3 Tips to Tame the Homeschool Clutter

 

As I looked around my homeschool space I saw books, pencils, crayons, projects that we were working on and of course my children ;) I also saw garbage, empty glue sticks, craft supplies, and clutter strewn throughout the room.

It was a tad bit overwhelming!

If I had to guess, your homeschool space is similar. Homeschooling requires material. It requires space. It requires items that will ultimately lead to clutter……

So, how do you tame it? How do you keep it from taking over your space? You must get organized!

 

Read the rest of the post at the Southeast Homeschool Expo. 

Keeping Grades in Homeschool

Keeping grades in homeschool may seem a little silly. After all, you are their teacher. You know whether or not they are learning right? While this is true, it is also important to keep records and documentation while you homeschool.

Benefits of Keeping Grades

Keeping grades when your child is young will benefit you when your child enters high school. He will already be used to having grades, and you will be used to keeping them. Keeping grades will also help you if your homeschooling is ever questioned by the school system in which you reside.

What Should I Grade?

I do not recommend keeping grades in every subject when your children are small. In the early elementary grades, I would recommend keeping grades for Math, Grammar and Language Arts and Spelling. Spelling tests can be given weekly and grades recorded easily. Most math curriculums come with Math quizzes and tests. Grammar and Language Arts programs may come with tests, worksheets, or another method of review.

As your child gets older you can expand what you grade to include subjects like History, Science, Geography and Foreign Language.

How do I record Grades?

There are many options out there for homeschool record keeping, including recording grades. I use the Well Planned Day Planner, and highly recommend it. There are also free printables out there that you can use in your homeschool to help with recording grades.

Grading scales are up to you, the homeschool parent. We use the 90/80/70 method for grades. Ninety percent or less is an A, 80 percent or less is a B, and so on. It is easy to remember, and seems like a fair system.

Tips to Remember

Don’t put a lot of focus on a grade. Remind your child that grades are just to help you know what your child is learning, and what they need to work on. Mastery is key, and ultimately you want to know your child has mastered what you are teaching, not whether or not they get straight A’s. You want to see improvement, and progress. Not stress them out over a letter grade on a paper. For more information on keeping grades in homeschool check out this sites: How Do I Grade My Student?

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

Homeschool Recordkeeping

What does homeschool recordkeeping look like in your homeschool? Are you one who has lines of neatly organized portfolios sorted by grade? Do you have a plastic tote with stuff just thrown inside? Or are you somewhere in between? I will be honest and say that I have been on both sides of that scenario ;)

Homeschool recordkeeping can be overwhelming, especially when you have more than one child, and have NO clue what to keep. We are starting our 5th year, and with three kids, the clutter from homeschooling paperwork was piling up fast. So, here is what I have decided to keep-and not to keep!

Keep: A few samples of each child’s penmanship at various stages throughout the school year

Don’t Keep: EVERY single tablet they wrote in, all year long!

Keep: Math tests and quizzes

Don’t Keep: All 10 light unit math books from the school year!

Keep: Random grammar sheets, tests or worksheets from various lessons during the school year.

Don’t Keep: Every lesson she completed this school year!

Keep: Pamphlets from field trips, church plays, and other activities

Don’t Keep: Coloring books, worksheets, and the like from field trips and Sunday school

Keep: An attendance log, tracking days that we have had school during the year.

Don’t Keep: An hour, by hour log documenting every.single.thing we have done.

Keep: Samples of my toddlers crayon scribbles, and first time cutting with scissors

Don’t Keep: Every coloring book he has attacked with a crayon!

Record keeping is something that all homeschool parents must deal with. You want to keep samples of your child’s work, but you don’t want to go overboard! Typically, the rule of thumb during the elementary years (So I’ve heard) is to keep samples for 3 years and high school records permanently.

I have decided to keep a small portfolio, per child, each year. That’s it. If it doesn’t fit, I toss it. This guarantees that I will only keep what is quality work, and what truly shows my children’s capabilities.

