Homeschooling Your Way: Homeschooling as a Family

source: Mykl Roventine
source: Mykl Roventine

This week we’re talking about organization for homeschoolers. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility it affords families to tailor school to fit their lifestyle. Because I’m just starting out on this journey, I’ve asked several people to share their experiences and systems with us. And of course we’d love to hear from you in the comments with your experiences as well!

The following is a guest post from Amy Norton from Amy Loves It!:

Where in your home do you homeschool? Do you have different areas for read-alouds, workbooks and/or independent work? Is there anywhere that’s off limits?

We do our school lessons at the dining room table. It is in the front of the house and near a window, so we have plenty of light and space. When we read, we move to the couch or the recliner, with the girls on either side of me. There are also times we do shorter lessons at the bar in our kitchen (during snack time or just to change it up a bit). We do not do lessons in the bedrooms or the playroom; there are too many distractions there!

Do you have a set schedule for your school days? Do you have a set start time? A set end time?

Our “normal” time for beginning school is around 10 am, when my youngest goes down for her morning nap. Sometimes it begins at 9:30 (because the girls get antsy and are ready for school!), but it always ends between 11:30 and noon so we can have lunch and see Daddy when he takes his lunch break from work. In the afternoons, I will read to the girls, and we have an informal, relaxing time of just reading and quiet time while the baby takes her afternoon nap. This can happen anywhere from 2:00 to 3:30.

How are your school supplies organized? Do you stock up on extra supplies? How do you organize the extras?

Our school supplies are kept in two places: the cabinet below our hutch next to the dining room table and inside the cabinet the television sits on. Our everyday supplies, books, the girls’ crayon and pencil box, our reading list, writing paper, etc stay in the hutch. It is right beside our work area, which makes it easy to grab what we need.

The extras (and yes, I’ve stocked up on all the supplies we might need, thanks to the recent sales at CVS and Staples) are kept in a large drawer in the cabinet below the tv. I have our items organized in sections: glue sticks, pens, pencils, 3×5 cards, paper, staples, etc. That way we can easily find what we need (and when Daddy does his Monday teaching, he does not have to ask Mommy where to find something!).

What do you use for record keeping? Do you store completed work? Do you go above and beyond the recordkeeping requirements of your state?

Right now, I keep my records in a 1-inch binder filled with notebook paper. I write down the date, what we do, the books/curriculum used, comments the girls make, projects, and time spent. I am very detailed about it all. We currently live in Oklahoma, which has very loose guidelines (pretty much, NONE) on homeschooling. This troubles me, as I know it may not always be this way, and so I am prepared for that time. I want to be able to “prove” that my children were taught well and properly and according to the strictest guidelines. Therefore, I choose to follow the guidelines of the strictest states to make sure I will always be in compliance with any future laws or if we ever move to a more strict state.

I do store completed work, for the most part. I also take several pictures, especially after finishing a project, and store them in a homeschool file on my computer.

What is one area that you wish was more organized about your homeschooling?

I really love that my husband and I are able to homeschool our children. Yes, my husband takes part! He is off of work on Monday, and that is the day he sits down with our children and teaches them his lessons. It is informal but organized. He teaches about things he loves: Jesus, God, the Bible, Creation, the solar system, etc. He is definitely going to be their science teacher!

The area I really wish was more organized about our homeschooling is actually having a “homeschool room,” where we could leave everything set up not have to always clean it up so we can eat lunch! That is really the only drawback of having school at the dining room table; it has to be used for us to eat on, and so we have to put away projects even if we are not finished with them. Also, if we had a separate room, I would be able to decorate it with school-related banners, posters, etc. Right now, I have to tape things up to the closet door!

Amy Norton is a homeschooling mother of three who is just beginning her homeschooling journey. She blogs about all the things she loves – including coffee, cleaning, couponing and blogging – at Amy Loves It!