This is my 15th or 16th year homeschooling. You would think I surely know what I’m doing by now. Ha! In some ways I do feel confident about things (I’ve settled on some curriculum choices that have fit our family well and prepared us for higher education), and in other areas I continually feel inadequate and ill-equipped to educate these precious children.
David and Sarah – the last of my homeschooling kiddos!
Thank goodness for the Lord’s guidance, equipping, presence and wisdom! Not to mention the amazing friends I’ve met and known over the years who gladly share their ideas and input.
Right now I’m in the midst of finishing up our school schedule for September. I’ve found a system that works for us, and I LOVE planning things out for a month at a time. I only have 2 children that I’m homeschooling this year. Gasp! Two in college and one in a full time program at the local technical school – crazy!
After much trial and effort, this is what I’ve developed for our school scheduling.
It’s time for the kids to head back to school. If you’re overwhelmed by all you need to buy and organize, don’t hit the panic button just yet. These tips will help you save money and reduce stress, too.
iPad and School Supplies
1. Take an inventory of the supplies your child already has. You’ll be amazed at the forgotten notebooks, pens, markers and rulers you can find in a drawer or last year’s backpack.
2. Have your child try on last year’s clothing. Make a list of what needs to be replaced. Ask other parents if they’d consider participating in a clothes swap. And look through your child’s unwanted sports equipment to see if you can resell anything.
3. Compare prices online and in flyers before heading out to shop. See which stores have a price match policy and which are running the best sales. In some areas, local health departments offer free basic school supplies to parents who bring their child in for immunizations.
4. Check with your child’s school or refer to their class supply list before buying any high-priced technology items like computers and calculators to make sure those items are required. I found that most of the business level office supplies have better quality for a lower price than child’s oriented ones, this neenah astrobrights paper in example.
5. Buy backpacks with prevention in mind. Although your kids may want neon superhero backpacks, you should be more concerned about getting the right fit to help prevent injuries and joint problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends looking for backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back, or buying a rolling backpack if your child will normally be carrying a heavy load.
This oversize tablet is what I prefer to use:
Years ago I found this handwriting tablet at a school supply store. I used it for our science curriculum – I wrote notes on it and had the children copy them down in their own folders. After that it sat for a long time behind our piano (the storage place for random poster paper). When I decided to work on a large chart for the kids, this came to mind and I realized it would be perfect.
Originally I used it like this and hung it in the wall of our dining room:
I loved picking different colors for the kids’ school subjects and writing everything down. They liked being able to see at a glance what work they had to do each day and being able to check them off as they completed work.
At some point I realized the individual sections were exactly the size of our mailing labels from our holiday letters. A brilliant idea came to mind – I could use the template in Word to type out the kids’ schedules and then print them off. This would still allow me to color code things for each child, but would save me a huge amount of time in writing and re-writing each thing.
Copy and Paste is a wonderful thing!
Now the charts look something like this:
I try to pick cute graphics for each month, and it still takes me a little time to draw the lines for the calendar, but the overall project is so worthwhile! I get to adjust our schedules easily and each child knows exactly what the month holds. Fridays we have co-op, so we don’t have much scheduled for that day.
A closer look of Sarah’s chart.
How do you organize your monthly school schedules?