Category Archives: Organization

Finding a Homeschool Space

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I have been homeschooling for close to 5 years. Our first few years we did not have a homeschool room. Once baby number 3 was added to our small home, we decided more space was in order. We added on a nice size homeschool/playroom, and since then have had a designated homeschool space. You can see that space here.

We do not “do” school only in our room. The kids learn everywhere! However, having the extra space to store our homeschool stuff, and to be able to put our educational posters and the like has been nice.

Many families do not have the space to have a designated homeschool room. Even though, they may want one. However, with a little creativity you can turn an area of your home into the homeschool space you desire.

Here are some ideas for finding a homeschool space:

Dining Room: We used our dining room for school for years before we added on to our home. You can find some fairly creative organizing tips on Pinterest to get the most use out of a small space. If you rarely use your dining room, consider converting it into a space for your homeschool.

Basement or Attic: I have friends who have been able to convert unused attic or basement pace in their homes to nice areas for school.

Extra Bedrooms: If you have two children of the same gender and are in a 3-bedroom home, consider putting them together and making the extra bedroom homeschool space.

Porches: Our homeschool room came from a front porch we rarely used. For a small price, we were able to convert that front porch into our homeschool room. If your home has a patio or porch that is not used, consider looking into what it would cost to utilize that extra space.

Homeschool rooms are not a necessity, I know many families who do not have one. However, if you have been wanting to find a space for your homeschool, I encourage you to look into these options, maybe one of them could work for you!

 

Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Organizing a Homeschool Portfolio

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Whether or not your state requires homeschool assessment it is a good idea to keep a record of your child’s schoolwork each year. One way to do this is by keeping a portfolio. Homeschool portfolios can be as in depth or simple as you want to make them.

Step 1: Choose a binder large enough to hold your child’s work. For many this will need to be at least 1 ½”. If you are not going to be including Math or Grammar samples due to having them somewhere else (like a workbook), you can get by with a little smaller.

Step 2: Purchase tabbed dividers and filler paper to organize your child’s homeschool portfolio.

Step 3: Decide how to organize the portfolio. Are you going to divide it up by subject, month, season, or quarter? How you divide it up is ultimately up to you.

Step 4: Include important documents like your homeschool approval letter (if you have one), a list of curriculum used, and a sample school calendar. This should all go right in the front of the portfolio.

Step 5: Start putting in samples of work. Many parents only put in their child’s best work, but that is not always a good idea. You want to see a progression throughout the year, so it is okay to put in work that is “so/so”. Good ideas to include in the portfolio are Math drill sheets, grammar tests, book reports, science experiment papers, artwork, History notes, and any other item you deem important. Don’t forget about field trips! I always grab a pamphlet from every place we go and put it in the kid’s portfolios. Field trips are learning experiences too.

When it comes to organizing a homeschool portfolio, don’t stress! Homeschool portfolios do not have to be difficult or overwhelming. Make them fun! Let your kids pick what they want to keep. You may be surprised what they deem important enough to hold on too. Also, snap a few pictures throughout the year and at the end place them in the portfolio with their end of the year assessment (if required). I am always surprised how much my children have grown from the first of the year to the end. Homeschool portfolios are supposed to highlight your child’s work, but they can also serve as a “yearbook” of sorts. One day you may be looking through them with your grandkids remembering all the fun that homeschooling was that year.

Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Simple Tip

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Sometimes the easiest things become the biggest stumbling blocks to a smooth school day.  “Where’s my pencil?”  “I need an eraser.”  “I can’t find any notebook paper.”  As homeschool families we LIVE in our homes far more than most.  The piles of busy-ness can easily become a cluttered mess.  Spending just a bit of time to create a homeschool supplies area will bring smoothness to your days that will bless immensely!  Probably it has been on your to-do list for months.  If so, may this be just the encouragement you need to create your spot today.

No doubt you already have all you need to create a homeschool supply nest.  A desk, book-case and/or filing cabinet dedicated to homeschool necessities easily prevent the time waste of searching.   The most important resource:  a simple pencil box and a sharpener in a readily accessible place.  This will prevent the greatest number of school day delays.  The contents of the ‘nest’ vary with the ages, courses and interests of your students.  Honestly, for me, it usually requires three or four consecutive days of “Where is….” before I catch on to the need to update the supply area, but the relief is immediate.

 Some timeless necessities include: 

  • An age-appropriate dictionary and encyclopedia; perhaps a thesaurus.  (I know Wikipedia and spell-check are popular but…  Also, sometimes the computer simply offers more distraction than assistance. )
  • That wonderful pencil box mentioned earlier (with a sharpener)
  • Basic art/project supplies such as:  scissors, markers, tape, glue and colored pencils
  • Math supplies:  protractor, compass and scientific calculator
  • Whiteboard and supplies for the teacher to draw out some of the concepts

Don’t let those ‘little foxes’ throw a wrench into your school days.  Avert the difficulty before it pops up.

Guide To Attending a Homeschool Expo

Have you stayed away from the Homeschool Expo just because of the magnitude of it all?  Looking at the listing of workshops or a peak into the exhibit hall can give you a deer in the headlights look!  Where do you start?

  • Plan ahead by reading about the available workshops and making a note of when it will be held.  If there are two you want to attend at the same time, consider which would be best to attend and get the other on CD.  If you go with a friend or a spouse, you can each attend one and share notes afterwards.
  • Have a list of curriculum you want to look over.  Plan on taking the time you need and ask the exhibitors your questions.
  • Know your prices.  If you buy at the conference it will save on shipping, but you will want to have some kind of luggage or cart on wheels to save your strength.
  • Do you have a budget?  If you do, don’t spend it all at once!  The school year is long and you will probably need something else before the year is out.

Attending the Homeschool Expo is educational and exciting.  The workshops and exhibitors are there for you.  You might also want to consider Homeschooling for Excellence, a one day conference for beginning homeschoolers.

http://www.southeasthomeschoolexpo.com/homeschooling-101

How One Homeschooler Uses Her Home

Enjoy this wonderful organization video.  The mom is a herbalist and homeschooler. I love how she uses her table in the living room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw7e_Igi2DE&playnext=1&list=PL9935507FD4380441&index=21