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Do you ever just want to scream, “Just tell me what to do so I can do it!”? That’s what I felt like when I first started homeschooling. I wanted a cookie cutter answer for all my questions. My head hurt from all the questions I had swirling in there. I felt like homeschoolers even had their own language: HSLDA, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Course of Study, Scope & Sequence, Unit Studies, and more! I now call this “homeschool-ese.” However, back when I was just starting, there just seemed like there was so much to try to wrap my brain around.
Deep down I knew I didn’t want a cookie cutter answer. That was one of the reasons I was homeschooling. I was done with the cookie cutter approach to education that my kids were getting in public school. I wanted to teach to their unique bend.
When all my boxes arrived with curriculum, it felt like Christmas came early. I’d get back from office supply stores with a little buzz. I was so excited. Put everything in our school area and separated it by who was using the different books. I thought I was ready.
Written by Kristi Clover
Then I got started — and a new cry was coming up from my lips, “What in the world do I do with all this stuff?” The kids were doing work and I had no idea where to put it. We had stuff to file, stuff to save, stuff we needed handy — STUFF!
Don’t even get me started on how long it seemed to be taking to get each day started. I was trying to follow my neatly formulated planner, but we had a toddler in the house. We could barely get through one subject.
I was overwhelmed
Now, to back up a bit, you need to understand that I’ve been speaking on home organization for years. I figured I would naturally be able to get our homeschool organized. It wasn’t natural at all. It took me years to figure out how to best structure our day and year. Homeschooling was a totally different ball game than homemaking.
Ha! I guess that was one of the other problems, too. I still had a home to manage. All those systems had to be changed, too.
Through all my years homeschooling, I feel like I’ve finally found a balance between homeschooling and homemaking. I also finally figured out a unique combination of systems to get us on top of all the homeschool STUFF.
So, what is the magic sauce? Let me share a little with you.
Let’s Bring Sanity Back to Your Homeschool!
1- Throw Away the Cookie Cutter!
I finally understood that “one thing” for each child would not work. There was no cookie-cutter approach to educating my kids — or to getting organized. My homeschool changed each year as we grew our family and as each of my kids grew. Our first year no one could do more than penmanship independently. I was involved in every aspect of their day. My kids are unique and our homeschool is unique. I’ve learned to just embrace that and look for ways to get organized that work around this.
2- Use Pencil!
Life is messy. Things will get thrown at you throughout the year that you didn’t expect. Last year I had unexpected major surgery that laid me up for 8 weeks. It was really hard. But our homeschool kept going because of the systems that I had in place. I’ve learned through the years to be flexible and use pencil. I plan our weeks out, but I don’t put dates on my checklists until we are ready to start that week.
3- Plan by Week!
As I just mentioned, I’m a big believer in planning by week and not by day. It’s so much easier to plan for 34 or 36 weeks of a homeschool year than to come up with 180 days of work. This is where I get on my planner soapbox. Planners that require you to plan your year on a calendar based format will drive you crazy. Cue the eraser dust! If you love planners, then look for a planner that is planned by week and has a calendar in the front. Confused? Well, if you were to take two weeks off in the middle of your homeschool, would your planner be completely thrown off? If it is calendar based, then it will be. If it is weekly based, then it won’t be. I’m getting ready to do a video on my favorite planner to use for weekly planning. I personally create my own (more on that below). However, I’m always asked about planners. So, stay tuned for that planner video.
4- Get Help!
One of my home organization tips is, “Don’t re-create the wheel.” There are so many resources out there to help you get organized. Pinterest is always great. However, know that not every approach will work for you and your unique family. So be selective. But also be willing to try different things. Another phrase I use in my book, “Glean & Tweak!” Glean from others, then tweak it to work for your family.
Hope these tips help to bring some sanity back to your homeschool. Just know that it’s very normal to feel overwhelmed. Also, know that I created a homeschool organization course that I designed to work with your unique family. I sit down and walk you through all my best homeschool tips and all the organizational systems that will work for you to tweak to get you and your kids organized. In the course, I explain all the ways you can tweak it. I have friends who have been homeschooling for over 20 years who started using it and were blown away by how much easier their homeschools ran using my systems. Hope you’ll check it out. There’s a coupon code below.
One last thing to remember to bring some sanity back to your homeschool: Organized doesn’t mean perfect.
Please don’t think for a minute that being organized means your house is perfect and your homeschool is always neat. There can be weeks where this is true. However, give yourself some grace and know that you have a lot of moving parts in your home when you are homeschooling. Just remember to give those little “movers” lots of hugs and kisses, too.
I’d love to help however I can. Here are a few resources that I can offer:
- My Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course! It’s on sale now — plus if you use CLOVER10 you can get an additional $10 off either the digital or the DVD version of the course.
- Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids! — My new book! It should be out in the next couple of weeks, but we are taking pre-sales now. I co-wrote this book with Tricia Goyer, a homeschool mom of 10. This book is my heart for homeschool families on pages. Hope you’ll check it out.
- Homeschool Consultation. Recently added this to my store. Sometimes it just helps to talk to a homeschool veteran mom.
Some free resources:
- I have a homeschool page on my blog that has tons of posts on homeschooling.
- There’s also a homeschool resource page with lists of resources for all different subjects and basics.
- Check out my YouTube channel that has tons of videos on homeschooling…I even let you see my homeschool when it’s messy. I’m getting ready to film a “How To Homeschool” series.
- I also do “Live” Homeschool Q & A on Fridays at 12 pm PST on my Facebook page. So, be sure to head over there and join in.
Blessings and joy,
Kristi Clover is a Christian, homeschooling mom to five kids ranging from teens to tots and wife to her high school “crush.” Aside from her family (and chocolate), she’s passionate about encouraging women in their faith and inspiring them in their daily lives as moms, wives, and homeschoolers by offering “simple solutions for a more joy-filled life.”
Not surprisingly, you can usually find her at home trying to bring some order and fun into the mayhem of daily life. Kristi is a down-to-earth writer and an energetic speaker who loves to share about her adventures in marriage, motherhood, and homeschooling at KristiClover.com — and on her new podcast, the Simply Joyful Podcast! Kristi is also the creator of the Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course and the author of Homeschool Basics: How to Get Started, Keep Motivated, and Bring Out the Best in Your Kids, co-authored with Tricia Goyer.
This is day 21 of my Homeschooling 101 Blog series. I’m so glad you are here! Stay tuned because we have more veteran homeschoolers sharing their tips with you almost every day right here. Oh and don’t forget to join the Exclusive Facebook group to chat it up with our bloggers, ask questions and just be a part of our amazing and growing community!