Good morning everyone!
It’s Monday and the last day for Hip Homeschooling Week. Remember that you have until midnight tonight enter in again to Hip Homeschooling’s Ultimate Young Learner giveaway.
I have more topic ideas I’d love to cover with homeschooling–ideas, answers to your questions, etc., and will continue to regularly post on the topic so plan on more homeschooling posts!
For today, I wanted to share a little about the one-on-one relationship with your child. Why is this so important? Why is it especially important in the homeschooling setting??
I hope you’ve enjoyed/been inspired by Hip Homeschooling week so far. There is more posts to come! And I couldn’t be more excited about the ultimate young learner giveaway! Let me take a second and show you everything I’ve carefully packaged together for the excited + curious young learner. This could be for your child, your grandchild, niece/nephew, or yourself!
Come and see…
Organization for the modern homeschooling family is so important for mental and emotional harmony in the home and for the family. Each family’s approach to organization will look different from the next family’s approach and that is what I love. Like homeschooling, how we organize papers, a child’s work, and their progress is all dependent on the style of homeschooling, state requirements, and flow of each family.
I make a great priority of having order in our home/homeschooling so we can maintain that order and get back to life.
Here’s my easy and simple approach to maintaining that order so we can do what matters most with our time.
Organizing your child’s “work”:
Since our particular family doesn’t follow a set curriculum, organization of “work” in our house is pretty simple. As we work, create, and write throughout the week, some things go in the recycling bin, other things–that both the child or I decide about–go into “the basket”. The basket is within reach in the art room for everyone. They know that the things they make/write that are really important to them go there.
In “the basket” we put our favorite:
- Art to be saved
- Written stories
- Worksheets a child worked on diligently
- Written books (in a Bare Book)
- Photocopies of special letters written and sent
At the end of the year, I know exactly where to find important papers to choose from to then photocopy and put together a child’s portfolio for our school board.
(If you have multiple children, remember to label important papers so you don’t have to guess at the end of the year.)
Organizing your child’s projects + personal materials/aids:
I think it is important that each child feels they have their own space that their own personal belongings won’t get lost in the group materials and clutter of a day. Each homeschooling child has their own “cubby” (a square basket) that fits perfectly into our cubby shelf in our art room. With each cubby labeled with their name (which they made and decorated) they know exactly where to put their cardboard house they are in the process of making but have to put away for ballet. They know where their special stickers are that they got for their birthday for when they are wanting to add them to a letter. And their alphabet totes for practicing spelling and postcard sets.
The personal cubbies are an exciting, personal place for each child. Incomplete projects, completed and treasured 3D projects (notice: things that didn’t go into “the basket”), and personal creative + educational items fit inside their cubby basket.
Organizing activity schedules + important papers:
I like to get the impersonal important papers off the counters and away from the children’s spaces that inspire creativity by putting them on the wall.
The Family Wall
We have what we call “The Family Wall” in our dining room which is a living, changing space for upcoming ballet posters, art, the family calendar, birthday invitations, reminder flyers, and so on. We get to see the items on the family wall since we eat in the dining room so frequently.
Sparkly Clipboard on the Kids Organizational Wall
In the kids’ art room is the organizational wall. Each child has a clipboard to keep coupons, incentive program flyers, Saturday morning jobs sheets, and important papers specific to each of them. There also is a white notepad for leaving notes to each other, making lists, and for spontaneous planning meetings (for note taking) with me.
It’s a great way to see papers that need signing or important deadlines per child.
Something that could not be done 20 years ago is the incredible possibility to organize everything electronically.
Our family’s day, week, month, and year’s plans are all organized in my calendar on my iPad. I love saving time by repeating weekly activities on my calendar like “library” and “one on one time” or scheduling “journal time” bi-monthly or simply adding notes to a specific “project time” at the table where we might be writing to pen pals.
The sky is the limit when it comes to organizing your homeschooling life electronically. I love Evernote. One of my notebooks in Evernote is called Unschooling: Child Led Learning. Within that notebook I have separate pages (or notes) for:
- Each child: here I keep record of their personal goals, plans, things I want to work on with them, etc.
- Subjects we are currently interested in (I can refer to this list at the library for getting books via my phone if needs be)
- Adventures we want to take (I can refer to this as I’m plugging in our plans for an upcoming week)
- *Reading logs (for help remembering at the end of the year and compiling in a child’s portfolio)
- Specific details for a homeschooling project/activity in-the-planning (like our family-planned Egyptian Festival and Medieval Dinner)
- Fall homeschooling ideas for 2014 (a place I can add ideas and begin working into our schedule)
All of the potential piles of lists, ideas, plans, and scheduling clutter never has a place to begin when I organize the core part of our homeschooling electronically. I can share things with my husband (schedules and plans) and even print out plans, calendars, and charts to hang on our Family Wall.
And that sums up the basis for our family’s organization. Try implementing a few things that appeal to you and see if it creates a greater atmosphere of calm and order in your home. Include the kids in the process and help teach them the incredible concept of maintenance. Everyone, surely, will be happy in the end.
What is your greatest tip to share for organization in your homeschooling family?
the sleepy time gal
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
What better way to kick off Hip Homeschooling week than sharing one of my favorite reasons for homeschooling: having the freedom to explore the incredible wide world around us, first hand. We don’t have to wait for recess or science class, we don’t have to wait for the rain to stop or for the snow to be plowed. The great big world awaits the eager mind, waiting to fill the child and parents alike with wonder, exploration, discovery, answers, peace, meaning, and solitude.
