In 2ooo my homeschooling days changed drastically. With the adoption of a sibling group of four added to my three bios, I had to find a system of organization that worked and quickly!
Organizing my days was a lot of trial and error at first. Some of it came naturally to me and some of it required some killing of my flesh. I tend to like to do things myself. I struggle with perfectionism. Cleaning the home myself gave me the pseudo control that perfectionism demands. With a house full of children doing everything myself was not beneficial to me or the children. (Ages:12, 8,7,6,5,4 and 1)
I am going to share some material that helped me to organize school, chores and meals, but the more important thing I have to share is perspective. What is the most important thing to be accomplished? The chore or character of the child? Ten years from now, which will matter more? The clean kitchen or the work ethic of the child?
The year before we adopted, I read two books that greatly influenced my organization skills when it came to running a household.
1. To Train up a Child
To Train up a Child focuses on training rather than punishment. I decided to start training my children for proper behavior and how to work instead of expecting them to know what to do or punishing for behaviors. I trained my children how to make their bed, clean a room, load the dishwasher, etc… Training made the transition for the enlarged family so much easier!
2. Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen follows the life of the Gilbreth family.
Frank Gilbreth was an efficiency expert (industrial engineer). He practiced his efficiency on his twelve children. Reading this book inspired my card/chore system. I made my own chore chart. Each child is responsible for a different room each week day. All he need do is go to the room and follow the instructions on the card. Of course, it required some initial training, but it was well worth it!
After we enlarged our family through adoption, I found another great resource for planning out my school days. It is full of great worksheets and tools for organizing multiple children.
I work through the worksheets while planning my upcoming school year, filling in my goals for each child. I plan the time chart for each subject including play time, rest time, reading, group subjects and individual subjects. A bit of work ahead of time saves a lot of frustration later when mom is trying to figure out what to do next!
Weekend Planning Date
On Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I sit down and check my lesson plans, fill out my planner for the week with sticky notes. I plan my meals, my blog, make sure I am aware of appointments and find any books I need for the coming week. It is my meeting with God. It’s our coffee date. Along with scheduling, I pray for my children (and ME) for the upcoming week. I want to make sure I have my priorities straight and my focus on the hope of my calling in HIM.
None of the tools mentioned above mean a thing if they are not used in the right perspective. Schedules are tools, not mini gods. They are a means to a end. What is the end? What is the eternal perspective? Like I said in my post Tuesday, I have to ignore the times stamped on the schedule at times when my special needs child has a meltdown. People are more important that a pretty schedule. I am schedule driven which has been a struggle for me. I have to deny my flesh and those pretty posty-notes and focus on the children in front of me.
Be sure to check out how my fellow homeschooling bloggers organize their day!
Clockwise, from top left:
Audrey @ Everything Beautiful, Charli @ WV Urban Hippies, Tracey @ Building My House, and Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home