Fun Friday

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

It’s the last day of the week, and it’s the last day of the month. Let’s do something fun today with our children.

Think of something you would all enjoy. Do your Morning Routine and school work for the day, and then go have some fun.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your children. I pick activities that we enjoy that do not cost a lot. On the fourth Friday of the month, a local bowling alley has a homeschool bowling time for a couple of hours. It is very inexpensive.

Sometimes, we use our Science Center membership and just walk through the exhibits and have fun with the activities. It is adjacent to our Art Museum, so we can also take a walk through the exhibits there as well.

Our library has special activities throughout the month that young children enjoy. Check the library calendar and see if there is an activity today that suits the ages of your children.

If the weather is nice, pack a picnic lunch and go to the park. Call a couple of homeschool friends and enjoy some fellowship.

What are some fun activities you can do in your area with your children?

Today’s Zone Mission is to clean under the furniture in your bedroom.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Feeling Low on Energy

Getting Organized:

In your home and homeschool

 

Do you feel low on energy often? Since the time change, we have been adjusting an earlier morning wake up alarm. Being busy from the time we get up to the time we fall into bed is also a contributor.

So as we are nearing the end of the month, we are feeling like we are dragging through the day. We are going through the motions, but we are tired.

What are some strategies that you can use to help you feel more energetic?

If you are getting 8 hours of sleep at night, then you need to consider other factors in why your energy is low.

If you are dehydrated, you will not feel energetic. Drink your water daily. Figure out how much water you need daily and drink it. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks do not count to your daily intake of water.

While it seems to be the opposite of what you want to do, daily movement will give you more energy. Make sure you have purposeful movement for 15 minutes a day every day.

Have regular blood work to check your vitamin D and iron levels. In the winter, your vitamin D levels can drop from lack of sunlight.

Use your routines to keep you from doing too many things in a day! You might be overdoing it on a regular basis. Keep things a simple as you can. This is why I tell you to declutter a little at a time.

Raising children is a lot of work. Please take the time to rest properly and take care of yourself.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter anything that you do not need in the Living Room.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.

Have a great day!

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Feeling Overwhelmed

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Someone wrote me this week about feeling overwhelmed. One of the reasons I write daily is to help those of you who may feel overwhelmed to feel better that you can handle things one step at a time.

On the days that you feel overwhelmed, do your routines one thing at a time. Don’t do extra stuff. Don’t make it complicated. When you make it complicated, that is when you start feeling overwhelmed.

Take a look at the things you are responsible for on a daily basis. Are there things you can delegate? If not, just take it one thing at a time. Keep your To Do list as short as possible.

You can have a notebook or your Control Journal to list things that you need to do. Each morning, pick one thing to accomplish that morning. Do it after your Morning Routine. If possible, do it after you have your homeschool time with your children.

Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is just your perfectionism rearing it’s ugly head. Doing something on your To Do list will help you feel less overwhelmed. So pick something you have been putting off and do it during your Afternoon Routine today.

After dinner, pick one more thing on your list to do. Keep these short and sweet. If it is going to take more than 15 minutes, break it down into smaller steps. You can accomplish a lot of things by breaking them into small steps.

Be kind to yourself and just keeping moving forward a little at a time.

Your Zone Mission today is to go sofa diving.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is a beef roast and vegetables.

Have a great day!
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How can you help a child who is easily distracted?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
                         
Recently, someone asked me how to help an older child who is easily distracted by young siblings.

One of my children was easily distracted as a young student. Something that worked well for him when he needed to focus on a subject was to wear noise-cancelling headphones. This took the various noises around the house out of the equation for him. If he wore the headphones and had his back to most of the room, he was able to focus and do his worksheets in faster time than without the headphones.

He was visually distracted many times, and if keeping his back to the rest of us did not work, I would put up a 3-sided science display board for him to complete a worksheet. We did not use this technique often, but it was effective when he was having a tough time concentrating.

Another thing that helped him was to alternate paperwork with an activity that got him out of his chair.

We also used an exercise ball at a small table to give him something to move a little bit beneath him as he did a worksheet. (I actually use an office chair with an exercise ball in it when I am at the computer.)

If he needed to sit quietly while I was doing our daily reading, he would have a quiet activity to occupy his hands. He enjoyed cutting paper, playdough, and Legos.

Give me some techniques that have worked for you with your easily distracted child.

Today’s Zone Mission is to detail dust the ceiling fan and other areas of the Living Room.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is tacos and a salad.

Have a blessed day!
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Taking Breaks

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

                       

 

Do you take breaks during the school year? As we are approaching Easter, I encourage you to take a break from your school routine. This will help you and your children to relax a little. It will also help your children to absorb the lessons you have been teaching them.

