I so enjoyed talking with you and sharing a little bit about our homeschooling in our Facebook Live yesterday. We are happy to be finished with one school year (Mama and kiddos are tired, lol), but I’m also really excited to plan the next. I tried to include links to the things mentioned in the video. I’ll update it throughout the week as I have time.
Things We Discussed in the HomeSchool LIVE:
Filing HomeSchool Stuff
- Completed work – we use a wall file (Each child has their own pocket where they file their work.)
At the beginning of each month, I try to sort through it. That’s the goal anyway so that it doesn’t get too
- Portfolios – I use document boxes (well, similar ones that I saved from when we ordered our nice planner covers)
to keep up with work we want to save.
- What we keep and What we dont – I don’t keep random worksheets or math pages. I only keep really cute crafts,
some handwriting samples, projects that are easy to save, or our favorite art. I do keep all of their Writing Workshop, all of their Bible Work because it’s kind of like a journal of what they’re learning and how they apply it to their every day lives, and I love that to have and keep. I don’t save random workbooks. I’d only save a unit study if it was really cute.
- Records – My lesson planners are my best records that I keep. There’s no doubt that we ever did school when you take a look at those.
- Long-term Filing – I have two big square fabric bins in our homeschool cabinet. It holds binders of work from previous years, notebooks of work portfolios, and even “out of season” curriculum. It’s hidden storage because it’s not pretty storage, but maybe one day I’ll get around to re-organizing those and probably doing a big purge as well.
- Easy-Access Filing – I have a magazine file turned on it’s side on our shelf. It holds things that we need for our curriculum some days and in future lessons… things like “sight word cards” I’ve printed but not yet cut because we don’t need them yet, timelines pieces for our history, curriciulm I printed myself and havent put in student books yet, things like that…
How I Plan Each Week
- Future LIVE video on this topic – It will be so much easier to show you because every curriculum is different.
- Advance Planning – For some subjects, I plan them weeks in advance – Science, History, Bible, Read-Alouds because those things take prep work. Things need to be added to my shopping list or ordered sometimes, so I need advance time to be ready for them. They aren’t open and go subjects, at least not with the curriculum we are using.
- Interval Planning – We plan our calendar six weeks of work and one week break. This gives us regular breaks throughout the year. It also helps me to do this advance planning during that break or prep week, whatever you’d like to call it. I can also use themes in my planning this way.
**I’ll add my Interval Planner to my shop so you can use it too.
- We do the next thing – When I’m planning our weekly lessons of our “skill-based subjects” (Math, Reading, Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, etc.), we just do the next lesson listed so planning is fairly simple. I do look through my lessons list for each curriculum to make sure we’re “on track” with where we need to be. But that’s the extent of the planning portion.
Free Resources We Use
- Tot School Printables (Age 2)
- Animal ABCS (Age 3)
- Raising Rockstars Preschool (Age 4)
- The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Downloaded Course (But we got hooked downloading that free kindergarten course so we now order it from year to year because we LOVE IT, and can’t find a single curriculum that measures up!) **Looks like they now have levels 1-5 for free download. Kindergarten is not a free download.**
Balancing Our Day Between Different Grade Levels
- We try to do school when the toddler is napping. That works best.
- If the toddler is awake and with us, I have to be okay with some messes… like pulling all the books off the shelf or supplies out of the drawer. As long as he’s not destroying anything or hurting himself, I can always clean up a little mess later.
- Give the toddler something to do! We LOVE LovEvery Play Kits. Lyndon has the Pioneer Kit and the Babbler Kit.
- Work with the Little Ones first. Usually after they get their one on one attention with you, you can easily set them up with a simple activity in the next room and they’ll be good.
**Listen. I know this can be hard. All my kids are still pretty little too. You are a capable mama. You can overcome any of these obstacles if you decide it’s important enough. I’m personally terrible at multi-tasking so it took some training on my part to get my kids to be okay with playing independently. It’s an important skill for them too.
- Keep all of your kids together. We all sit at the same table so I can keep an eye on each one of them and help as needed. One day, the goal is that I would be able to leave and switch out a load of laundry or something while they continue to work and stay on task, but we’re not there yet. I have to stay right with them during school time so that we can get done what we need to and I’m there to help them.
- Encourage independent work. My oldest is finishing second grade. This year, I wrote his daily assignments on the board for him and let him work on his own. I checked his work, helped with only what he needed, but he mostly worked on his own. The idea is that we teach our kids how to learn for themselves… not just to be fed information. (Hmm… that could apply to another area of life, couldn’t it? Yes. That’s why we teach our kids to read. We want them to be able to read the Bible and learn from that. It’s the whole foundation of this homeschool stuff.)
- Learning Centers – We’re going to try a homeschool version of this next year I think… Computer Work, Table Work, and Activities… more on this later 😉
Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…
This is a list from a previous post that I updated a little bit. I added some thing we discussed in the video in case you’re in search of something similar. This is not an exhaustive list. I’ll add to it more as we plan for the next school year.
- My Purposeful Planning HomeSchool Lesson Planner
- My Favorite Disc-Bound Planner Cover (We splurged on this one a little, but you know I waited for a sale too!)
- Disk-Bound Planner Covers the Kids Have Now (We were on the search for covers that would last multiple years and look more masculine for my boys.)
*I’ll post more affordable options from Amazon at the bottom of this post.
- Our Pencil Sharpener
- Our Favorite Pencils
- Frixion Erasable Colored Pens
- Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters
- Erasable Colored Pencils
- Our “New” Favorite Watercolors
- Disc-bound Covers (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
- Metal Discs (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
**I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the customizable flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
- Dry Erase Markers
- Wet Erase Markers
- Label Maker
- ESV Children’s Bible
- 365 Great Bible Stories
- 66 Books One Story
- Window on the World
- Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
- Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
- The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
- Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
- The Student Bible Atlas
- Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
- Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
- Jelly Telly App
- Teaching from Rest Book
- The Same Page Podcast (Great for car rides with your kids- even for non-homeschoolers!)
- Your Morning Basket Podcast
- The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
- The Homeschool Sanity Show
- Raising Arrows Podcast
- Wall File – Great for Completed Work!
- Document Boxes – Great for portfolios!
- Magazine File – Great for loose curriculum, prepped pages and activities, etc.