It’s a new school year, and every husband of a homeschooling mom knows what that means: She is starting to prepare! I think that for most homeschooling moms this is their most disorganized time of the year.
It’s the time when they shake off the sluggishness of summer and buckle down to start back into a routine for homeschool.
Here are a few tips for helping your wife starting the new school year.
1. Make a plan.
If you’re like me, unless an idea makes it out of your head and onto paper it’s not going to stand a chance. I like to write a list of things I want to get done, things to buy, projects to work on. Even if I don’t do everything on the list, writing it down gives me a visual plan to focus on. My wife recently finished her daily plan or schedule and it has given her and the kids a great reference for day to day items. To make this great, take your wife away on a Saturday for a while and do a planning day. Just the two of you with no kids. (Big brownie points!)
This is not my favorite thing, but she tries to do major housecleaning the week before we start school. Most people are easily distracted and if there’s a lot of housework sitting around, it distracts them from working on school. So help to get caught up on the big things that has been put off, like moving furniture around, shampooing the carpets, etc. She will appreciate your help in this guys.
3.Sort through your curriculum.
This is a good time to look through all of your books and resources once again. Your wife knows what she has but oftentimes things are forgotten about. This gives you and your wife time to go through everything so you don’t have to spend money for anything new when you already have it.
4.Do an inventory.
Make an inventory of every item you have that can be used in your homeschool. Flashcards, books, craft supplies, games, etc. should all be included. What’s the point? As time goes on, you forget what you already have and go out and buy supplies you need for a project. That’s a waste of money if you’ve already got it at home but just don’t realize it. An inventory list can help you save money and become better organized for your school year.
Sort through all homeschooling supplies and pull out everything that you will no longer use. Whether it’s flashcards that the kids no longer need, old workbooks that are still usable but you won’t use, or other educational supplies – put it all into a box and either sell it or give it away. Our homeschool group has a time throughout the year called “Blessing Day”. This is a time where everyone comes together and swaps, trades or gives away what they no longer need.
6. Make a calendar.
This is very important. Once she and you set a date to begin school year, print out a calendar page for each month from September through May. Then go through each one, month by month, and mark activities and appointments. Keep a master calendar in a homeschool planner and make a copy at the beginning of each month to post on the fridge. This gives the kids a calendar to go by – and things to look forward to.
7. Make a list of outside the house activities to do.
In our area, there’s a growing homeschooling population and there are a number of outside activities to choose from. Whether it’s a field trip or a group activity, there’s always something available to enrich learning. Sometimes there’s too much to choose from and we have to limit outside activities. Choose now (you can always decide to participate later), it will save heartache and disappointment with your kids. Don’t get caught up in doing everything all the time. Remember, keep time for the family!
8. Make a menu.
This is a hard one, but I’ve found that it really helps. My wife makes up a weekly menu for breakfast, lunch and supper. She keeps it in her planning book and constantly refers to it. It’s a big help for her because then she doesn’t have to do the “What in the world am I going to fix for breakfast/lunch/supper????” panic. It also lets me know so I can surprise her with dinner every now and then. (Brownie points guy, easy brownie points!)
9. Create an inviting space for school.
Some people have the luxury of a special room that is specifically for school. We don’t. We live in a home with three rambunctious kids, a loving wife, eleven fish, a parrotlet, cat and dog. Space is at a premium in our home. This year I put a large dry erase board on a wall in the living room and a smaller one in the dining area and a some cabinet to hold school supplies in the foyer. These small additions made a huge difference for my wife. Work with your wife to make the area where the homeschooling is going to happen a place that they can all work in and be comfortable as well.
10. Prepare a sign for your door and a message for your phone.
I am going to talk to my wife about changing the greeting on her voicemail to explain that between the hours of 8 a.m. and whenever, they are in school and will not be taking calls and the caller should please leave a message. Then turn the phone to vibrate. Keep it on vibrate because then she can add to the end of the message that in case of emergency, please call back immediately and I will answer (she also has caller ID). We live in the country and visitors are few a far between but if you are in a more populated area,you may also like to make a small sign to put on the front door that says “Please do not disturb – learning is in progress.” This helps eliminate distractions for her and the kids. A ringing phone and someone at the door have always proven to be detrimental to any learning environment!
These are just some tips to help your wife along. Beware!! In doing these things, you will become an involved husband of a homeschooling mom and that is something that I am sure your wife will love to have around the house