Life can get hectic at any point during the year, but this is especially true during the holidays. While most of these tips are written with Christmas in mind, they can apply anytime your school year gets busy.
1) Learn to say NO.
Volunteer opportunities abound during the Holidays, particularly at church. Homeschooling takes as much time as a fulltime job. Be very cognizant of not putting too much extra on your plate during this busy time. It’s okay to just say no.
2) Plan for The Time Off That You Will Need
It’s best if you plan for time off during the Holidays before you even begin the school year. Working a vacation into your lesson schedule will be a major sanity saver. Try your best to make it happen if you can. Read tips on Homeschool Scheduling Here.
3) Work on Your Kid’s Favorite Subjects
When kids are dreaming of Santa and sugar plums it will be harder for them to concentrate on their lessons. Getting ahead in favorite subjects can be a fantastic way to make this distractible time work for everyone. Better yet, try out our Holiday SMART Packs. They provide you with fun, thematic, educational content for an entire week.
4) Extra Reading Time
Even when your kids aren’t in classes, independent reading time is a great way to keep them in learning mode. Take a trip to the local library and pack in some holiday themed books! I know my children love to learn about the origination of each holiday or holidays in other countries for example.
5) Play Math and Reading Games
There are plenty of ideas online with learning games for every grade. Put some prep work in the night before and get your kids playing games that will teach them at the same time. ABCya and MathPlayground are two of our favorites.
6) Eliminate Non-Essential Chores
If there are any chores you feel comfortable eliminating for a few weeks, do it. There are plenty of nonessential things that can wait until the holidays blow over.
7) Swap sitting or hire a sitter.
Between parties, and Christmas gifts sometimes you just need extra help. If a sitter isn’t in your budget consider swapping sitting time with another family.
8) Shop Online
I love getting out of the house and shopping for presents, but let’s be honest online shopping can be a huge time saver. When you’re trying to homeschool through the holidays Amazon Prime is worth the price. Try Amazon Prime Free for 30 days Here.
9) Let Someone Else Host the Party
Logistically, sometimes it’s easiest to have the family with the biggest family, or smallest baby host the Christmas party. Consider however the amount of time and deep cleaning that will go into hosting your event. If someone else is willing to host, consider letting them.
10) Relax, and Enjoy.
Don’t let life get too hectic. Take time to sing, bake cookies, read books, make art project and absorb the season. Get plenty of pictures, and try to remember the smiles for years to come.
BONUS TIP: Try out our Holiday S.M.A.R.T. Packs for an entire week’s worth of engaging holiday learning!
Are you tired of planning and re-planning out your homeschool year? There is nothing worse than spending hours upon hours getting organized only to have 2 weeks of sick days to throw a wrench in the works. Or do you start off the year strong, checking off each item from your homeschool planner…..only to completely ignore your plans by the second month in? Well, guess what? It doesn’t have to be this hard. Today, I’m gong to share 6 Simple Steps you can follow to create YOUR perfect homeschool schedule.
Sticking to a homeschool scheduled doesn’t have to be that hard. In fact, it can really be quite easy with a little preparation at the start of the year. Here are six tangible ways you can make your homeschool schedule work for you.
Choosing the Right Start And End Date
Between September 1 and June 1 there are195 weekdays. Most curriculums have 170 days of lessons
So, if your curriculum has 170 days in the curriculum, you could feasibly start the school year September 1, and end June 1 and still have 15 weekdays off.
15 days might seem like a lot but there is still more you need to consider.
- Are you going to want specific holidays or birthdays off?
- How many doctor’s appointments does your family typically go to in a year, including sick appointments?
- Does your curriculum build in review days, or will your child need extra review time?
- Will you be taking many field trips?
- Does your child work well when they’re sick?If the answer is no, then you’ll probably need extra sick days.
- Are you willing to have your children work in the evening if they didn’t complete their school work?
- Do you want to go on a family vacation before all the other kids get out of school?
There is nothing worse than feeling like you need to cram lessons down your kids throats so they finish the school year on time.I would rather start our school year in the middle of August and end mid-June.That way I can have a few more flexible days during the year for Doctor’s appointments and field trips.
