Homeschooling ABCs - Lesson C

August 17, 2009 by Terri Leave a reply »

Hi there,

I hope that you are having a great Monday!  This is the 3rd Monday in our August Spectacular.  There are still two more to go.  I am so pleased that you are enjoying these lessons.  I do realize that we have brand new homeschoolers and very experienced homeschoolers accepting these 5 free lessons and it can be a challenge to address everyone at their point of need and interest.  However, it does seem that we can all use the reminder to keep first things first.  Even me!

We look forward to your comments on Lesson C which you can post here.  You certainly do not have to post anything today or ever.  But if you want to be included in the drawing to win the full course on September 1st, then we ask that you post at least 1 comment per lesson.  It only takes 2 minutes so why not do it now while you are thinking about it.  We’ll draw 25 winners on 9/1 plus we are giving away 10 runner up prizes as well.  The first 25 names that are drawn will receive the remaining lessons in the course (27 lessons in all).  The runner up prize winners will receive the next 2 lessons in the series.

So take a moment and post your thoughts.  I look forward to reading them.

And have a great week!


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148 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    I really like the advice Cindy offers about working within the family’s natural rhythm, whether it’s work spaces or timing of activities. It can be so tempting to try to make another family’s schedule or system work for yours, rather than work out what it is your own family needs.
    Thanks again for all this work! I’m off to work on schedules now!

  2. Linda N says:

    I always love how these lessons have suggestions that I never thought of. For example, I really needed help with organizing books. (We really do have a “home library”!) Now, I will use some of the suggestions from this lesson to help us out. Thanks!

  3. Kerstin says:

    I really liked Terri’s suggestion about having a Book Master to keep the home library in order, and the school boxes with each child’s school things in it. Cindy’s ebook about beginning a library and notebooking is excellent for the new homeschooler. You will be glad you started the library and notebooking to start a heirloom of your family!

  4. Tina says:

    I really liked the school planner. That will help me tremendously in planning out everything from my housework to my lessons. There was so much good information for me this week it took me a while to come by here and post. Thanks so much. This lesson has really helped me alot.

  5. Alisha says:

    Thanks once again! This lesson came at the perfect time as I had set aside the week to start getting things organized for our homeschool. I loved the idea of school boxes and went out and got one right away! We already have quite an extensive collection of books but I haven’t had any organization to them yet so I really plan on putting those suggestions to use right away. We will definitely be using the “book master” idea to help keep things organized once we get our system in place.

  6. Maggie says:

    I love the organizational hints and ideas. What a great resource for a newbie,…I wish I could find more like that!
    I also love that all the ideas and suggestions just seem to flow so perfectly and easily into my Waldorf curriculum. Homeschooling seems to be made for that type of curriculum, where school is all about living and fostering the joy of lifelong learning.

  7. Becki says:

    I really appreciated the breakdown of “what to learn - per se” per grade(s) level. I wish I would have had that info early on in the homeschool adventure!

  8. Laura says:

    Scheduling is so very overwhelming to me. I never have time alone enough to do it right, so this year I am going to make that my priority. Thank you for the forms from the schoolhouse planner. I’m usually better doing things with paper and pencil but I’m going to give it a try to put it in on computer and print it out. Wish me luck!

  9. Karen says:

    Here’s my schedule for my kindergartener:

    30-45 min in the morning of Bible, nursery rhymes, and library books
    A lengthy break
    Up to 30 min of math/reading/handwriting when his 2yo sister is napping (after lunch).

    Sometimes when the 2yo climbs into her high chair mid-morning I’ll have math. I’m hoping to include her more by the end of the school year (June).

    Some days are slightly different, due to doctor’s appointments or a different work schedule for me, but that’s our basic framework.

    I have most of our library in boxes right now, the books that he’ll grow into. When we started homeschooling last month, the 2yo would engage in the story for awhile, then clear the bookshelves. Maybe in a year or so I can use the middle and lower shelves again. (Btw, the children’s books are in crates in the living room. It’s easier for them to select books for themselves that way at this age).

    I consider science to be one of my weaker areas (along with art and music). The people at the Simply Charlotte Mason website advocate starting science later, as well. Maybe that’s something I should consider. I’m also considering putting off grammar and spelling until he is more willing with his handwriting (the only area we struggle with right now).

    I have until Sept 5 to fill out an “intent to homeschool” form at our district office. I’ll probably do that tomorrow. Wish me luck with that one. Don’t know if they’ll give me a hard time before handing over the form or not.

