ve tackled organization with the disclaimer that I’m not naturally an organized person. In the series on organization I’ve taken back and overturned the chaos of messy piles and will soon be looking at a newly organized and CLEAN home! I’m excited.

In fact, I mentioned to my sister-in-law the other day how excited I was to have one top shelf almost cleared off. Okay, I admit — I’m a work in progress. I’ve decided that what works for me is cleaning in small bursts. If I can clean one section of a room and keep it clean, then clean another section in a weeks’ time I have a clean room! The key is keeping it clean.

But, we were discussing homeschooling … so, the list can be massive but take or delete what you’d like. I’ve created a podcast on the topic here as well. See what you think. The lists are over on the podcast post- on VintageHomeschoolMoms episode 96  – Amazing Lists For Homeschooling – so don’t forget to download yours.

An overview of the topics of the podcast began with listing making in general for your homeschool.

Lists for back-to-school

Select Your Curriculum and Order It:

By this time many of you have your curriculum; however I know many of you are still ordering books as we speak! There are many great book selections from Cathy Duffy on her website of homeschool reviews. She wrote a series of books on the topic of the Top Homeschool Picks. My own books have been selected in two of her books. So, once you’ve selected your books – order them! I know many of you enjoy free products, but if you do get these, be sure to keep them in a file so you can find the when the time comes.

Organize Your Homeschool Space:

Atmosphere – atmosphere – atmosphere – let your learning space be a place that is conducive to learning. Be sure to check for clutter, keep books contained and be sure to pick up after each school day. Whether you school in the kitchen, on the dining room table, back porch (as we did one year while our house was being remodeled), or you have a specific room for school, make sure it is organized.

Organize Your Supplies:

I love office supplies – seriously, I could spend hours in office stores. However, discount stores are much more reasonably priced when it comes to school supplies. Every year I purchased the kids new spiral notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils; and when they got older, mechanical pencils, pens and highlighters. We keep all of our saved work (the ones we will keep to show for evaluations) in a big 3-Ring binder book.  That is handy all year so as I see papers that are worthy of inclusion I will ask the kids to place them in the book. You will have to help the really little ones. I also purchased a good 3-Ring Notebook-all-in-one that has multi-subjects and multi-pockets. Once the kids were in high school we no longer needed this type of binder. It just didn’t hold enough papers. They prefer spiral notebooks anyway to keep all their notes within. I like to surprise the kids with one, two or three special things. Like the year I purchased time-line notebooks, or special school supplies and holders. It is after all the first day of school when I pass out the new books and supplies, so I like to make it special.

Organize Your Books:

messy homeschool shelves organized

Shelves – Before and After They Were Organized! http://www.HomeForLearning.com

How exciting – new books! I love to get the new school books for the year, even if it means I’m pulling books from the shelves and placing them on another! Many beloved books are keepsakes, and we’ve added them to our library. These were used for many years ago, by their older siblings. Organizing the books on one or two shelves helps the children to have easy access. I am going to admit that after many years of homeschooling my bookshelves are a wreck! I organize reading books for literature, books I will read to them and I give them their school books such as Math to keep at their own desks. It makes it easy for me to see whether or not they’ve completed their reading lists by a quick view of the shelves as well as their check-off lists. Here is a picture of one set of shelves that are going to be organized and another set that is almost completed!

Organize Your Year:

You’ve got the books – now take out a calendar and look at how long it will take you to complete the books on hand. For example, if a science book has 300 pages you would divide the number of pages by the number of school days. Here in Florida we school for 180 days so do the math! Be sure to leave holiday days – for example, if you are taking days off for vacations, Christmas holiday break, etc., you want to plan for these times as well. Once you do this with all your books you can move onward.

Unit Studies – or Theme Studies:

For unit studies, I always gave myself six-to-eight weeks to complete the study. Many times it didn’t take us that long, so we filled in the time with extra reading, field trips and fun television shows or videos that kept us on track. Other times, if it was something mom didn’t like studying – like insects, we’d motor through the unit study and move on to the next one. I’d also give myself some planning time in-between to find additional books or plan out my days. However, I knew exactly what we’d study for the entire year or I could loose valuable time trying to make it up on the go!

homeschool scheduleOrganize Your Day:

Years ago I was very frustrated that the kids were having difficulty completing their work. My husband asked me to create a simple check off list. When they were younger it included time –so for example where math was it would say 30-min. All the kids had to do was check off Math when they did the work. Every week they turned it in for special stickers, a movie night, or something else fun we had planned. No checkoff list meant an extra chore. You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

Once you get your books the ideal is to divide pages by the number of weeks in the school, for you textbook people and create a schedule like this chart.

Here is another version to download: Example Check Off Lists-2

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school.

You can give this to your children as a guide and keep one for yourself. This is a high school example, but you can do this same type of thing with elementary students or middle school. I have a daily check off list I give my children as well – for a copy go here: blank copy and another one here: Example Check Off Lists – Younger and older ones here: Example Check Off Lists-Older

Whatever format you use – even if you un-school – it is nice to keep track of your progress – and it helps the children become familiar with check-off lists!

Organize Your Child’s Work station:

We’ve homeschooled on the kitchen table, on the back porch, out of a book bag on the way to doing errands, in the car on audio cassette and CD (by the time mp3 came along, my kids had outgrown “car learning”, and in a desk in a designated room. We’ve done it all in the years since I first decided to homeschool. So, what is the common thread in homeschooling in various places? Keep your stuff together! Some homeschool moms keep clear bins with plastic lids and contain their school stuff there. Other’s school out of a closet or shelf. Whatever you do give your child ample space to spread out.

What is on your list? Share yours with all of us!

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Deposit Photo – photo credit – stuartm

Comments

  1. I wanted you to know I was really encouraged & challenged by your Aug blogs about organizing our lives & homeschool before the start of school. It helped us get off the ground better this school year. Thank you! 🙂

    • mediaangels says:

      Thanks so much! It helped me as well, Amy. I am not a very organized person but I love to see my house neat!

  2. What a wonderful list of ideals and I like the check off list for work and offering a special incentive and will borrow this ideal from you. Have a good day.

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