Staying On Track During School Hours
- Have a consistent start time.If your kids are consistently not completing their work, then you may need to adjust accordingly.
- Stay home during school hours as much as possible.
- Don’t take phone calls during school hours.
- Don’t do chores during school hours.
- Pick up your groceries from the store using one of the many online shopping programs.
- Use YouTube if your child is struggling with a concept but you don’t have instructional time to explain it multiple times.(I also find my kids hearing something explained in a different way by someone else generally helps them understand a new concept faster).
- Plan daily breaks to help with focus.
- Know what time of day your kids work best and plan accordingly.
Planning Ahead To Stay On Schedule
- Know what assignments your kids can do on their own.Plan your days around it.
- Get ahead on favorite subjects on weekends and days off.
- If you need to miss a day during the week, work on Saturday.
- Plan your week on Sunday evening.Do this every week, because curveballs happen.
What To Do When Something Derails Your Schedule
- Build in plenty of flexible days at the beginning of the year so no one falls behind in work.
- Complete the most critical parts of the missed lessons immediately but then move on and make everything else up gradually.
- Extend your school day by ½ and hour to an hour until everything is made up.
Making The Most Out of Sick Days
- If your kids are seriously sick let them rest as much as possible, otherwise, try and have them do some work.
- Do the worksheets you can verbally.Obviously writing is an important skill, but for the sake of staying on schedule, you can do the writing for a day or two if your kids just can’t focus.
- Read their lessons and books out loud to them.
- Eliminate enrichment work until they’re better.
- Watch educational cartoons or documentaries on what they’re currently working.
Staying Emotionally Healthy
An exhausted homeschool Mom is one who will have a hard time staying on schedule.
- Get enough sleep.
- Stay home Sunday nights.Emotionally prepare yourself for the week.
- Learn to say “I’m sorry no.My plate is too full with homeschooling.”A lot of people assume because you’re at home full time you can do favors for them or the church.Most of us have a hard time saying no.Homeschooling is a fulltime job.You can say no.I promise it gets easier.
- Don’t do activities just for the sake of doing them.Take a step back.
- Give yourself time out of the house without the kids.
Looking for more?
This set of simple homeschooling resources is intended to help you simplify your goal setting, curriculum shopping and daily schedule. Today, we are offering this small collection FREE for all of our newsletter subscribers.
Print Simple Homeschool Planning Pack Here
Homeschool Goals: Sometime before you start your curriculum planning we suggest sitting down and writing out your goals for each student. This doesn’t have to be detailed, it can be as simple as, “Get through 5th grade math.” However, there may be subjects that you have more detailed answers for, “Develop empathy and self control.” Doing this for each student is a great way to customize their education.
Homeschool Curriculum: Print one page for each student and use this sheet to keep track of what products, resources and classes you’ll be using during the year to cover each subject. Take this sheet with you to homeschool conventions and curriculum sales so you can always update and keep organized.
Homeschool Schedule: This sheet is intended to be an independent planner for your students. Print and add in your daily subjects and a photo of your student. Laminate or store in a page protector then provide your student with a dry erase marker to keep track of their daily tasks. Encourage students to mark off the boxes as they complete each task.
Still looking for Homeschool Curriculum?
It’s August and that means Homeschool Planning! Over the years I’ve created a variety of Free Homeschool Planners, Goal Tracking Worksheets, and Curriculum Guides so I thought I’d share them here easily in one post!
Still looking for that perfect curriculum?
Check out The Crafty Classroom eStore!
If you have a young child entering a new school year, this is a great opportunity for them to share about all their favorites and what makes them unique. Today I’ve designed two different keepsake worksheets (one for a boy and one for a girl) for children to color and fill in with all their favorites.
There are lots of spots to fill in, I suggest younger children can draw most of their answers or you can write them in for them.
Find more free Preschool Printables Here
It’s that time of year again!
Many of you have already started your 2015/2016 Homeschool Year.
We’re gearing up to start in less than two weeks and that means it’s time to get things in order and make sure we’re ready to go on our First Day of Homeschool.
Every year I go through a similar process to get ready and it works pretty well for me.