  10. Jeannette says:

    Thank you for the great step-by-step guide for setting up a schedule! I wish I had had this kind of course when we started homeschooling!!! I am not a very schedule-oriented person, but we get much more accomplished if we can at least keep the general flow going.

    One comment for new homeschoolers: don’t be surprised if the schedule that works great now needs to be revamped in a few months, especially if you have infants &/or toddlers.

  11. Bonnie Sue Walker says:

    I also liked the idea of keeping all the kids books together in a large plastic box. That way their books, pens, etc. do not get scattered all over the place. I also agree with you about the scheduling. If I have something on paper to go by and stick with it, it goes much better, even if we don’t always keep the time schedule. At least we get the work done!! Thanks so much for these great ideas/tips information on homeschooling!

  12. Bonnie Sue Walker says:

    One more thought, as a missionary mom who has moved numerous times, having the books all together and organized into a library, also makes it easier when you have to move. I keep all the books in grade order when I pack so I don’t have to hunt through a maze trying to find a certain book and put the grade on the outside of the trunk/box.

  13. purple moose says:

    OK, so this is the 3rd time in a few weeks that I’ve heard the idea of setting aside a day at the beginning of the year to plan it out. Such a simple concept, why didn’t I think of it before? ;) I’ll have to do this soon!

    Oh, another great idea I heard: Teachers in public school settings get days during the year for inservices. . . training and planning days! Why not give ourselves, as home schooling teachers, the same?

  14. Jackie says:

    Love the library ideas and am always needing tips on organizing. Could someone provide tips on organizing a small household, homeschooling 2 boys, with very limited space? The scheduling examples are very helpful as well. Thank you.

  15. Amy says:

    Thank you for all of the tips on organizing. I always need those. Schedules are so important to getting anything done. I am excited about trying many of these ideas this year.

  16. Renee says:

    Organizing, ugh. That’s not easy for me! Organizing our books is a must though. That will help a great deal. And the idea of a “book master” for the week sounds great! Thanks for the “push”.

  17. Lillian says:

    Thank you for the ‘what to learn per grade level’ section. Great help to me as a clueless first timer!
    Cindy’s tip on setting up a ‘framework’ schedule left me feeling like I can do this.

  18. Karen Johnson says:

    I really appreciated the idea that both Terri and Cindy Rushton kept repeating in different ways:Do what works best for your family. I think this is one of the best pieces of advice ever.
    I also really enjoyed the idea (from Sally Clarkson) that your home should be the “primary MEANS of education” by creating an environment where kids (and parents) are always learning and learning comes naturally and fits the flow of the family’s life.

  19. Ginger says:

    Thanks for all the ideas on staying organized. I’ve already used the grocery and meal planning lists and I love them!

  20. Helisa says:

    I love the rule about one book out at a time. My son sometimes pulls out six books at a time! Would not be so bad if he put them back in when he was done. With the card he could hold his place on the shelf so he could go right to the next book.

  21. Terri says:

    Very helpful information, but I must confess that it is a bit overwhelming. (could just be me since I know I am not a “natural” at organization). I would have enjoyed this more if it were broken down into smaller chunks. One of the most helpful ideas was to assign one of my kiddos as a bookmaster for the week. This will definitely help with the excuse “I didn’t read that book, so I don’ t need to pick it up.” Also, I have looked into using The Schoolhouse Planner for 2 yr. but have not been excited about spending the money to do so until now.