Sometimes, we get a litte gung-ho as homeschool teachers and want to just keep pushing through the lessons. I want to caution you that this approach is hard on you and your children.

Take a week off and do some fun things! If you have some areas in your house you need to declutter, work on one at a time and have a reward each day.
Taking a week off gives you some balance in your life. It gives you and your children a chance to do some different things.

You can take that field trip you have not been able to fit in. You can break out the craft supplies that you keep meaning to get out. You can read that book that you wanted to read.

Have some fun this spring!

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your Living Room.

 

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.

My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and a salad.

Have a great day!

Zone Missions: The Living Room
Monday – Declutter flat surfaces and dust

Tuesday – Detail Dust the Ceiling Fan and Other Areas

Wednesday –  Go Sofa Diving

Thursday – Declutter something your do not need in the Living Room.

Friday – Clean under the Living Room Furniture
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Clean Under Your Bed Today

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Do you have a regular planning day? This is when you would plan your menu, plan school work for the next week, review school work, pay bills, make appointments, etc. While these are often the things you procrastinate, each of these activities is important to the smooth running of your home.

On Friday, I spent some time doing these type of “desk time” activities. Planning a menu often stumps many of us. My menu rotation is usually in these emails. I would say that we follow what I put down 95% of the time. There are days when we switch the menu around. There are times when we decide to fix something else. The main purpose of my menu plan is to help me not have to think about it every day. I just have to check my menu plan each morning for that day.

Here are some ideas I have on making menu planning easier for you:
  • Work as a team to plan the weekly menu
  • Keep it simple
  • Teach children how to make a grocery list and help with grocery shopping
  • Teach them about budgeting
  • Teach them to cook (Then you can rotate who the head chef is each day.)
Reviewing lessons and planning for the next week is also a part of my Friday morning planning time. I keep my lesson plans simple. If a book is divided into lessons, you do not have to specifically write down for them to do “Lesson XYZ.” You can just have a check off box for math. Same for spelling. For reading, you can just write down page numbers. The simpler you have it, the easier it is for you and them to implement. You want to spend more time teaching and less on writing elaborate lesson plans.

You will want to set up a regular time to pay bills based on how often you receive income. I file bills to be paid in order of date due. On Friday, I will pull the next week’s bills and schedule payments. The only checks I write are for our church tithe and our power bill.

Set aside time to check your calendar and set up appointments for yourself and your children. Do the best you can to keep the appointments from completely disrupting your school day.

If you are wondering how I do all of this on Friday morning and teach, I have always used Monday through Thursday as heavy school days for paperwork. On Friday, we do more hands on learning. They also have Friday as a buffer for anything they did not complete earlier in the week. This has worked well for us for many years. They are learning on Friday. It is just not done in a traditional way.

Today’s Zone Mission is to clean under your bed.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Setting Academic Goals for Your Children

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

As we are getting into the spring season, you might be looking at plans for your next school year. This is a great time to evaluate where you are with this school year. It is a good time to evaluate your child’s school year.

Have they progressed like you wanted them to?

If not, what area do you need to focus on next year with them?

Did you like the materials you used this year?

If not, write down some things that you would like to see in a curriculum.
You can set goals for each child. They do not all have to be academic, but by knowing some of these, you can better choose books and activities.
  • Academic Goals
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Life Skills
  • Social and/or Community/Church Service
  • Life Goals
In the spring and summer, spend time talking to your spouse, praying, and making some goals. If you have teens, talk to them about their goals and interests. You know what types of things bring your children joy. Find educational ways to make these things a part of your school.

This will help you guide their educational pursuits for the year.

Don’t buy books for the sake of buying books. Be discerning. Whoever has the most books is not necessarily the best homeschooler.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter floor of the closet and shoes.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.

Have a great day!
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Zone Cleaning for Your Children

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

As you know, we break the house down into Zones for detail cleaning. The FlyLady has also written a Student Control Journal to your children. In it, she helps them break their bedrooms down into Zones. Each day of the week, they focus on a different area of their room. By the end of the week, they will have worked their way through their room.

You can download a free copy of the Homeschool Student Control Journal for your children to build their routines, but here is an overview of how they would break their room down into Zones.
  • Monday – Wash Sheets and Make Bed; Clean Under Bed
  • Tuesday – Closet (Rotate floor, hanging clothes, shelfs, etc. each week)
  • Wednesday – Floor (Under Furniture, too.)
  • Thursday – Desk/Flat Surfaces – Declutter & Dust
  • Friday – Detail Clean Bathroom or Declutter Chair or Anything Stacked in the Room
By using this technique, you do not have to use blanket statements like this: “Go clean your room.” Instead, you can be more precise. You can ask them if they have asked their bedding and made their bed on Monday (or whatever day you choose for each person to wash their bedding.)

