Almost Back to School: Getting Organized

Sprittibee's Almost Back to School Series

{ Note: This post is part of my Almost Back to School Series – follow along with the links at the bottom. }

As promised, here’s Post #2 of 5…

We didn’t get quite as much as I had hoped done this week, but we managed to plan out the entire year’s worth of homeschool field trips for the teenagers and younger kids for our local co-op, we prayed for rain and got it, and my son had a great four days of hunting with his daddy. The week wasn’t a total wash, after all.

Here was my original list of things I had to check off to create this post:

Post 2: Getting Organized

ORGANIZE – CHOOSE RESOURCES – SET UP WORK AREAS
1. Read “The Organized Homeschooler” again
2. Organize the school supplies, the books, and the curriculum I have
3. Purchase any curriculum we still need
4. Thoroughly clean, organize, and purge closets & rooms
5. Move preschool and Kindergarten desk upstairs into little boy room
6. Set up workstations and preschool/Kindergarten schedule & supplies
7. Print off a back-to-school checklist
8. Organize the teacher’s desk
9. Create memory books/portfolios for last year’s work

As you can see, I haven’t arrived. It is important to make a mental note that if you are honest, you really never do. There’s always room for improvement, and instead of kicking yourself for not getting everything checked off on a list, I suggest making note of what you DID accomplish. That is one thing I love about my planner this year. It has an entire page dedicated to memories, achievements and evidences of God’s grace. I tend to be my own worst enemy when it comes to feeling the shame of an unchecked list… so I’m looking forward to patting myself on the back more this school year.

Organized Homeschooler

Starting with #1 – I read my book. If you haven’t read The Organized Homeschooler, I highly suggest it. I hope I get to hug Vicki Caruana’s neck someday for all the years of encouragement her book has brought me. It isn’t just a how-to, it’s a bible study for the homeschool mom seeking to make the most of her time because the days are evil. I grow every year as I read the scriptures she suggests, remind myself of my purposes, and put some of Vicki’s tips in to action.

As for the school supplies, a quick re-organizing through my cabinets, drawers, and book cases will put things right again. I wonder sometimes if the teens or the toddlers are equal in their bent towards destroying order. I may make a sign this year that says:

“IF YOU GET IT OUT, PUT IT BACK WHERE IT GOES”

I sense a sticker chart for the little ones in the near future! Too bad stickers don’t work for teenagers.

For the most part, my curriculum is all ready to go. I’m co-oping with another mom for English this year, and she’s got a great curriculum she’s sharing with me, so I am only lacking the books we need to read to go along with history (and that will require me making time next week to flesh my “MUST-READ” list out for the teens. I have a ton of books for the little ones to read and plan to hit the library twice a month, so we’ve got them covered. Still have to go through the book shelves one last time to make sure everything is straight and pull out the first unit study for the little guys. I’m also going to utilize the book basket and set up the preschool/Kindergarten reading nook again.

Big goal for tomorrow : TEEN ROOMS / ALL CLOSETS (including the hall closet downstairs, purging the two little boys’ closet (none of their clothes fit), and cleaning out mom’s closet)

I bet we find a lot of books and paperwork that needs to be filed away and shelved – and I will have a boat-load of clothes to donate or sell (read: money for books).

the desk

Want a desk that weighs more than this truck?

Then there’s that DESK. Heavens to Betsy, it’s heavy. Not only that, it will cost me a ton of bucks to get it upstairs and my husband is worried that the room I want to put it in isn’t sturdy enough without support beams to handle the weight. I don’t want to sell it and get rid of it, but I also see his point. So… I’m considering cutting down a smaller table we own to make it shorter, and getting stools. Either that, or seeing if there’s something cheap at IKEA we could use instead. Then there’s always the Thomas the Tank Engine Table we could paint (AGAIN) and move upstairs. Lots to ponder over this weekend… which is stalling my workstation set up for the little guys.