  22. Emily says:

    Since my daughter attended two years of preschool, she still thinks she isn’t doing school if we don’t use the chalkboard and have circle time. To help her transition, I’m trying to incorporate her wishes while being free to do other things that don’t copy the classroom. Organization is not my strong point either, and I have a tough time not feeling the less because of it. So this is a bit overwhelming to even know to what extent I need to be planning kindergarten while allowing homeschooling to be ‘delight directed’ for both my daughter and me! With kids aged 2 & 5, and no family overnight sitters, getting away for a weekend won’t work for us, but we have had some planning sessions while the kids are otherwise occupied. We could also try to arrange a sitter for part of a day, if we can fit that into our budget. The library might be a good place, for a set amount of time to keep our focus, with dinner plans after or something. Discussing goals is needed, since now and then my husband and I still find we have differences in our expectations of how we’re actually going to approach homeschooling. We also included our 5 year old in some of the basic discussions since we want her to know that is one of the beauties of homeschooling, since there are aspects of preschool she misses. Giving her input and listening to her concerns rather than dismissing them has helped her embrace this adventure. (By listening I found out her biggest concerns were snacktime and recess wishes, which can definitely be addressed!!) I’m finding scheduling very difficult. I hope I can get some help from your tips. I’m still having trouble getting that time to myself to sit down on Sunday (or another day) to review for the week ahead. What we are doing so far is just not working…or maybe I overplanned and left no room for flexibility. We planned out last week last Sunday and then had trouble sticking with it, although we still had full days of learning, so I can’t say it was bad that we didn’t stick to the schedule, since I’m still discovering my daughter’s learning style (looking forward to your lesson on that). However, since we did things not planned, I’m having trouble keeping up with documenting. For us creative sorts in this home who love to peruse books, I just have a simple book shelving system right now, dividing the board books from the others, and keeping books in a series together for the ones the kids can access. The books that I want to keep to incorporate specifically in lessons are up higher and are grouped by basic subject. Maybe we can do the library ideas you gave as the kids get older. Also, I know you are breaking down this information in small chunks, but for a beginner, it’s a bit overwhelming and still seems like a lot at once. Since my detailed nature is in direct conflict with my creative nature, I’m trying not to feel hopeless! I know it’ll take time to find the right approach for us, so I am grateful to have the ideas to go back over.

  23. Wendy says:

    I’m having difficulty keeping up and hoping that once I am able to begin homeschooling these classes will help in that! I did choose a room in the house to use as a “school” room. But that means moving bookshelves and cleaning up the closet. Cindy’s article will be a handy tool. Because my boys are just reaching preschool and younger I feel like I’m getting a jumpstart! Thank you so much!

  24. Katharine Brown says:

    I have always struggled with organization and this year I hope it’s different! I have found that for us, planning month by month helps, especially with our 6 year old. I really like the homeschool planner for both of my homeschooled children. I will use that one often to try to get our stuff together this year.. Thank you!

  25. Nancy says:

    Terri, some great suggestions. I like your direct and practical approach. Cindy’s is a little more open, not giving specifics. While that is helpful to some, I like yours better. Thanks again.

  26. Danielle says:

    Before we “officially” began homeschooling, I was horribly unorganized. I have found that as the years go by, I am more and more organized because I have to be. A schedule, at least a loosely written one, is essential so that nothing gets forgotten. I loved the schedule blanks you (and The Old Schoolhouse) gave us.

  27. Bethany says:

    Great ideas for organization…probably my most difficult part of homeschooling because I am a packrat! I really liked the checkout system for when children get books off the book shelf. My little boy loves looking at books but needs a system to put them back easily. We’re going to try your idea. Also, setting up and labeling our book sections is great. The scheduling ideas were also helpful. Thank you!

  28. Michelle says:

    I loved the reminder to pick 5 or 6 subjects for the year and let the rest go. I consistently over-plan our year, hoping to accomplish so many great things, and find that we need to drop certain add-ons in order to survive. I made a very concious effort this year to only plan for the basics, with the intent that we can always add more if we find we have a bit of extra time in the day. I am sure this will take a lot of stress out of our school day and that we will do a better job with “less” than trying to rush and cram a lot of extra stuff in.

  29. Brandy says:

    I hate to be the negative comment, but as a certified teacher, I’m not in agreement with the breakdown of the teaching guidelines presented here. For one example, I think it’s a mistake to only teach reading the first several years. I would be curious to know how you formed this concept.

    I think home schooling, while is should not consume every aspect of your day, should be a top priority and you should do your best for your child, not just hit or miss with the content.

    The top priority in our home is a biblical worldview. We begin with Bible and end there as well. The subjects are all addressed each year as they are in public education, but using Christian curriculum. That is a MUST. I only home educate when I keep my children at home and teach the world’s curriculum.

    Like I said, we begin with Bible, not as a lesson, but as our time with Almighty God. Then school begins. We have a set time for beginning and a set time for ending. When that time is over, then school in the formal sense is over. Do I complete all subjects each day? Yes, or no. We simply pick up the next day where we left off.

    Are my children exposed to the same subjects at home as they would in the public arena? Yes, with the addition of Bible lessons. This prepares them for the required standardized testing. I feel sorry for the child who must test in Science and Social Studies when they have received no formal lessons, perhaps only a narrative dialogue of those subjects.

