Hello there! Welcome to Day 2 of the Homeschool Review Crew’s Not Back to School Blog Hop!
As I look back over my family’s homeschool journey, there are several resources that stand out as the things that made us successful and gave me (the mom/teacher/enrichment planner) peace of mind and heart. Here they are!
A Family Chore Plan
Some of you moms may be naturally organized home-keepers. My talents lie in different directions! And yet, the homeschool life in itself produces some amount of clutter. Papers. Binders. Pens. Books. Add that to the normal detritus of family life and you discover you REALLY need some help with organization. Plus, we want our kiddos to learn how to do cleaning duties and keep an orderly home, since a) that helps everyone who lives in our home currently and, b) they’ll be living on their own some day in the future!
We’ve tried a variety of products to help with this. We’ve done kid chore charts, that have daily lists that you can fill in for a child to complete and places to check the chores off when they’re done. We’ve used wipe-off magnetic boards on the refrigerator which can be used the same way. In our high school years, our favorite and most helpful resource was Motivated Moms, a service that can either be utilized in print format or as an iPhone app. It lists tasks to be done each day (nice because then we don’t have to come up with them ourselves!) plus rotates in and out seasonal or quarterly jobs that need to be done but that might be forgotten. I have the app, but I preferred printing out the weekly pages and putting them on a clipboard. Each of us in our 3-person family would pick a certain number of chores, do them each day, then check them off. No muss, no fuss, order and cleanliness achieved!
Homeschool days are full. Especially if you add coops, sports, outside lessons and classes, volunteering, jobs. During most of our homeschool years I would hit 4 PM and just feel as though I was DONE. Add to that, that I’ve been a morning person most of my life, so in addition to being tired from teaching my natural energy levels were starting to ebb. And if I had to plan a meal and cook it?
During my time with the Homeschool Review Crew, I was offered the chance to review MyFreezEasy.com. It has, honestly and truthfully, saved my sanity! And fed my family! Erin Chase’s meal planning program is organized around freezer cooking. You take a day, do your shopping, then place ingredients for each meal (you can do as many as you wish, but we generally did about 7-8 at a time) inside large ziploc bags or 9″ x 13″ aluminum pans. Then you stick those in the freezer. On any given day, you have planned, pre-prepared meals in the freezer. All you have to do at that point is pull them out, let them thaw if necessary, and place them in the crockpot or in the oven. Voila! A healthy, delicious dinner is ready to go.
A lesson planner that’s right for you
You really do need a good lesson planner. For several reasons:
- You’ll need a plan for what you’ll be doing in your homeschool, each day and week.
- You’ll need to be able to know what you’ve completed and what is still outstanding in your child’s lessons.
- You may need to have records for your state or local school district indicating what you’ve studied or at the very least, the number of days you have homeschooled.
- One day…perhaps years from now, depending on where you are in your homeschool journey…you’ll need to prepare a high school transcript for your child’s graduation, college applications, and your own records.
I have used different brands and types of lesson plans. Some of my friends swear by online record keeping, but I need something more tactile and visual. (And erase-able!) I have used teacher’s plan books as well as lesson plan books just for homeschoolers. Those were the right ones for me. Planners from The Old Schoolhouse (Hey Mama! Planner) and A Well-Planned Day were my favorites.
Beautiful office supplies
Part of my own self-care includes using things that make me smile or feel happy each day. I can’t tell you how excited I have gotten every year when it has been time to go to Staples’ or Office Depot’s teacher sales! (I recommend signing up for their teacher programs, by the way; you’ll be able to attend special sales and get discounts throughout the year.)
I use a lot of Post-It Notes, tape, staples, pencil sharpeners, and pens. I found a gel pen (Pentel EnerGel) that comes in PURPLE, glides across the page, and doesn’t smear. Homeschool moms take on a huge task each year. Find some things that make your mom/teacher job easier and that help you enjoy what you’re doing. Sometimes you just need a little something to enjoy!
Something that will settle your heart and lift you up each day
As a Christian, I’ve found (again, I’m a morning person) that spending time in God’s Word and/or a devotional to start my day makes all the difference for me in the world. It strengthens my heart, reminds me I’m not alone, helps me to think about good and perfect things.
I reviewed The Homeschool Mom’s Bible one year and it was truly a Godsend. It contains the entire Bible, plus daily devotionals on a huge array of topics written by homeschool moms. It made such a difference for me as I homeschooled. There can be some loneliness as a homeschool mom; of course, you’re with your precious children every day, but on the daily you’re probably not surrounded by coworkers who are doing what you are doing. This Bible reminded me that I was not alone, and encouraged and blessed me daily.
Would you like to see what other Crew homeschool moms found as their most valuable resources? Click on the link below, to visit the Must-Have Resources. Maybe you’ll find just what you need!