Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Organization is my Peanut Butter

Have you ever eaten a peanut butter sandwich with really crumbly bread. Somewhere toward the end of the sandwich the peanut butter is really the only thing holding it all together.  It isn't pretty, but you get through it and enjoy it for what it is. A sticky, crumbly mess of yumminess.

Well, yesterday was totally a crumbly peanut butter sandwich homeschool day for our family. It seemed like everything we tried just didn't come off quite as planned. You know - grumpy kiddo, not "fun" subjects, interruptions, allergies...all sorts of things were off.  And yet, we held it together. Actually, what held my day together was the fact that I was organized. In the midst of chaos I could keep my eyes on where we were and what was next. Organization was my peanut butter. (okay, yeah, I know...but you get the picture)

So today, let's talk about it. Organization. Keeping your homeschooling pointed in the right direction, hitting your goals and keeping on top of the details. I want to hear from you...your pointers, your ideas, your troubles. I'll share mine, and, of course....

...we have a GIVEWAY today. Actually not just a giveaway - 5!! I'll pick five winners randomly from the comments and you'll win ListPlanIt's Home Education eplanner.

{total side note here -- go visit It is an amazing resource. It has lists for projects, trips, events and more. Not to mention great advice from professional organizers. You know, I love lists. I love lists of lists so this is totally my kinda place, but really if you are a person who is struggling in this area and are looking for resources, check it out, they've got ya covered!!}

Now, this eplanner is full of useful pages...

~ record sheets for attendance and grades
~ goal setting sheets (by subject and student)
~ a daily planner
~ monthly unit planner
~ a hourly schedule for each day
~ resources list
~ book report pages
~ books read
~ inventory
~ field trip log
~ portfolio contents
~ and so much more

I have been privileged this week to review and use the planner myself. The curriculum I use (Sonlight) comes with a great plan, however I find that often need to write (or try to make) supplemental pages for added subjects (ie. math). The eplanner totally solved it for me. I just added the "home education plan" page to my notebook. Filled in all the added stuff for the week right there. One page. Nice.

 I love that I can open it up on the computer and just fill out the pages right there in Acrobat. I do think some of the boxes might be kind of small if someone was to print them and try to handwrite it, but that might just be my big crazy handwriting.

It also got me thinking about inventorying what we have in the classroom. I never know what I have, although I think I might have an idea. One page...or two...and I'll be able to track what we have. Then I can keep my eyes open for sales and opportunities to restock!! Love it.

Seriously I could go on and on, but I want to hear from you too!

Want one? I hope so! It is great. Easy to use, customizable, and ready to go. How great is that??

So, now it is your turn. Tell me about how you are organized.

Do you have a planner? Does your curriculum/teacher's guide lay it out for you?

Do you set goals for your year? How do you record them and keep track of progress?

For those of you who are homeschooling multiple children how do you keep organized (btw, the eplanner has a page for that, too!!)?

This is my first official homeschool post and discussion starter. I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear from you and glean your knowledge.

I pray that God blesses your efforts richly and that you find ways to have peanut butter on your crumbly bread kinda days!


anna said...

If I don't get some organization soon, I will die! I try and try, but nothing ever sticks. Maybe this will help me with my gargantuan family that is not done expanding yet! ha ha! :)

Kristin said...

I LOVE to organize...I feel like I spend most of my doing so around the house. But why can't I get our school organization down right? I feel so lost when it comes to homeschooling. So...Pick me! Pick me! :-D

Valerie Webb said...

Cool resource, Wendy! I'll make sure Kristin knows about it. She's a big time organizer, too. I guess it runs in the family. :)

Brenda said...

I am actually searching for the right planner. I have visited office supply stores and viewed planners online but none seem to do what I want it to do. I wish I could combine features from each planner and make the ultimate planner. I will definitely have to check out this eplanner. It looks like what I want. Thanks!

Julie Chandler said...

Hey Wendy! I need to be more organized, but every year of homeschooling seems to bring a little more. The one curriculuum we use for our History/Lit co-op lays out the whole year for us week by week, so that REALLY helps me. Then I was using a form every week that Isaac and I would sit down on Sundays and look at. I would write down everything to be done that week and we'd divide it up by subject and day of the week. That way he was helping to decide what to do each day and it was a good lesson in work management. Since he was in Middle School grades that was important for me to have him learn. Next year - High School! Now, I really need to step up the organization & have a 4 year plan :-) I am really enjoying your blogs, btw!

katrina said...

I wish I was better organized. I start something and it does not stick. The best I have come up with is using my computer calendar and keeping notes of what I did and what needs to be done. It's then all in one place. The only sticky point is unit studies and how to keep them on track. Need help here...suggestions welcome!

Erika said...

I love organizing! This is our first year homeschooling, so any help would be great. Since my son is in kindergarten, I have year-long goals for him. I will definitely need a better way to organize our work when our other two children start school.

Courtney said...

This is my first visit to your it. Thanks for the scripture ref. I think the best tip I have learned is to get a planner for each of your kids too! But I need to get a good planner first so I can teach them how!

Kim said...

This is the first year I have ever organized our homeschool and it was only because I joined a co-op and needed to fill out a syllabus for the subjects I am teaching. Before our year started, I had all 30 weeks planned out. I'm wondering why I've never done this before. It was a lot of work up front, but once it was done, it proved to be most helpful in keeping us on track.

Steve said...

We've been homeschooling 21 years, and each year is different because the dynamic of the family is always changing. How I wish it came with a "one size fits all," but I've learned much more being flexible.
Lists can be great, as long as they don't overwhelm you--they are your slave, not your master.
I set simple goals for each day (beyond the necessities) so that if I get MORE accomplished, I feel "ahead" instead of "behind." I also think about dinner at breakfast time (if I need to thaw something or put something in the crock pot, etc.); the 5:00 arsenic hour when the sharks are circling the kitchen in a feeding frenzy is not the time to be thinking what we should have for dinner! Hope these few thoughts might be a help!

Steve said...

By the way, the last comment was left by Barby, not Steve. My husband Steve's name is the one registered on the Google account!

Sheri said...

Organizing is one of those areas that I just can't grasp a good system for. Thanks for sharing this resource.