5 Things to Organize Before Your New Homeschool Year Begins

Don’t you just love a new start? a clean slate? a fresh beginning? I love those times to start fresh…like the beginning of a new school year.

Even when I homeschooled year round, I treated August as the start of a new school year. It was the time when we began our next year’s curriculum and kids who were progressing through grade-leveled material moved on to the next grade. Now that my kids are older and it’s hard to homeschool through the summer, we officially start each new school year in August.
Because of this, August has always been the fresh start for our homeschooling. It’s the time to start anew with new curricula and new classes and new activities. As we begin to lead up to this new start each year, I like to organize and prepare. I try to spend a few weeks before the planned start date getting all my ducks in a row. There are a few key things I like to have organized in preparation for the start of the new year.

Organizing your homeschool

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School and Craft Supplies

Even if we aren’t starting back to school at the same time traditional schools begin, I like to take advantage of “Back to School” deals on school supplies. I use those deals to stock up on all the common things we need- pencils, pens, crayons, glue, markers, and scissors. (For some reason all scissors disappear within a week or so of entering our house. I am not even kidding!)

I have several sets of plastic drawers like these in the schoolroom, and I have them labeled. Our supplies are organized in these drawers. Things tend to get mixed up over time, however. So I take some time a week or so before school begins to organize all of them before adding the new supplies to the mix.

I put things in their correct drawers. I throw away trash that has made it’s way into the drawers as well as empty glue containers, dried up markers, or pencil stubs. I also take inventory of the craft supplies that we have in the drawers- construction paper, paints, etc- and see what I need to replace or get rid of.

Having these supplies organized saves me lots of hassle when I trying to find what we need for that super cool craft that goes along with our history study or when someone is bemoaning their lack of notebook paper and declaring that they can’t complete an assignment.

Chore Routines

Ah, chores. When the children were younger, I thought that trying to establish chore routines was difficult. It was often harder to teach them how to do a chore properly than to just do it myself. I probably wasn’t as consistent as I should have been, although I always tried to keep a chore chart and have the kids involved in keeping the house along with me. After I read Managers of Their Chores from Steven and Teri Maxwell, I may have gotten a little overly ambitious with an elaborate system of cards and plastic card holders and charts, and… But I digress.

Now that my children are older, chores haven’t gotten any easier. But now it’s difficult for a different reason. Now everyone has busy schedules, and people are in and out participating in various activities. Now developing chore routines involves knowing when kids will be home and being realistic about who can and should be doing what.

I think that the most important thing to communicate to the kids about chore routines- no matter their age- is that keeping up with the housework, cooking food, and picking up is not just mom’s job. The whole family lives, works, and schools in the house. And the whole family has responsibility in taking care of it and supporting the family.

Taking time to get our ducks in a row when it comes to chores makes those jobs go more smoothly once kids are in a regular routine with schoolwork. When they know what is expected about chores, they can incorporate that into their schedules.

Schoolwork Stations

Once upon a time when the kids were all young, most of our schoolwork was done in the “schoolroom.” That name is rather euphemistic because we don’t have a room that is solely for school. Instead we have a dining/pantry/play/school room. But, whatever you want to call it, we once all met in that room and did most of our schoolwork there.

As the older kids became more independent in their work and began doing high school, they moved into their rooms with desks to do their schoolwork. Currently only the younger two still do schoolwork in the schoolroom on desks that we’ve made by partitioning off a table.

Before our new homeschool year begins, I like to have the kids each organize their schoolwork space. When they have cleaned up and put in order the things in their school space, they’ll be able to work in peace, have more room to work, and be able to find their schoolbooks and supplies more easily.

Extracurricular Schedules

Sometimes I’m not sure why this whole schooling thing is called “homeschooling” because it seems as if we never stay at home. When random strangers or semi acquaintances say something about socialization and homeschoolers, I usually don’t answer because I’m too busy hurrying someone to their next social event.

In order to keep us all sane, I like to organize our extracurricular activities schedules before the new homeschool year begins. I use my Google calendar, and each person in our family has a different color. When I write it all out that way, I can get a good look at our schedule and see if it’s doable.

Up until recently I’ve been the only main driver to our multiple activities. Jason is glad to do it when it’s a late afternoon/evening event and he’s home from work. But daytime activities have been my domain. Now I have a teen driver as well. I’m looking forward to having another driver to run people around.

Sometimes in organizing our schedules I have to make the difficult choice to cut out activities. That’s not fun, and it’s hard to pick things to give up. But to preserve our sanity I need to have an organized and workable schedule before we start a new homeschool year.

Lesson Planning

Even though I love to plan, I know that for some homeschool moms “planning” is a bad word. Whether planning comes naturally to you or not, I know from experience that your homeschool year is going to go more smoothly if you are organized in your lesson planning.

There are many ways to approach homeschool lesson planning. And there are many, many, many homeschool planners available- pen and paper planners, online planners, and downloadable planners to print. There are just so many choices. (I have a whole blog post about homeschool planner options, and the reason I’m qualified to write that post is that I have tried every. single. one. of them.

If you know that organizing your lesson planning system is important, but you just can’t seem to find a planning system that works for you, I have an ebook that can help. Homeschool Lesson Plans That Work has a step-by-step guide to homeschool lesson plans. It’s also got a free version of the lesson planning system I’ve finally found to work- after trying those hundreds (almost) of others.

Homeschool lesson planning

Having an organized lesson planning system is going to keep you from scrambling every Sunday night to figure out what you’re doing in the coming week. And it’s going to ensure that you don’t end up in December still struggling with getting all of the schoolwork that you need to do accomplished.

Organizing your homeschool

I’ll freely admit that I enjoy organizing…most of the time. But even if it’s not really your thing, taking time to organize these things really can help your homeschool year to be more productive.

Do you enjoy organizing? What is your least favorite thing to organize? (I’m sure we all have one!)

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