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Perhaps these simple tips will not be as revolutionary for you as they have been for me, but since it took me fifteen years of homeschooling to develop these strategies I might be able to save you some time and frustration.
Clearly Mark Assignments
Since I do not use a planning book, I would often give assignments for independent work for children. Either I would forget to check the assignment or the child would forget to complete it. Tweaking the way I indicate assignments has helped with this.
During my one-on-one time with a child, I write the next day’s date at the top of the pages I want the child to complete independently. I also mark the page (or the first page in a series) with a post-it note. This works as well for preprinted workbooks as it does for blank pages a child is to use for copying or written narrations.
Hoard My Own Stash
How many times did I want to begin a lesson with a child only to spend the available teaching time looking for scissors, a bottle of glue, or markers? Of course we owned all these supplies and had them—somewhere—in the house, but I never seemed to be able to find them when I needed them!
This year I by-passed all that frustration. I purchased all the supplies I would need and placed them in a “Mom’s Only” container (far from the place where we keep the readily available supplies, I might add). I still have my permanent markers and sharp scissors, but I also have my set of twistable crayons and colored pencils, several sets of Crayola markers, two decks of playing cards, a couple of (sharpened) pencils, index cards, alphabet stamps, all the variety of supplies I use when teaching the children.
Sunday Evening Family Meeting
Now that we have adult children, the family schedule and calendar has become much more complicated. Who works when? Who’s turn is it to drive? What are the upcoming outside-the-home activities?
Also since all the children are not home all the time, it is easy to miss important family announcements such as “don’t leave clean clothes on the dryer” and “we will celebrate Rich’s birthday two days late to accommodate his work schedule.”
Throughout the week Steve and I keep running lists of things to address. (OK, I have a list; Steve has an item or two.) On Sunday evening, we put the little ones (under five-years-old) to bed a little early and we all sit down with the family calendar and our lists and plan our week.
Even though we have missed a few weeks, this regularly scheduled pow wow makes a big difference on the functioning of the household. We often cover everything from which day is a child’s laundry day to how to handle a disobedient little sibling to who can babysit little ones on date night.
These moments together has also become a special time of fellowship and fun that the children look forward to (unless they’re the one that left the clean laundry on the dryer, that is).
What organizational habits have you implemented that impact your daily family life? Share your ideas with us!