Thoughts on Teaching: Getting Organized

So in my last post, I talked about how I really wanted to start off my mornings strong.  I realized I needed a Power Morning Routine to make sure that *I* was energized, refreshed, focused, and prepared.  You can read more about all that in this post: Thoughts on Teaching: Creating a Power Morning.

But, along with that I really needed to make sure I was completely organized.

I think maybe because the kids are getting older and the subjects they are learning are getting more complicated, I’m having trouble keeping everything clearly laid out in my head. So now, I find myself taking a lot of notes… what I *plan* to do with the kids… and then notes on where to pick up the next day. If I jot down a quick note (like “pull out the Long i word game for ED” in spelling,) I know exactly what to do the next day… 24 crazy hours later!

I think I mentioned last week that the kids *really* wanted a weekly checklist. Wow–that’s working out really well. (I won’t bother putting the picture in here, but you can see that photo of our Homeschool Assignment Chart here.) There are quite a number of things they do independently and they just blast through the mornings working away on those. In fact, the kids often get up extra early to start checking thing off!  It is truly amazing noticing the difference as they grow and mature! 🙂  This list (like all the printables I made below) is just a Word Doc, so I expect it to change over the course of the semester (in fact, I already changed my mind about what we’re doing for history!!), but so far the kids really like that.

Some days I even like to jot out the general plan I have for the day, so I have one sheet that has various time blocks – hour by hour.  I forget where I saw that layout (below left), but I’ve used a number of those planning sheets. I certainly don’t do that every day, but sometimes when I’m feeling less than motivated having it planned out on paper hour by hour really helps me stay on task.

Anyway, I’ve spent a lot of time working out a system that will work well for me… a 3-ringed notebook with my calendar, various curriculum plans, and planning sheets.  It almost like I need to-do lists to keep track of my to-do lists!!

If you’re interested in any of these you can download these here and edit them yourself: Planning Pages Blanks Word Doc or you can download these as a pdf  Planning Pages Blank

and of course I always share the calendar each semester. It’s also free to download if you visit this post: Free Fall 2015 Calendar (it goes through January)

GettingOrganizedMeal Plans: I’ve never been a meal planner in the traditional way (though I’ve always admired Erica’s beautifully laid out monthly menu plans over at Confessions of a Homeschooler). We just shop and plan things out for a week at a time.  But I found I really needed a cheat-sheet of our regular meals, so that I’m not quite so “stuck” when I planning things out for the week.  I just have the entree name and the main ingredients that we might not have on hand at home. And, it felt really great having a full sheet (front a back, so 30+ meals) to choose from. Once I try a new meal and it gets the thumbs up from the family, then I’ll add it to our list.  (Just last week we tried Erica’s Coconut Chicken.  Two thumbs up, so it got added to the list!)

As much as I love the computer and spend time writing and organizing online, I find I really need those pieces of paper in my hand as we move through out homeschool day.

So that’s it in a nutshell.  I love talking with my friends who also change and tweak their organizational strategies as the years go by.  How about you?  Do you have a good organizational system that works for your family?  Do you change yours up (as much as I change mine)! I’d love to hear what works for you.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! ~Liesl

My next Thoughts on Teaching has to do with with this quote…  “Maximum learning is always the result of maximum student involvement, for we always learn by doing.” Stay tuned for that next week.


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