This month I am taking you on a tour of my favorite organizing solutions. They aren’t likely to hot on Pinterest or featured on a crafty blog, but they make life around here run more smoothly.
Yes, we are those sorts of homeschoolers who school year-round. It seems like people interpret this to mean we are always school, school, school. The truth is that I school year-round so I can have more of a break, not less. I think that having solid school weeks from January until April would require me to take antidepressants, or maybe just turn to rum – at 10am. No one wants either. Ideally, I’d actually sorta sometimes enjoy this life with my little people, and so we keep a year-round schedule. That is, we school for six weeks, then take a week off. We take a week off for Thanksgiving. We take three weeks off for Christmas. We take off two weeks in February, which is the best antidote for the February Blues. We take off the month of June. Sure, we’re doing school in July, but we’ve had numerous vacation weeks while everyone else is in school – which is also nice, because we have the stores, the park, the zoo at their uncrowded times that way.
A break week every six weeks allows me to catch up on the entropy that is inevitable around the house or get to that project that I wish I had time for. Yes, it really is an “or,” not and “and,” I’ve had to admit to myself lately. We had a break week last week and my husband took the Tuesday off and we went for a day trip to the zoo in the big city a few hours away. It was fun.
Six-week chunks are good for memorizing Psalms, passages, poems, and hymns. I swap out Circle Time binder pages during break week, so every six weeks we get new stuff, which helps infuse more energy and excitement into that time.
I’ve already written about how I plan and organize our year-round schedule, so for more, I’ll just send you there. The planning series is still good, and was a lifesaver last year with a new baby, but this year I’m much more minimalist with the all-ahead-of-time copying.
I am very much impressed by the people who regularly set aside time daily, weekly, or even monthly to get their school stuff in order and laid out. As a planner, it seems like I should be able to do the same. However, I have come to grips that I am an administrator, a big-picture thinker, and a synthesizer/creator/planner, but not a task- and detail-oriented person. I can make an amazing, beautiful checklist that incorporates all the right things in just the right way, but I balk at using them. I jump into big, oversized projects with zest, but don’t keep my eyes on the ball to follow through on the daily repetitive necessities.
So, for me, a huge do-it-all-at-once planning and organizing process fits best. I make our plan for the year, print and file papers, ready books, and layout the plans before we begin. However, I don’t keep track of “attendance,” or grades. I am apt to forgo the plan if the boys are caught up in a book or topic or project that is in keeping with my goals but not done in the manner or at the pace I had anticipated. I don’t care about “making up time” or finishing books by the end of the year.
For more on my laid-back approach to lesson plans and school year plans, see my “Without Lesson Plans” posts:
- Low-Key Science, without lesson plans
- History Without Lesson Plans for Early Elementary
- Geography Without Lesson Plans
Schooling “year-round” enables us to get more rest and refreshment throughout the year. It’s about managing energy & effectiveness, not putting in more time and checking off more boxes.
Also, check out my eBook Paperless Home Organization, which lays out step-by-step instructions for creating a home management organizer & planner digitally. Make that smartphone, tablet, or iPod touch a useful tool of your trade!
During the month of October, you can use the discount code organizing for $1.50 off the $3.99 retail price (pdf only).
Moms have a lot of details to keep track of. Here’s how to make your technology work for you, using only your mail program and 2 free apps.