6 Steps to Homeschool Rediness:
- Gathering Information. This step is usually the longest step as is involves carefully collected information throughout the previous year. I’m always paying attention to what works and doesn’t work for each child, as well as new curriculums I might want to try out next year. I usually keep a Pinterest Board or a Bookmarked list of things to look at when it’s time to order. If this is your first year homeschooling, gathering information would involve talking with other homeschooling families, visiting forums, researching curriculum publishers, reading about homeschooling methods….etc.
- Making Goals: One of the benefits of homeschooling is customizing your children’s education to suit their individual needs. Use this Goals Sheet to list out personal goals you’d like each child to complete by the end of the year. Older students should be involved in the goal setting, and if you need somewhere to start try looking up the requirements of your child’s grade level online.
- Coming up with a Plan: After you have a general idea of what you want your end result to be, it’s time to make a Plan! Use this Planning Sheet to list out your current inventory (books, curriculums, digital downloads etc…) that can be utilized to reach your goal. This is an important step, as homeschoolers (myself included) tend to collect (and forget about) educational items all through out the house. Making what you already have work for you is a great way to stretch your homeschool budget.
- Order Your Curriculum: Important Note: Only once you’ve done the previous three steps should you actually place any curriculum orders. Lest you become bitten by the Homeschooling Hoarding Monster and order a zillion items you can’t really use. (There are years which I too have been bitten….thus the necessity of Step #3)
- Organize a Homeschool Space: I’m not talking about redesigning an entire homeschool classroom here, but just clearing off a shelf or a basket or something for your children to keep all of their materials in. In my house each of my children have their own small shelf to store their school books and items. Every year this shelf starts out wonderfully organized and Homeschool Magazine perfect. And at the end of every year it is a Monstrosity. Make it fun to clean it up!! It has become tradition around here to have a Homeschool BURN day…..in which we collect all unnecessary and unkeepsake worthy items that cannot be reused and place them in our burn pile for Winter. You can imagine the giddy smiles of my children as they burn their Algebra homework, and watch their tear soaked papers go up in flames. It is strangely cleansing and therapeutic at the same time.
- Start a Schedule: I’ve never been much for keeping a strict schedule, but it’s good to have some sort of plan that YOU can live with and do you best to stick with it. For me that is a repetitive weekly schedule for my older children, and a sporadic daily plan for my younger children. I used these Homeschool Planners here and encourage my children to check off their assignments as they go. If you’re coming up with your own assignment schedule I have a super simple method that works for most curriculums by breaking it up into customized assignments. Here is an example:
- If we homeschool 5 days a week for 36 weeks that 180 teaching days.
- If I have a health curriculum book that is 300 pages, I’ll assign 2 reading pages a day (which covers 150 teaching days)
- The remaining 30 days remain for the different hands on activities, quizzes and tests which come up through out the year.
- I repeat this method for most of our curriculum and that way my children can work their way through their books, we can miss a day or reorganize something and we don’t have to rewrite the entire schedule….everything just shifts over a day.
- Bonus Step: Get yourself to the nearest Spa. You’ve earned at least a mani-pedi if not a cut and color too. Looking Good, Feeling Good…and ready to start your year!
Well, I’ve done it again.
I’ve waited until the last two weeks before really coming up with a solid Homeschool Plan.
Sure I’ve been collecting various eBooks and curriculum resources over the Summer, but it’s been more like a Homeschool Curriculum feeding frenzy instead of an organized and thoughful process.
It’s time to load everything on the table and see what I’m working with here folks
That is not even this years photo.
I’m so far behind, I haven’t even made the obligatory mess of dining room table yet.
It’s going to be a busy week folks.
So to keep myself invested in this process I decided to update our Independent Weekly Homeschool Calendar, as well as our Goals and Planing sheets. You can still print the older versions here and here if you like them, but this year I needed a little Color Pop to get my act in gear. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around how to schedule your curriculum, try this simple tip for each subject. How to make a list of Goals, Resources, and Action Plan
I’ll be using these with my younger children this year for sure! My older children are going to try Lesson Trek, mostly because I thought Middle School would be a great time to learn how to keep an online calendar as well. We’re always looking for real life scenarios to add in that Technology requirement!
I’ve just finished our Letter of the Week Preschool Curriulum, and it’s very low-prep, so grab that if you need a quick fix for your kiddo too.