I have confidence that God will give me the discernment and wisdom to figure it out – and spend very little money on the solution. There was a reason this particular desk – while so awesomely perfect for my need – was FREE. I wish I had a downstairs school room in my garage so I could just keep it out there and use it. That wouldn’t set well with the mayor of the man-cave, though.

The Kindergarten schedule isn’t made out yet, but I’m considering using a variation of last year’s preschool schedule. We did less preschool than I had planned each week because I was so busy driving the big kids to classes and service projects. This year we are keeping the outings to a minimum and they have rides from friends to some events so mama can devote more time to their younger brothers. One thing we’ve worked on this summer is weekly lists they copy off on their own high school planners and are required to complete by the end of the week. I’m so impressed to see them finally taking more responsibility for task completion. This alone will be a huge help for me in the coming school year so I can focus on Kindergarten and preschool with the attention it deserves.

Here’s what’s on the list for our Kinder / Preschool Year:

Bible & Character, Memory Work, Poetry, Today in History, Calendar, Weather, ETC – Circle Time
Computer Skills, Educational PC/Tablet Games
Hygiene & Health, Safety, Physical Education, Tie Shoes, Potty Train, Chores, ETC – Lifeskills
Geography, Holidays, Culture, Events, Field Trips, History
Unit Studies, Science Experiments, Nature & Outdoor Time
Flashcards, Phonics, Alphabet, Easy Readers, Teaching them to Read
Early Math skills, telling time, measurement
Sensory & Motorskills, Stations, Play Time, Art, Games, Social Events
Music Theory, Singing, Piano Lessons, Enrichment

Fleshing out the schedule and plans is my next step (which is great, since that’s the next update for this series). I already have curriculums, unit studies, resource ideas, and even a new preschool resource that someone has offered me to review for this year. I’m hoping to include a weekly preschool and Kindergarten update post as we truck along with our year. How fun would that be?!

As for mama’s desk, mama’s planner, and my printed lists and charts, I’m good. I hope to share some of those things with you in my final post in this series.

For now, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes by Vicki Caruana. Vicki’s book provides a ton of great one-liners. You might want to jot them down in your own planner. I went through my entire planner for this school year and added a quote and a Bible verse to each week so I can encourage myself.

“How we choose to spend our time reveals our priorities.”

“Our God is a God of order and purpose. He does nothing without purpose!”

“Disorganization leads to disorder, causes chaos, and breeds stress.”

Getting and staying organized is never easy. There are some great tips in Vicki’s book and in “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” by Crystal Paine (another one I’ve read recently).  “Order from Chaos: A Six-Step Plan for Organizing Yourself, Your Office, and Your Life” by Liz Davenport is great (totally awesome tips for personal desk space and supplies). “Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living” by Tsh Oxenrider is super-duper (she talks a lot about simplifying and having a family mission statement). I have a huge number of organizational books. You might have guessed that with as much as I speak in lists.

Need some organizing encouragement and inspiration? I’ve got a pinterest board dedicated to it. Drool with me over some of those homeschool and craft rooms, why don’t you?

Follow Spritti Bee’s board Organizing on Pinterest.

Here’s a little prayer for a homeschool mom who wants to be organized:

Show me how to spend my time, Lord. Help me be a woman of order as you are a God of order. Let my children find peace and stability in you and see you in everything I do. Help me to hem in my time and know the power of a moment. Let me be wise, making the most of the time and opportunities you give me. Let me simplify and be a good steward. Multiply my efforts. May I bless my family and bring you honor.

Amen.

Trust me, I’m saying this one a lot lately… and will continue through the school year. Things tend towards atrophy and chaos – so there’s always room for organizational improvement.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Almost Back to School Update. Here’s hoping this next week will be productive and amazing.

Join me as I cover our planning and preparing phase for 2014-15 back to school in this post series…

Here are the posts, linking up as I write them…

Almost Back to School Series Intro
Post 1: Starting with God
Post 2: Getting Organized
Post 3: Planning, Scheduling & Preparing (including printables)
Post 4: Homemaking Mostly Grain and Sugar Free Lunch Ideas
Post 5: 2014-15 School Year

Have a wonderfully organized school year!

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