One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my several years of homeschooling is the need to be prepared. The days or weeks that I try to “wing it” never go well. I lose the attention of the kids as I flip through books and papers trying to find what I should already have together. We have taken a few different approaches to make sure that we stay on top of school work.
*Schedule the day. I find that when we have our day scheduled we are able to get the most done. The kids know when they finish their schoolwork and chores that they will have some free time. This is a big motivation for them. In fact, many mornings they get right to work on their schoolwork, even before I have it scheduled. But this requires me having their schoolwork prepared the night before. Then we can spend the day ahead of schedule, instead of behind. And that is a good feeling! Although we don’t follow this schedule exactly as written most days, it is a great place to a start.
*Set your kids up for success with independent work. Our kids are still pretty young, but they are beginning to do a little more independent work. This is the work they like to do early in the morning. I have a weekly schoolwork schedule for each child to show them exactly what they need to get done. Their schedules are laminated so we can use them again and again. I write the specific assignments with dry erase markers and they just check off the box when they are done. I fill these in on the weekends and we keep our Crew Reviews on the bottom so we don’t forget to do them. So easy, but so effective! Another planning tool we have used and like is the Homeschool Helper App. I just haven’t had a chance to put in our new school materials yet.
*Have those books ready to go! As I mentioned before, the kids are now getting up and getting started right away with their schoolwork. What does this mean for me? Their work needs to be ready for them. We used to keep everyone’s books in a big basket, but since the kids are all doing their own independent work now we have individual baskets for them. Their school schedule is in their basket along with any books they need. Now they are ready to go each morning.
*Teachers have homework too. Sometimes I let this one slip, but I do so much better teaching when I have thoroughly looked over the materials. Many homeschooling materials are meant to be open-and-go, but I still think it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what you will be presenting. Other preparations usually need to be made for lessons too. This could include making copies, collecting materials, and getting library books, but it should be done before the school day begins.
I am still very much a work in progress when it comes to being prepared each day for schoolwork, but I am putting forth an effort to improve. As the kids get older the need for me to be prepared is greater. How do you stay prepared with schoolwork?
Come check out some of the great posts about homeschooling essentials from my Crew-mates!
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Jennifer @ Royal Little Lambs
Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life
Debbie @ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner
Lisa Marie @ The Canadian Homeschooler
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Dinah @ The Traveling Classroom
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool