Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

The End Game: Long-Term Goals for Children

Monday, January 11th, 2021

long-term-goals-for-kids

Years ago, back when my kids were tiny, I saw an article in a homeschool magazine that stressed the importance of setting long-term goals for our children if we wanted to see them accomplish everything we consider important. The magazine article broke the long-term goals into different subject headings, so I tweaked and brainstormed what kinds of skills and knowledge I wanted my kids to have acquired before leaving home as adults. Because I knew what my end game was, I knew that I needed to break those goals down into incremental steps over the years, to achieve those goals with my kids.

I brainstormed not only skills and knowledge in different subject areas that I wanted my kids to know, but also areas of character. As a result of those goals, I knew where I was headed, and I focused on the things that mattered rather than on frivolous things. Over the years my kids were able to advance in so many ways, far beyond where I was at their ages, even in their character.

Here is a workshop I delivered recently about goal-setting, where I go into more detail in each subject area, and why we stressed some areas more than others:

If you want to see the full list of goals I wrote so many years ago, here they are:

The skill areas encompass reading, writing, and math, as well as other practical skills such as swimming, cooking, sewing, hand-eye coordination through basic sports skills, driving, etc. For example, I wanted my kids to be able to swim, at least to tread water and get back to shore if a boat was capsized. This skill was important for my kids to have before they left home.

Knowledge areas include science, history, geography, literature, etc. For example, my children learned how to identify over 50 plants and trees based on leaves and other features of the plants. We also read a lot of classical literature, which helped my kids expand their vocabulary so that they could read on a higher lever.

long-range-goals-for-children

Experiences also affect learning. When you experience something, you are more likely to master it or retain the information. This is why I have valued hands-on learning all the way through my children’s upbringing. We experienced a different culture by traveling to Guatemala to see my childhood stomping grounds. We experienced a medieval feast and a Renaissance fair to get into those historical time periods. We went on numerous field trips to see and experience the most out of life that our tight budgets would allow.

The character of my children was the most important area that I stressed, and I’m glad I did. Not only are my kids honest and kind, but they are eager to help other people, they are funny, and they are deep thinkers. I love who they are turning out to be. And we have had so many experiences as a family that have bonded us together in unity, to give my children a sense of identity. They know who they are.

This is why I highly recommend setting some long-range goals for your kids. When we plan long-term goals for our children, we are more likely to achieve those goals, and we can have great experiences along the way.

Homeschool Survival Essentials

Monday, September 9th, 2019

homeschool-survival-essentials

What are your homeschool survival essentials? My friend Ingrid from Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles asked some homeschooling YouTubers what they must have in order to homeschool. She made up a list of 10 questions for us to answer for a more full picture of what is needed in every homeschooler’s home. So here we go…

Homeschool Survival Essentials

1. What are your top 3 favorite mom things?

  • Time alone.
  • Mom’s night out.
  • Mom’s night in.

2. What are the 3 homeschool must haves no matter what?

  • Black & white card stock paper
  • Binders with a clear pocket in the front
  • Prismacolor pencils

3. Share 3 new things that will be added to your homeschool this year.

  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Civil Air Patrol

4. Share a minimum of 3 things you will be changing in your homeschool.

  • Adding to Teaching Textbooks for my daughter for Albebra 2, including Khan Academy and Math-U-See DVD’s.
  • While filming homeschooling this year (we’ve filmed our homeschooling for the past 10 years, which you can find in the Unit Study Treasure Vault!), my son will be filming just the physics experiments without a person in the screen.
  • As long as they finish what they need to do for the school week, they can arrange their school days however they want. No rigid schedule this year.

5. Share 3 things in your survival homeschool kit. (These are destressors that will help you survive the day/week.)

  • Spending time with my mom, my sisters, my friends
  • A hot bath at the end of the day
  • Time alone to decompress

homeschool-survival-must-haves

6. 3 must-read homeschool books (for homeschool help)

  • The Well-trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
  • A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola (If you want to know more about Charlotte Mason, I have a 6-part blog series that starts here.)
  • Educating the WholeHearted Child by Sally Clarkson

7. 3 favorite subjects to teach in order please

  • Bible
  • literature/writing
  • history

8. When is the best time for you to do your planning

  • Long-range plans for the school year are done in the summer.
  • On the weekends, if I need materials for an experiment the next week.
  • For math, they do one lesson per day. That doesn’t need a lesson plan.

9. Share your favorite planner and supplies.

  • I don’t like planners, so I don’t use them. I use paper and pencil when needed.

10. Share a minimum of 3 field trips you are planning to do this new homeschool year.

So those are my homeschool essentials. What are yours?

Homeschool High School Room Tour

Monday, September 11th, 2017

homeschool-high-school-room-tour

Come on a tour of our homeschool high school room!

