Organization and Planning
Organization and planning help the home-school family to keep order and to maintain priorities in both education and family living.
Organization is a paradox of limitation and freedom. It consists of imposing limits on our behavior, our time, our belongings, and our lives. Yet it is an essential tool for achieving freedom, peace, and plenty.
Human nature tends to throw off constraints to do what we feel like moment by moment. In order to conquer our disorderly ways, we must recognize the spiritual roots of our problem and look to God and His Word for forgiveness and solutions.
Personal victory in the area of organization will bring benefits to our families:
Health that comes from well-planned meals, time for exercise and rest, and a clean, safe environment.
Possessions that are in good repair and easy to find when needed.
A home that is a haven from the world for our families, friends, and guests.
Time to do the best and most important things in life.
A calm, peaceful environment for efficient work and study.
Relaxation that is well-earned and guilt-free each evening after the day's work and each Sunday after the week.
Children that are well-trained, happy, helpful, and a joy to be around.
Organize Your Home
Create daily, weekly, and yearly schedules with time for chores, quiet time, school, play, work, regular activities, holidays, vacations, and other events (having a baby or visits from relatives).
Get up before your children to prepare for your day and have a regular quiet time in God's Word and prayer.
Use a "To Do" list rather than little slips of paper that tend to disappear.
Keep a family calendar near the phone. Set rules for accepting invitations and scheduling appointments.
Plan weekly with your spouse.
Allow for interruptions; they are sometimes the best learning times.
Sort toys, supplies, and other small items into baskets, boxes, bins, or drawers.
Simplify housework; get rid of clutter.
Discard or store things you do not use.
Deep clean one room each month.
Plan menus and shop once a week.
Start dinner early.
Have a daily cleanup routine.
Make a place for everything and put items in their place.
Set aside special labeled shelves and bins for schoolbooks and supplies.
Organize Your Teaching
Do not answer the phone during study.
Limit outside activities, other than Sunday, to one day a week.
Consider using Saturday for science, art, or other projects.
Use a lesson plan book to record your plans. You might simply note how many pages of a book are to be covered each week or list the dates during which certain units are to be covered. Or detail activities, assignments, or projects along with the time you wish to spend on them.
Make an outline of books, chapters, and projects for each course at the beginning of each year; then make more detailed plans monthly and weekly so you can incorporate unforeseen circumstances and new ideas or adjust the pace.
Collect library books or other materials you will need in advance.
Give older children their own plan book so they can carry on with assignments while you work with younger students. This helps them build self-discipline and time management.
Spend a few minutes the night before or in the morning looking over the plans for the day and gathering materials for the day's lessons.
Make a list of acceptable activities children can do when they are waiting for your help-- puzzles, coloring, etc.
Have a routine for handling papers--do they need to be tossed, filed for documentation, or saved for a yearbook?
Choose and use a record keeping system that meets your needs and/or state requirements (e.g., a checked-off plan book, journal, or grade book).
Organize Your School Schedule
There are many possible ways you can schedule the time you will spend on studies and the time you will take off each year:
Three to five weeks on; one off.
Eight weeks on; two off.
Nine weeks on; four off.
Two-month summer break; one-month winter break; ten other days off.
Six-week summer and winter breaks.
Four-day school week.
(Schedule appointments and cleaning projects for off days or weeks.)
(Back Issues: July/Aug. '95; July/Aug. '98)