If you are looking for encouragment during your homeschool journey, my friend Jamerill Stewart has an amazing resource to share with you today.
Hope for the Heart of the Homeschoom Mom (Kindle Edition) is Free Today and Tomorrow (2/24/15-2/25/15)
“The pages of Hope for the Heart of the Homeschool Mom is a collection of encouragement to prayerfully strengthen your soul for this God-given journey. A journey that’s beyond stretching and beyond worth it.”
“Hope. Encouragement. Sanity. On any number of homeschooling days, I’ve needed all three. It’s not that homeschooling is an unwanted chore. Homeschooling my children is one of my greatest joys. It’s a privilege. I’m so incredibly blessed by this undertaking.
And I’m challenged. I’m pulled. I’m stretched. I’m growing. I’m finding my reheated coffee in the microwave at 2 p.m. wondering where the morning went. Trying hard to soak up the sweet and sacred moments with these souls and miss stepping on the Lego pile in the process.
Friend, I’m sure you’ve felt the same.”
Download Here: Weekly Planner Sharks
Download Here: Weekly Planner Flower
I know we’re mid-Summer, but if you’re like me you like to get a head start on some homeschool planning.
(or at least some homeschool pinning)
Today I have a super simple and updated version of our weekly homeschool planner.
I’m not sure if you can count it as a planner because really it’s just a single page, but it’s worked for me for the past 5+ years and I think it’s the easiest planner around.
You know I’m all about simple.
There is a place for children to write their name, the week number across the top. Subjects go in the left hand column, and daily assignments go across the row. There is a section for notes, as well as general life planning and after school events at the bottom.
If you’re looking for a complete planner simply print up one sheet for each week then bind them together or keep them in a three ring binder.
However, here’s how I use them:
Because many curricula come with pre-scheduled assignments in the front of the book I actually have my children use this as a daily completion chart. I laminate mine, hang them up on the wall and then as they complete each subject they check off their work for the day. I think this is a fantastic way to encourage them to take responsibility for completing their work, and it helps them to SEE what they have left to do for the day.
I created this planner to encourage children to keep track of their own schedules.
Not just because I’m a little lazy when it comes to planning, but because I want my children to start to learning planning and organizing skills for themselves. That is the goal right. Little birds learning to fly on their own.
Download From This Page: Weekly Homeschool Planner K-5
If you have younger children try our K-5th grade planner. There are boy and girl versions, blank and pre-written ones as well. Instead of the notes section the younger planners include a weekly box for a sticker when their goals are completed.
Harder then math. Harder then science.
Definitely harder then P.E.
Character is on my TOP list of reasons why I homeschool.
Character is a teach by example sort of subject.
Can I just say without any reserve that the Character has been lacking around here lately.
(yes….I do realize what I’m admitting to here.)
And more honestly,
our house has turned upside down with more Negative then Positive reinforcement lately.
Obviously, that is not going to work for very long.
So in an effort to turn things on the positive,
I made these little Character Charts:
I put the children’s names on them, and then surrounded them with positive behaviors
and virtues that (I’m hoping) we will see through out the week.
HOW IT WORKS:
The charts will hang up in the classroom where everyone has access to them.
They are meant to be colored in, one letter at a time,
when the child displays that positive character trait.
So anytime anyone sees Charlie being peaceful they would color
in one letter of the word peaceful.
You can’t fill in your own letters
You can’t persuade anyone to fill in a letter for you.
Try your best to SECRETLY fill in a letter for others, don’t let them see you!
Younger Siblings Rule:
When you catch the babies/tot doing good, PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE them by naming the character trait and walking them over to fill in the letter.
I’m hoping my children will get excited to see the new colored in letters each day.
Maybe discussions of, “Hmmm, I wonder what I got that being peaceful letter for?”
or “Boy, I don’t have any helpful letters….”
I’m sure by the end of the month we will all know what character traits we are struggling with.
Yup. Giving myself the letter “b” for that move.
Wish me luck!
I have lots of photos and even a fun giveaway coming,
but too be honest our homeschool days have been DRAGGING along.
Sissy (9) has reached LONG DIVISION.