Exploring nature and doing it regularly is so essential for every child, no matter the age. Exploring the world around you introduces you and your child to so many topics: biology, zoology, botany, geology, chemistry, astronomy, mineralogy, entomology, dendrology, and on and on. The homeschooling life allows for the time and freedom to be spontaneous to explore at times and organized at other times. It allows for slowing down enough for kids to be curious on walks and taking notes of their questions as they ask them to research once back at home. It allows for the mystery of life, nature, and the world to always be fulfilled and, simultaneously, always leave you desperate for more answers.
We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
So let’s dig in.
Here are 5 Ways to get out and explore your world:
1. Discover your neck of the woods by getting to know it: join/sign up for events and opportunities that will help you dig deeper in getting to know where you live.
One of the best ways to explore your particular local world (no matter where you live) is to find out about your little corner of the world. An easy way to do that is by joining your local homeschooling association. Most associations send out regular emails with upcoming events and opportunities that you and your child may be interested in. Some may be organized by homeschoolers but many events are already run by local organizations/state parks and the information is then passed on to you via email.
Some activities we’ve participated in (and some we are excited to sign up for) because of finding out about them via our homeschooling association include:
- local exploration activities at our state parks (orienteering with a compass and nature story time/craft time for example)
- on-site learning about local birds
- hawk observation on top of one of our tallest mountains with a guide
- visiting a green house at our local college
- visiting a planetarium at our local college
- joining a local mineral club
Explore what makes your corner of the world unique.
This could be taking a walk through a meadow close by to gather that season’s findings. It could be bringing your child’s library book of plants to the park to discover what is growing at your child’s favorite park. It could be taking a nature walk at the turn of fall and gathering every color of leaf to bring home and label for their leaf collection.
No matter the season or location, there is always some question you can ask that will keep your children mindful and always wondering. Make it a habit to inspire that curiosity regularly by taking them out into the big wide world regularly.
Some introductory questions for any time in nature can be:
What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
What do you feel?
These questions introduce the idea of getting to know nature through all of your children’s senses. A simple trip to the park is a prefect place to try these out.
3. Make and take a nature kit to accompany you on your many adventures outdoors.
It is wonderful to be out in nature and to explore. But being prepared to explore and learn makes the experience even better. First, make a simple nature kit. It could include binoculars, notebooks + sketching pencils, some identification cards (plants, birds, flowers, insects are quite popular here) and tape for securing nature finds. (Here is our tried and true nature kit and tutorial.) Keep the nature kit close to the door so it is easy to grab for spontaneous and organized exploration.
Keep the nature kit changing and maturing as your children mature. You may include watercolor pencils + brushes (my kids favorite part of the kit), field guides (we currently have a bird guide in out kit), and camera. The whole idea is to have supplies for researching, identifying, and recording ready for on-site discovery.
4. Help your children continue the connection with nature by creating with their nature findings.
As you explore, you and your child will make incredible connections to nature. Continue these connections by creating with nature. We love to create while in nature and at home.
Some of our favorite creations with nature include:
Another way to encourage your children bringing nature home is by setting up a nature table. It will look different with every season but always inspire your children in their learning, questions, art, and understanding of the world.
5. Document your experiences, findings, location, etc. while you are out or when you return home.
Having your own nature journal invites both child and parent alike to remember their experiences in nature. It may be taping down the first red fall leaf and writing where it was found. Or how you felt when you reached the top of the summit. Nature journals not only document your child’s experiences and learning in nature, but it offers an excellent opportunity for writing. Learning to write the date, to label, and write brief notes will make more of the little explorer than meets the eye.
Our nature journals
A great book for getting started with nature journaling: Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
And as always, books from the library can continue the questions from being in nature to beginning to find their answers. Always check out books about every part of nature from the library for your children to keep the hunger for nature alive. Books always encourage the return to nature.
I hope these 5 ways to explore your world will inspire you to get out and see the beautiful world around you. No matter where you live–in the city or near the mountains–there is life and great learning to be explored. The first step is opening the door.
Get out and be inspired!
Feel free to share or pin!
Our favorite nature explorations:
the sleepy time gal
Good morning to you!
I’m so excited to announce that The Sleepy Time Gal blog is hosting a Hip Homeschooling Week this entire week long! This isn’t your mom’s decade of homeschooling confined to the kitchen table—this is the modern age of resources, technology, exploring the big wide world and beyond! So get comfortable and check back every day for ideas for simple organizing, how to explore where you live, how to make the most of your library + technology, how to create routine while being flexible, and other requested topics.
And there’s more… The Hip Homeschooling Week will conclude this weekend with a giveaway! It is something you won’t want to miss! A custom homeschooling kit filled with my favorite tools, materials, + homemade organizational items our family loves and uses packaged up for you.
So get ready for an inspiring week of ideas to begin implementing in your home. It’s time to take responsibility of your child’s incredible childhood and help them discover the incredible world that awaits their discovering! As always, feel free to submit questions and share your ideas as well.
(If you don’t homeschool, these tips and ideas can still be implimented into your family life so stick around!)
the sleepy time gal