When a homeschool family transitions their students into high school, your homeschool space will begin to change. You will need an environment that looks more elegant and suitable for teens, not baby-ish. You want your teens to not be embarrassed to bring their friends over.

Homeschool High School Room Video Tour

We filmed a tour of our updated homeschool room for teens. Take a look at the environment you might want for accomplishing the academics you need for high school:

First of all, you need a computer desk with a computer. If your teens take high school math at a co-op, you might not need this area as much as you would for a computer math program for upper level math. We use Teaching Textbooks for pre-calculus and other higher-level math.

We also use computers for Spanish (Rosetta Stone), typing essays, studying Khan Academy for SAT preparation, etc. Your teens obviously need access to a computer in order to be computer literate. Also, if your teens have not learned basic keyboarding skills, you will want to make sure they know how to type fairly quickly before they go to college.

On the top of the computer desk, you can have a globe, a model of something, or flags stabbed into some sand. Hands-on models for high school science can also be stored on top of the computer desk.

high-school-homeschool

To increase the elegance of the space, you will want to get rid of all the toys that your teens have outgrown. Bold primary colors are for younger kids, so earthy tones look better for teens and adults. You can improve your living space by adding good lighting and plants. If you don’t have sunshine, high quality silk plants can make your homeschool high school room look like a resort.

You will want a desk or other flat space that is empty, so that your student has a place to work on vocabulary cards, tests, or any other written work. If you don’t have a separate homeschool room, you can always use your dining room table. One drawback of using the dining room is that if your teen is taking a timed SAT practice test or other timed test, they will be in a main thoroughfare instead of in an area where they can be alone without distraction.

high-school-white-erase-board

You will also want a white erase board, especially for your high school lab sciences. It doesn’t need to be as fancy as this one, which we picked up at a yard sale. You can probably find one at an office supply store, but a simple white erase board is equally effective.

We used this white erase board especially for chemistry as we wrote out huge equations. We also used it for grammar lessons. A white erase board is versatile and can be used to illustrate any point, even in history or Bible class.

My husband made a small wooden platform for speech class or small skits. We placed a rug on top of the platform, as you can see in the video.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our homeschool high school room. This should give you some ideas for transitioning your students as they grow into teens!

For hundreds of hands-on high school activities, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Come see more tours of homeschool rooms: Back to Homeschool School Room Week

17 Organization Tips

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

17-organization-tips

Today I’m going to share with you 17 organization tips that will help you to maintain an organized house:

Organization Tip #1: Get rid of as much stuff as possible. Make yourself a goal of filling up 10 boxes to take to Goodwill (or 3 boxes, or whatever).

organization-tips

Organization Tip #2: Use small open boxes to organize art supplies in a drawer.

organize-markers

Organization Tip #3: Changing your cupboard liner can give your cupboard a fresh new look.

cupboard-liner

Organization Tip #4: Making a list of to-do’s the night before will make you more productive the next day.

Organization Tip #5: Do the hardest thing on your list first. Then you will feel relieved and have energy to do the rest.

Organization Tip #6: I saw a shelf on a wall at a bed and breakfast last year, with large hooks underneath. I would love to put one in my bathroom to put towels and bathrobes on. (Great use of wall space!)

organized-robes

Organization Tip #7: Contain toys in bins. My newest bin is the nerf bin.

nerf-bin

Organization Tip #8: Instead of fumbling with mismatched food containers, get a set that stacks. It takes up way less space in your cupboard, and it looks neater in your refrigerator.

organize-with-tupperware

Organization Tip #9: Use a fishing tackle box to organize toys with small parts.

organize-with-tackle-box

Organization Tip #10: Eat protein in the morning. You will be a lot more productive with what you want to accomplish.

great-breakfast

Organization Tip #11: My husband likes collecting Wii games for the kids. Pretty soon Wii stuff was all over the living room. I decided to organize all the games and accessories in a drawer under the TV. You could also store it all in a basket beside the couch.

organizing-wii

Organization Tip #12: Roll up your jeans to fit more in your drawer. Find out more ways to organize your bedroom here.

roll-your-jeans

Organization Tip #13: Always look for furniture with built-in storage space. Find out how to organize a window seat here.

window-storage

Organization Tip #14: If you use something with small drawers for craft supplies, make sure that all your kids are above age 4. Otherwise the buttons (or whatever) will end up all over the floor. For younger children, I recommend a tackle box, which I show you in my “Organizing for a Fun Homeschool” video.

little-drawers

Organization Tip #15: If you place all the mittens and snow caps in a drawer from oldest to youngest in your family, everyone will be able to find theirs when heading out the door for some fun sledding.

mitten-drawer

Organization Tip #16: Go through your DVD’s and only keep the ones you absolutely love. Store the remaining ones in a drawer near the TV.

organize-DVDs

Organization Tip #17: My daughter loves a wooden tool caddie loaded with her favorite art supplies.

art-caddy

For more tips on organizing your house, check out my organization products.