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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Planning the school week at a time!

School time already? The older my children get, the shorter the summers seem. This is the first school year that we have not followed the public school calendar, for that very reason. I get it. There are so many reasons to start school early, but there’s also a few reasons to not, like: beautiful weather, last of the season swimming, yearly burnout in October (is this just me?) nature hikes, play-dates, forgot to order your youngest daughter’s books, (just me again?), so, I felt pretty confident in standing my ground of starting school the day after Labor Day, like we used to when I was a kid. Did I say confident? That was  before everyone starting posting home-school pictures on face book of their children’s rather full school days, wearing matching clothes, and having bows in their hair; While mine were outside ‘loafing’ around, chasing butterflies and charting the process of a frog’s life cycle. Bows in their hair? I would just settle for a hair brushing some days! I quit looking on Facebook. Who needs that pressure? ;-) The butterfly and tadpole season is so short…Let’s hope the whole hair thing is, too!

I wanted to share a blog post that I am finding to be most helpful in my organization of our upcoming school year. I kind of giggled when I typed that. You want to get a Mom to read your blog? You write about organizing. We’re just drawn to it. I can sit and read articles and posts about organizing all morning…and then of course not have time to implement it for all that time spent reading. ;-)  

We have added a few things to our schedule that have left me fearing we won’t be able to complete the things we need to in a day. That’s where a plan that is simple enough for the kids to understand comes in handy. I won’t go into detail about the schedule, I’ll just share the link, but the jest of it is each child has their own binder with 6 dividers in it. One for each day of the week, and one for completed work. Every weekend I will print out any handouts that each child has for the week and put it in the appropriate day’s divider. I’ll also write out their schedule of what book they are supposed to work on and the page numbers I expect to be completed that day. This will free me up in the morning to get my chores completed while they are working alone on the things they don’t need help on. Do you have younger children that can’t work independently yet? Don’t fret! This day comes before you know it, but in the meantime maybe you could put together a little plastic shoe box for each day of the week. Stick a coloring paper, picture book from the library, puzzle, and play dough…anything that can buy you a little bit of breathing space to tackle a few chores in the morning. Just make sure you only let them have those boxes on the days given and for short period of times. That way they don’t get burnt out on them and actually look forward to their ‘box time’.  Oh yeah, before I forget here’s the link She also has some pretty neat printables to help with your scheduling.

As you start your school year, be reminded that your teacher’s guide, planning calendars, schedules, etc. are there to be a tool to help you. Don’t become a slave to them. Not everything has to be marked off every day. That’s the beauty of weekly planning;  you can just roll them over to the next week. I quite often over plan a school day. That’s a surefire way of zapping any fun out of learning. Your kids need to have enough margin in their day to really digest what they just studied. Don’t just scoot them on to the next lesson before they have really comprehended that current one.

As helpful as planning can be, don’t forget the joy of spontaneity. Kids love that unexpected outing…so do I!  And no, you can’t plan a ‘spontaneous’ picnic 2 weeks in advance. ;-)