IF you missed our Curriculum post,
Sissy is using Math-U-See Delta, and so far (up to this point),
she has FLOWN through the book.
It’s been cake.
When we first hit long division,
She even FLEW through single digit divisors.
But then we hit double digit divisors and we literally came to a rushing halt.
It was like a smack in the face with cold broccoli.
The days of cake were long (division) gone.
It just wasn’t….sinking in.
We spent three weeks trying to get into a rythym with these,
printing off extra practice sheets and doubling our time for Math,
We kept our Base 10 blocks within arms reach of our dining table.
But nothing worked.
She would become frusterated.
She wouldn’t finish her lessons.
She would stay up to the wee hours struggling quietly in her room,
spending her nightly “reading” time with math instead.
“I HATE MATH”
was the new slogan around here.
It was really depressing, and
I finally talked with her ES about our frustrations.
(Education Specialist from a local charter school we joined)
And you know what she said?
“She’s just not ready.
It’s okay to put it up on the shelf and come back later.”
We can do that.
For some reason I thought that if we put enough hours into Math,
it would “CLICK” and a little lightbulb would go off right above her head.
And more honestly,
maybe I just needed permission to quit.
… before we finished…
…with pages left….
So that’s what we did.
Bunch-o-Quitters around here now.
We tucked Math-U-See back up on the shelf for a while,
and decided we are going to give it another go in the Spring.
Obviously, we didn’t quit math entirely.
We brought out Envision Math instead, because
for some reason Math-U-See covers double digit divisors and Envision doesn’t.
So now, Sissy is happily using Envision Math.
We started mid book near lesson 8,
which strangely evened the scales in my OCD mind.
Balance has been restored.
The long-division weight has been lifted and
The girl is smiling about numbers again.
Well not so much smiling, but
I haven’t heard “I HATE MATH” all week!
I’m feeling pretty blessed with this small reminder of why we homeschool.
If you’re looking to rediscover your Homeschool Joy, check out Bloom this Summer!
It’s the final week in the Not-back-To-School Blog Hop,
and that means you get to see our average homeschool day,
and how it all goes down.
To be honest we are pretty laid back.
I do my best to encourage my older children to keep track of their own schedules.
I am still using these weekly student planners, they seem to work pretty well
for keeping track of morning chores, schoolwork, and our after-school activities.
Here’s a breakdown of our usual day:
8:00-8:30 Wake up, breakfast, get ready for the day.
9:00-9:30 Children start their schoolwork.
Usually they do all the resources they can do with minimal help first.
This includes: Handwriting, Language Arts, Reading, Math, Writing, Typing, Spanish.
I am available to help them with their lessons as needed. I am usually doing my own chores, and keeping my little babies busy and away from my older children so they can study.
11:30-12:00 Lunch. We are super simple at lunch time. Usually a hot plate from last nights meal, or a quick sandwich with fruit.
12:00-2:00 (Nap Time for the babies) I teach all remaining lessons for the day.
This includes: History, Science, Geography, Social Studies, and Art.
2:00 Playtime, P.E. and After school activities. This is also a time for my children to finish any of their earlier lessons if they didn’t complete them, or to receive extra help on a lesson that was too difficult.
Total time in school each day is about 4 hours.
If you’re wondering how our week breaks down by subject,
here are my basic weekly plans:
Five Days a Week:
Handwriting, Math, Writing, Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies, Spanish, Typing, P.E
Three Days a Week:
Two Days a Week:
One Day a Week:
Art (instructional), Health
We do use a reward system for meeting weekly goals. You might notice the three large check boxes on the right side of the planner. I’m not sure how much longer I will use this with my children, but they do seem to look forward to the “goodie bag” at the end of the week.
To earn this prize they must complete three things each week.
First, they have gotten ALL of their morning list done in a reasonable amount of time.
Second, they showed cheerfullness during their school days. I use a check system and if they recieve three checks in one day, then they are out of the running. I also use bonus stars for exemplary behavior.
Finally, they must have completed all of their assigned work on time.
It’s pretty simple, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be bribing my little ones like this. With my oldest, I might push the reward to a monthly prize instead of weekly.
I’m wondering what everyone else does?
Do you use rewards in your classroom?