For everything wonderful about homeschooling, there is one huge stumbling block: it requires major dedication. Let's face it, making your own school hours and having some say over your due dates makes it easy to get yourself muddled and not quite on track. Then again, perhaps that's one of the pluses of homeschooling; it teaches you to make yourself stay focused and complete tasks even when there isn't anyone 'standing over you'.
That being said, we all need a little help getting things together. Here, I'm going to share some of my favorite organizing tactics to help start the new year off on the right foot, and keep you organized for the rest of the school-year. Got your own tips? Be sure to share in the comments!
Step 1: Cover The Basics
- Find out exactly where you stand. Go through all your subjects and determine whether you are behind, on track, or (hallelujah!) ahead. Got a bit behind in history? Make a plan to get back where you need to be.
- Just clean it up. Go around the house and track down every teacher's manual, worksheet, favorite pencil, and instruction CD. Find somewhere to put it all; a shelf, stacked neatly under that old armchair, in a book bag, or even a milk-crate. Keep all supplies in mason jars or pencil cases. Punch holes in all those loose papers and put them away in the correct binder. Taking the tame to make it all look nice will help you feel more organized.
Step 2: Devise A Plan....Then Put It Into Action!
- Decide on a system. We all have different tastes and thoughts, so decide on an system of organization that will help you. Personally, I like to do a mix of schedules/To-Do lists, because seeing my day in black and white helps me stay focused. Perhaps stacking books in the order you want them done is a good idea for you, or utilize a dry-erase board where you can update it regularly. If you're very focused, perhaps a mental list is all you need!
- Don't just focus on books. Chances are, there is more than just school that got you feeling muddled in the first place. A messy room? Extracurriculars? No time to walk the dog? Too much Pinterest? Be honest with yourself and make a plan...written down or mental....on how to best budget your time. Sometimes, creating a priority list really helps. Figure out what is most important, and make time for that item first. Use whichever system of organization you decided upon for everything, not just school.
- Get a partner. It will help keep you accountable...I promise. My best friend and I decided our New Year's resolution would be to get back on track with school, and finish on time. We've promised to do it together, and keep each other accountable. So set something up with a friend, meet with your Mom at the end of the week (or day) to go over what you need to do, or reach out to a sibling.
Step 3: Work, work, work......
- The best plan in the world won't work unless you stick to it. As boring as biology may seem now, just imagine; it will be even worse when you're still doing tests through the summer.
- That being said...Be willing to change. When you first devise a plan, it will be perfect, bombproof, simple, and revolutionary until, well...until it doesn't work. But that doesn't mean it was all bad! Breathe, sit down, and decide what worked, what didn't, and what you can change. Plans aren't one time deals, they always need updating.
- Utilize all your time! Most underutilized time ever? Driving. Get a large bag (if your largest text book can fit along with pencils and notebooks, and some extra space, it's big enough) and keep it in a central place, like in front of your bedroom door. As you move throughout the day, throw in library books, the knitting you want to finish, the form you can't forget, and then bring it with you when you leave for somewhere. Make it your goal to always be doing something in the car. Some subjects are better than others. For some reason, I do much better doing Algebra questions in the car than I do, say, reading history. If your the driver? Rent an audio book and enjoy the extra reading time.
- Early to bed, early to rise. The best way to stay on top of things is to take care of yourself. Set yourself a reasonable bed time. Don't snooze the alarm. Eat healthy meals, and make time for fresh, outdoor air. With all the studying and stress, you want to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy.
- Keep your space neat. You'll automatically feel more on top of things if you know where to find your stuff. Keep your space neat with consistent habits, not one time cleaning frenzies.
- Have a mental list of go-to outfits. I personally can't do a thing until I'm dressed. If I'm in pajamas, my mind's still asleep. So have an idea of basic outfits that are comfy and come together in a flash to help make your mornings quick and simple.
- Be quiet. This is one I'm trying to work on. With all the running around, exercising studying, and who knows what else, you need to give your head a break. Find a time at home where you can be uninterrupted for at least a 1/2 hour. For me, I try to make the time around 4:00 or 4:30 until 5:00. Take a walk and just let yourself think, listen to an audio book while knitting, read, journal, or even take a quick cat nap.
So, those were some of my thoughts! I hope that these tips have helped. Just remember, you've got a lot on your plate and sometimes it's difficult to do it all. But often, it'll be worth the running around. Don't hold yourself back from doing something you really, really love, or that will be good for you, just because you're busy. Learn the scheduling and organizing tactics that work for your life. and put them to good use! Got any of your own tips? Make sure to leave a comment!
Thanks for reading! :)