This is part of a series, Getting Ready for Another Homeschool Year! Part 1 can be found here.
I find that most blog posts about preparing for a homeschool year, focus solely on curriculum choices and setting up your homeschool area. While those are both very important (and fun!) topics, I believe there are more tips that we can share that will make your life as a homeschooler EASIER!
4. Fix What is “Broken.”
At the end of last May, I had several ideas about what had stopped working for us in our homeschool experience. Well this summer is the time to make those changes! First, I changed my work schedule to the mornings, so I could free up our afternoons and then be able to take advantage of more extra-curricular activities and homeschool park days. I wasn’t sure how this would really work out, but blessedly it has been great!
Because of this, the girls were having to take all of their homeschool items out of the “classroom/office space” every morning and spread out over the dining room table, and then put it back every night. That was fairly disruptive (and I was often having to nag them to constantly put things away). Yet, they love their school desks and didn’t want to get rid of them! So, this summer I did a re-arrange. I moved the table for their computers back into the office space – they can do their computer-based work with headphones while I’m on client calls – and their desks are now in the kitchen area where the table used to be. Now their desks can hold all of their workbooks, etc and they can sit their and do their workbook work in the mornings. We haven’t tried it out yet, but I think it work well.
Having their table in my office allowed me to create a “charging station” for the tablets, and I can now keep stronger visual control over their electronics. This is something my husband and I wanted to implement, but weren’t quite sure how.
5. Purge Out the Junk! Clean It Out!
I took a lot of time this summer to clean out the classroom/office space. While moving items around, I also took the opportunity to clean out used curriculum for sale, throw out old papers and do a deep clean of the space. This morphed into perhaps a bigger project than I intended, but has turned into a very-overdue entire spring cleaning of the house! I know it sounds crazy, but I am looking to having it all done. These are all the cleaning projects that I put off during the year because I have no time, things like cleaning out the inside of the fridge and wiping out the cabinets that have gotten gross, straightening and organizing the linen closets, and even shampooing carpets.
It’s also a good time to purge the girls closets of clothes that are too small, and purge out their playroom. I then was able to take advantage of the back-t0-school sales so that we replace what they needed for the fall.
I think of this as setting myself to start the year off right. And also, get all these annoyances out of my way. (Really, you have no idea how much I am looking forward to this all being done!)
6. Deal With Dinner.
Dinner is the ultimate worst. Not only is it the witching hour for the kids, but I feel mentally drained as well, and at 5pm the last thing I want to think about is what I should cook for dinner. I dread it. Not the cooking, but the thinking and deciding. So much so, that I went on strike all summer – forcing hubby to be in charge (he didn’t mind as much, he just grilled every single day). BUT, even that much helped him understand what a total pain it is to do. And my being Celiac, and needing to have only gluten-free meals, really doesn’t make it easier.
Since our favorite “meal assembly store” closed down last year, we’ve been scrounging. Working without a meal plan is just no longer working. One of my long project this year has been to organize our recipe stash and set up my own system for frozen meals. I tried my first big prep session this weekend, and I think we can make this work for us when we get the hang of it. I even tried out several new recipes that seemed like they would freeze well, so I’m looking forward to having meals ready to pull out this fall.
This won’t take the place of prepping/cooking completely, and hubby is now fully on board with helping out more with meals (now that he realizes how much work is involved). He will probably continue to grill as long as the weather holds throughout the fall. I stocked up our freezer with a run to Costco, so as long as we pull it out to defrost (the catch) in the morning, we should be able to ready for meals with just minimal grocery runs for fresh items.
I also recommend having multiple crockpots ready to use! Both of mine died over the summer, and I took advantage of the “off-to-college” sales to replace them. With our evening schedule now much busier, I will rely on them, and on frozen meals, constantly during the week. And I’m constantly scouring for new, healthy, easy, gluten-free meal recipes!
Coming up next, I have a few more tips to get ready for your homeschool year! Please share with me your ideas! What do you suggest??