Find a balance that works for you. Record keeping will look different in each family, and once your child is in high school, record keeping will be more complex. But with a little time, you will find a record keeping system that will work for your family.

If you would like more information regarding recordkeeping, check out this article from Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

 

Bon-Bons Calling

“Are you busy?”

I’m sure it is my over-sensitive nature that feels like answering that question with sarcastic sweetness, “No, I am just sitting around snacking on bon-bons.  What could I do for you?”

I’m not really unkind and I do love to help folks.  I just resent the thought that a homeschooling mother is ever NOT busy.  In fact, I am delighted to have control over our schedule and be able to readjust activities to help others.  It is a part of the homeschool lifestyle that teaches all of us (children and adult) that life is about loving others.  I am willing, and actually desire, to sacrifice my plans for God’s plans, but I am not willing to de-prioritize our school time.  It is a challenge most home educating families will encounter.

Establishing school as a priority and implementing boundaries to protect your schooling time are vital aspects of controlling your schedule.  The telephone is not a crisis line—although sometimes crisis arise.  Screening calls—and being upfront about that—is not rude.  During our school year, our phone message typically states, ‘If we are home and not answering, we are in the middle of learning.  If this is an emergency, speak up and we’ll change our plans.  If it is not, we’ll call you later.’  There have indeed been times when school needed to stop—but not that many.

Drop-in guests are another common potential school de-railment.  Even when I am not actively ‘teaching’ the children, guests are a distraction.  Over the years we have chosen different ways to handle such interruptions.  It has been our goal to remember that our home is truly the Lord’s.  It is His to use as He sees fit.  That said, He is also the Superintendent of Schools.  The responsibility of home education is not a small one.  One welcoming but restraining way of enjoying guests is to state, ‘Oh, it is good to see you.  Come in.  We are doing school, but we would enjoy taking a short break to chat with you.’  Folks will usually sit but remain mindful that work is on hold during their visit.  On very rare occasions, I found it necessary to clearly state time boundaries to drop-in guests.

There are certainly needs that will arise in your own family—and others—that will create time stressors on your homeschool.  Some of our richest times came as we wove education into meeting those needs.  Aging parents with medical appointments, friends with publicly schooled children who need help when emergencies arise…those are God-given burden privileges that we can embrace.  Being a good time steward is a life lesson that will bear eternal fruit.  Our homeschool days do not need bells to move us from activity to activity—but they need the guidance and peace of following the leading of the Holy Spirit!  He is willing and able.

– Billie Jo

Take Responsibility For Your Homeschooling

“If I showed up late this often to any other job, I would have been fired a long time ago.” Those words of a friend have stuck with me for years.  Am I late for the doctor or dentist?  Probably not, the consequences are often unpleasant.

The consequences of chronically starting your school day late are also unpleasant.

  • You become impatient trying to play catch up or from the guilt of skipping planned activities.
  • It is hard to get children motivated if they had too long of a down time before starting  morning work.
  • Your children are watching and learning from everything you do, show them the importance of a good start.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  In honor of my friend’s husband who is in the army: Homeschooling, the toughest job you’ll ever love.

Alabama Homeschool Expo

Homeschooling for Excellence,http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/homeschooling-101/

Worldview Teen Track,  http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/worldview-teen-track/

Teach Them To Expect Change

Change is a part of life we can’t avoid. Parents need to be good examples to their children on how to walk through seasons of change.  Teach your children that change is inevitable and fighting it only makes the transition harder.

Remind them (and yourself) that things will not be the same as when they were in 2nd grade or before a new baby arrived.  Some children struggle with change more than others, prepare them as far in advance as possible for change.  Allow time for adjustments and offer a lot of encouragement.   Even changing curriculum can slow down a student for a few days.

Alabama Homeschool Expo , http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/

Worldview Teen Track