  30. Carla says:

    Being an organizer by nature I love to have a plan for our school day and year. I enjoy looking at other’s ideas that might help make my own organization approach more efficient! Thank You

  31. Debra says:

    I simply love the reminder that my school does not need to look like a classroom. I’ve been feeling tons of guilt lately about our school seeming so relaxed compared to what I experienced, and this knocked me over the head and reminded me of why it is okay to do things “our” way instead.

  32. Rosie says:

    Okay, my computer is finally cooperating so I can post my comment for week 3. I’m always looking for ideas on staying organized in all aspects of our home and schooling….always need ideas on keeping on top of all the loose paper that passes through my hands, especially the things that need attention but just not right now!

  33. Jhansi says:

    Organization is certainly one of my weakest areas! I need all the tips I can get! Thanks a bunch.

  34. Colleen says:

    Great lesson. I loved the organization tips.

  35. Dawn says:

    Lots and lots of good advice. I do have a daily schedule for school - but I don’t like to figure out how many lessons/worksheets need to be done to finish a workbook in a year. I let my boys work at their own pace, so that they are really learning - and not just rushing to finish - a must with my special needs son and one of the reasons I chose homeschooling to begin with! Loved Cindy’s ideas on organizing for meals. I needed that!

  36. Martha Huber says:

    I love the idea about a routine. When we are in our routine, we get so much more accomplished.

  37. Lynne says:

    Even after several years of homeschooling, the basics of the schedule seem to change every year. That is one topic I love to hear from others on what has worked for them.

  38. Charity says:

    It’s always great to hear of more ways to get organized. Thanks for sharing Cindy’s stuff with us too.

  39. Sherri Boekweg says:

    You’ve got some great ideas that I will be using as I get organized and prepare for the coming school year. I like the idea of the school box for each child.

  40. Frances says:

    I appreciate all the information from lesson C. Taking us back to the basics and showing us how to formulate our own schedules…and Cindy’s input very encouraging. Helping us to make bite size pieces of scheduling and making things work for each family.

  41. Mary says:

    Its amazing that no matter how long you have been home schooling, a fresh look or new idea can spark creativity! These lessons have energized me to new heights. Thank you, terri, for your thoughtful and insightful help for all of us! I just love the suggestions on the School planner!

  42. Amanda says:

    Thanks for all these organisational tips! Just what I needed. And thanks especially for the reminder from Cindy that what works for others is not necessarily best for your family. Work within your own family. Love that!

  43. Cheryl Baumgarten says:

    This was what I needed. I really enjoyed all the ideas. Using the crates to individualize each childs book, that was great. That one got my creative juices going. Even my parents who are not sold completely on the homeschooling all 5 at once, are getting excited. God is so good. I find these lessons invaluable. Looking forward to Lesson D

  44. Elsa says:

    Wow!! How I wished that these resources were around when I first began to home school!! I had a bunch of wee ones and not an organized bone in my body. Well, I’m here to say that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks (this dog is willing). I really like the planner and the options to make it how I want. I will be telling new homeschoolers to look into these materials. Thanks!

  45. Deb says:

    i have been begging someone to tell me how to schedule the year!! Now I understand how to take the lessons and divide and I get it now!! Thank you so much! i am looking forward to looking at the materials. Thank you!! This lesson was the best for me so far!

  46. sherry g. says:

    Scheduling has always been a challenge for me. I like to be “moved by the Spirit” but then I am not always sure we accomplished what the Spirit had in mind. I have learned that we do need to have a schedule as a guide, not a master, and that we need to allow for flexibility and teachable moments. God has the big picture and I pray that He gives it to me as well. We work in blocks as well, instead of time increments, and I have begun using appointment times with each of the kids on a daily basis. They work their schedule around when they meet with me, not me trying to work around each one of them. It has relieved a great deal of stress! I appreciate the suggestions for working with the supplies and books, as this is one area that we are still trying to master. If the environment is not efficiently organized, then a great deal of confusion, chaos, and wasted time can result. So, thank you for the suggestions. We look forward to giving them a try.

  47. Cynthia Graven says:

    These are excellent ideas for organization. While there is no need for homeschoolers to copy the classroom, the necessity of organization exists for each teaching format. If the teacher (often Mom) does not manage and coordinate her school as part of the rest of her home and life, it will become tremendously frustrating and disappointing. The fun of learning with your children can be buried in the frustration of not having a plan and using it. Thank you for these suggestions.

  48. Carol Emmert says:

    A schedule is something we have changed several times over the years, but it always does my heart good to know that other parents sometimes struggle with keeping organized. Thank you for the encouragement to fit the schedule to our family, not the other way around!

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