Oak Meadow Parent Shares
As each new school year approaches, we have the chance to
make changes in our routines and spaces that will help both teaching and
learning be more effective and enjoyable. Oak Meadow's journal,
is designed to help homeschoolers every step of the way in their educational
adventure. Start by checking out their
study skills toolkit
as you prepare for the new school year. And in the article below, experienced
parent, Jerri Mayer, shares organizational tips for keeping things manageable as
(After reading Jerri's tips, don't forget to
follow Oak Meadow's blog,
Meadow, for more timely topics and advice; their
where Oak Meadow and parents share ideas on a daily basis; and their
page for fun activities and inspiration.)
Help! My Home is Overflowing with School!
by Jerri Mayer
Whether you're just starting out or have been on the
homeschooling journey for years, organizing your homeschooling routine can seem
like an immense undertaking. The key to any successful organizational system is
to keep it simple and make it part of your normal daily routine. The first year
that I homeschooled my son Matt, I worked hard to make sure that homeschooling
didn't throw our entire household into chaos. By the time his little brother
Mason was ready for school, I had gotten a whole lot better at it.
Here are some of the lessons I've learned. Hopefully these
simple suggestions can help you get organized, too.
Divide and Conquer: Divide up school supplies into individual bins.
Inexpensive, plastic containers with lids can be purchased from any discount
store. Label the bins according to their content and keep them where they are
easily accessible. This will help you save valuable time and energy looking for
School is in Session:
Implement a school schedule and
for your child. Displaying a large calendar in your home, marked with school
times/days, activities and field trips, allows students to better grasp their
homeschooling schedule up to a month at a time.
My Space: Whether your family prefers working in a formal classroom
setting, at the kitchen table or a picnic table, it is important to create a
proper workspace for your child. Remove any items that you feel could cause
distractions that would negatively impact the learning process.
Lesson Planning 101: Set aside an hour each weekend to prepare for the
following week's lessons. Daily work bins or file folders can save you time and
frustration! Many homeschooling families with multiple children prefer to
pre-fill individual work bins for each day of the upcoming week. This system
gives students the ability to work independently and visually comprehend their
daily work load. It also allows the parent the freedom to move from child to
child answering questions or assisting with more challenging tasks.
Main Lesson Books: The sky's
the limit on ways to document your child's work. Many veteran homeschoolers
believe the Main Lesson Book concept is the easiest, best organized, and most
memorable way to organize your child's school work. I agree! By the end of the
school year, your child has created a beautiful scrapbook filled with all his
hard work. Premade
Main Lesson Books
can be purchased directly from the
Oak Meadow Bookstore or you
can create your own MLB by simply hole-punching the school work, binding it
together with string, and adding a sturdy cover.
Shutterfly: Hands down, my
favorite homeschool aid is
Shutterfly.com! All you need
is one hour a week, a digital camera, and a desire to brag about your
homeschooler. Throughout the week, I snap little pictures of the boys working on
everything from science or history projects to painting wonderful works of art.
Then on Sunday, I upload these pictures directly onto my Shutterfly account.
Once uploaded, these items can be posted to your personal share site, photo
album, or memory book, and can be made accessible to your Oak Meadow teacher.
With her access, she can view and comment on the posted pictures, videos and
With Shutterfly, you also have the ability to create
personalized yearbooks for your children. Simply drop and click your photos into
the website's "Memory Book" feature. By the end of the year, each child has a
personal yearbook filled with all their school activities and accomplishments.
Blank pages are left for signatures and well wishes from friends and family. For
less than an hour, once a week, you have created a fantastic, professionally
bound record of your child's school year. Plus, you have made a beautiful
yearbook that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Communication: If you're a
family that has chosen
enrollment in Oak Meadow School as we have, I
would encourage you to take full advantage of the knowledge and experience of
Oak Meadow teacher.
Your entire learning experience becomes easier and more productive the more the
parents and teacher communicate. Mark your calendar as a reminder of when to
submit work to your teacher, and don't hesitate to email or call when you have
questions. Regular communication will help your teacher better assist you in
tailoring the material to your child's needs.
Listening to your family's needs and daily
rhythms can help you put in place an organizational system that will work best
for you and assist you in reaching your homeschooling goals. Just as
importantly, it will help you achieve peace of mind! Hopefully these ideas will
give you a starting point for getting your home ready for the upcoming school
year. Staying organized will return benefits that the entire family will enjoy.
Jerri Mayer lives with her family in Oklahoma, where she spends a lot of time
sharing learning adventures with her sons.