Spring is also a great reminder to spruce up everything around us and make it new too. That's how the idea of spring cleaning was born.
Lest you're feeling guilty because you don't have any spring cleaning planned, and in the back of your mind you're thinking your house is just as messy in April as it was in December, I'll admit that I'm not always much of a spring cleaner. I tend to clean my house in cycles- focusing on different areas in different times. It still gets clean, but I never really have a big "spring clean."
What I do like to spring clean faithfully is our homeschool. I'm not just talking about a room in the house. (Because we tend to homeschool in quite a few rooms.) But spring- as we're finishing up one school year and preparing to take a break- is a great time to step back and take a look at how our homeschool is going and make adjustments. Yes, there's some physical cleaning that takes place. But I also like to take time in the spring to "clean" and spruce up our homeschooling system.
Here are five areas where it's good to do a little spring cleaning in your homeschool.
Each spring I like to clean out our curricula. I look through what we need for the coming year and what I'm not going to use again. I box up curricula I want to sell. I usually sell through Amazon, but sometimes I can find a local homeschool curricula sale to be a part of. If I have materials that aren't really worth selling but may still be of use, I'll ask around my homeschool groups to see if anyone needs it.
I also clean out our school and art supplies. I dig out all those broken crayon pieces and dried up markers. I round up the twenty pairs of scissors we always seem to have scattered all over the house. I throw away nasty trays of watercolor paints that are mixed up and mostly used up.
We have a craft wardrobe with storage slots, along with a set of plastic drawers where all these supplies live. I organize those. I also note what we're running out of so that I can stock up when the back-to-school sales begin.
Your Chore System
In the spring, I take a look at what we're doing and see if it's working. Are kids actually doing the chores I mean for them to do? Do I need to teach a certain chore to a child and relinquish that duty for good? Are there life skills that some kids need that I could assign a chore to teach?
One thing I like to do in the spring is create a list for each child so that they have jobs to help me in the big schoolroom clean-out. It helps me. It teaches them responsibility. We both win.
Your Lesson Planning SystemSpring is a good time to think about whether or not your current lesson planning system is working. There's a really easy way to determine this. Are your kids accomplishing anything that is school related? Be honest.
I know what days of a nonworking lesson plan look like. They look like kids who are playing- or using electronics all day- without opening a schoolbook. They looked like math books that only have a few pages done after three months of supposedly "doing school."
I'm not talking to the unschoolers here. I know some unschoolers whose kids learn so much and never open a book. I'm talking about those of us- me included- who are supposedly planning out schoolwork that children will supposedly accomplish. But something happens between the planning stage and the doing stage...and nothing really ever gets done.
So take a look at your lesson planning system. Is it working? Maybe you need a new system. If you're looking for a new kind of homeschool planner that might keep you a little more organized, check out this post which looks at a large variety of planners that I've personally tried. And if you need serious lesson planning help and aren't sure where to start, check out my book Creating Homeschool Lesson Plans That Work. I'll teach you a workable system and give you a bonus link to the planning system I use.
Your CurriculumSpring is also a good time to start thinking about your homeschool curricula. What do you need to use for the coming year? Even if you homeschool year round, many families use August as the beginning of a new school year. So spring is the perfect time to look at what curricula you'll be finishing up and what you need to beg, borrow, or buy for the coming year.
Because I'm the queen of spreadsheets- yes, only one of my organizing nicknames- I have an awesome curriculum planner spreadsheet. I use this each year to think through what curricula I need for each child for the next school year. Having it all written on a spreadsheet helps me to make sure I have every subject area covered and helps me to see how much I'm going to need to spend. You can pick up a free copy of my spreadsheet- complete with instructions- by clicking here.
Your ScheduleHave you ever noticed how your schedule seems to be working for your family so well, and then Bam!, you seem to hit a wall, and nothing works anymore? There have been seasons of life when we're coasting along and going to all of our regularly scheduled events, and I begin wondering why we are so rushed all the time. And I take a look at our schedule and realize that what was working terrifically six months ago just isn't working now.
When that happens, it's time to step back and take a look at any changes that need to be made in the schedule. Spring is an awesome time for this. You're thinking through your summer plans. You're looking at next year's curricula. Sign ups and registration opportunities for fall activities are beginning to hit your inbox. Do you want to sign up for that co-op for next year? Are the kids going to be in 4H for the next school year? What about sports?
As you're spring cleaning, take time to spring clean your schedule. Take a look at all of your activities and think about how they'll reasonably fit into your day.
If you need a little help for your schedule, you're in luck. I have a Five Day Challenge to a Working Homeschool Schedule. The challenge is free, and when you join, I'll walk you through setting up a workable schedule step-by-step. If you're ready to clean your homeschool schedule, come on over and take the challenge.
As spring comes to your neck of the woods, take some time to spring clean your homeschool. Which one of these do you think is most urgent to work on in spring cleaning your homeschool? Leave me a comment and let me know.