Think about ways that you can provide tools for your child to be successful in keeping his or her room cleaned.

Do they have a basket for dirty clothes?

Do they have a trash can?

Do they have adequate storage for their clothes?

Have you taught them how to sort laundry and wash their clothes?

There are many tools and ways of encouraging your children to take care of their rooms. Please feel free to ask any questions. This area is always a work in progress for children. It takes patience and persistence in your training.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter 1 dresser drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is a beef roast and vegetables.

Have a great day!
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Are you drowning in clothes and laundry?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
                        
How is your laundry system working? As the weather is warming up for many of us, it is time to purge clothes. Just by purging clothes, you will improve your laundry process.

Today, let’s spend 15 minutes purging clothes that do not fit or are worn out. This is something your children can do, too. Ask them to bringyou anything that does not fit, or that they do not like. Start a box for giveaway items.

Even though I do this monthly, I will usually have a bag full of things to donate when we switch seasons out.

You want to have enough clothes for several days for yourself and your children. You want to be able to contain all of your clothes in the areas designated for clothing. If you are living out of laundry baskets, you need to declutter.

In our house, each person has a dresser for folded clothes. Each person has a place for hanging clothes. When a load of laundry is washed and dried, we fold it or hang it and put it away. It is a habit that we have developed. It is not easy to break the habit of living out of baskets, but it is possible.

The first step is to have a place to put the clean clothes. If you have to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering clothes, then put that in your afternoon or evening schedule for a week or two. You can declutter the items in one drawer in less than 15 minutes. You can divide the closet up in sections and declutter 15 minutes at a time.

Resist the urge to dump everything out in the floor. If you want to dump it, then dump it into a black trash bag and donate it. I am not making light of this, but I do know the pitfalls of dealing with clothes for a large family. I am trying to keep you from living in clutter and not burning you out cleaning all the time.

If you have less stuff and fewer clothes, you will have less to maintain.

Today’s Zone Mission in the bedroom is to declutter clothes.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is tacos and a salad.

Have a blessed day!
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Homeschooling with Little Ones

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

                 

 

A couple of months ago, I wrote about homeschooling with little ones in the house. I had several questions about activity ideas, so I thought all of you might like some ideas if you have young children at home.

When we started homeschooling in 2000, my children were 10, 5, 1, and one on the way. They are currently 26, 22, 17, 15, 13, and 10. I had to learn ways to entertain and occupy my little ones, so I could homeschool the older children. It took creativity. It took a willingness on my part to let the little ones learn and explore through arts and crafts when they were big enough to do that.

The first thing to remember in messy playtime is that your children are washable. Their clothes are washable, too. It is possible to have a quiet place to do you out loud reading with all of the children in the room with you. They can color, use markers, playdough, or colored pencils while you do out loud reading and instruction to the older children.

My older children also enjoyed the creative arts and crafts, so I would also let them spend some time doing these activities while I was talking or reading to them. They could remember what I was reading to them even though they looked busy with their artwork.
So my first go-to activity became anything that involved plain paper and some sort of art medium.

I also learned to rotate toys for my younger ones. They had special toys that they got to play with during school time. This made it special for them.

Rotating where they are in the house with you also works in distracting them when they are bored of one room. Little ones have a short attention span. You can homeschool in a lot of places in your home. I would read with my children in the living room some mornings instead of at the kitchen table. Sometimes, we took school outside for a change of scenery.

Rotate who plays with them. As toddlers and preschoolers get more active, you assign older children 10 or 15 minutes of play time with the little one. This might have to be in the same room you are in for supervision sake. But it is good for bonding between siblings, and it can give you a few minutes to explain a concept to another child.
If you don’t need a nap yourself, you can use nap time for one-on-one time with older children. I did this when I had high schoolers and preschoolers. I was able to teach algebra and science concepts much easier when I did this teaching during the afternoon nap time.

Use pack ‘n plays and high chairs when needed. There are times when you need both hands to teach an older child. Put the high chair or pack and play right beside you and teach you lesson. It does not have to be for a long period of time, but it will help your little one learn to play independently.
Sit on their level when you can. This is a great technique when you have a lot of little ones. Just sit in the floor and teach your lessons and read to the children. The bigger ones can do their paperwork part of school at a table, if they like. But my little ones were usually more content to play beside me or it on my lap if I was on the floor with them.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your bedroom for 15 minutes and dust. Set your timer and ask your children to declutter in their rooms, too.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and a salad.
Have a great day!

 

Zone Missions: The Master Bedroom     
Monday – Declutter flat surfaces and dust

Tuesday – Declutter in your closet

Wednesday –  Declutter dresser drawers

Thursday – Declutter the floor of your closet and shoes

Friday – Clean under the bed
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