Classroom Set-Up: Back to Relaxed Mormon Homeschool

It is that time of year again. School teachers and Homeschool moms are very busy right now. It is time to plan for the upcoming academic year of 2017-18. It will be another new and exciting academic year for all of us. It is a very exciting time of year. It is a time to start fresh and look forward to newness and think of how things will be different this year. There is always a hope that each year will be better, easier. There is a great aspiration to have a better set-up which will make finding things easier, which will make us able to do things we do repeatedly and often, more efficiently, and which will make everyone feel in the mood to enjoy togetherness, make friends (or become closer as a family), learn and do school work.


I am well aware that public school and charter school teachers are getting ready as well as homeschool moms like me. My parents were public school teachers until they retired, and I know they were starting to prepare for the new academic year at this time. In my local school district, the first teacher contract day is in a week and a day. Generally, my mom and dad worked at least 3-4 days not on their contract, before the school year began. It is likely that this coming Monday, many Weber County School District teachers will show up at their school, unlock their classroom which has rested from teacher eyes all summer, and will sigh, stare at the walls and cabinets and wonder where they will start in setting up their classrooms.


I remember all those years helping my mom and dad set up. Even for me, as a child and as an adult, it was exciting. I loved making sure all the new pencils were sharpened, and that every desk had a name label, a spelling book, a math book, a science book, a language arts book and a social studies book, along with a new pencil, a new ruler and a new box of pencils. Now I am a homeschool mom teaching my large family of children preschool through tenth this year. I have purchased many school supplies. I have yet to purchase more needed supplies, but for the most part, I have the supplies. We have one table in the homsechool room, so I do not set books there or put name labels on for the kids. I put books and supplies in the homeschool cabinets, lined up and organized nicely, ready for what we will be studying this year.


I have switched out the science focus. Although I hired out for science, I have science books in the homeschool room for when I say that today, I want them to pick a non-fiction science, geography or history book and read it, or when, for language arts, I want them to use non-fiction books to do a research report.


When my public school teacher parents were getting ready for the new year, there was much de-junking and organizing. There wasn’t recycling. They only had garbage cans, but much went into the trash. My homeschool room has to be newly de-junked and papers filed and put away or recycled. I have one full box of school papers my mom gave me and one full blue bin of papers I put in the bin from all the years of homeschooling combined. I have to go through them. Don Aslett called it “the paper tiger” in his book about de-cluttering the office. A homeschool room is very much like an office, but we do have a separate room for the office.  It is needed for my homeschool file cabinet, homeschool workbooks I photocopy, my computer and pur 4-in-1 machine which photocopies, scans and prints. 


I am also making plans for creating more for other teachers to use in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. All of you who are reading this and who have created any tool for a teacher to use (public school teachers, charter school teachers and homeschool teachers) may wish to open a Teachers Pay Teachers store and sell the tools they have made. You can sign up here. It is free to start, (although you will make more money per item if you have a paid annual plan).


Teachers pay teachers referral link

Kayse Morris: Teachers Pay Teachers, for beginners (How to make it look good so it will 

Just make what you need for your own family or classroom 

Suggested Blogposts:

Whole House Home Ed Organization

Homeschool Dailies
LDS Homeschooling
Transgenderism and Homosexuality in Utah Schools Starting with 2017-18
Humanism is a Religion

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Springtime And Being Very Busy!

I have been so busy gardening, organizing, de-junking and cleaning the house, that I have not made a blog post in a while. This past weekend, my husband and son finished building our Shelf Reliance shelves and we loaded them up with food storage cans. I am excited about that. Lately, we have been working  lot on that. 

On Saturday, before LDS General Conference, I worked hard putting the math in its own binder. It is a red binder, so it stands out from all the white ones I have for other reasons. I went through the math checklists and evaluated, knowing full well what the kids know and don’t, where each one is in math. Then I made lesson plans. I made plans for 6 homeschool days. 

“Pirate,” by my son:

  

Right now, at 7:30 a.m., my daughter is teaching my younger boys. She uses my math checklist for the math. I love the help. One son is telling her emphatically, “I already know my numbers!” He had been stubborn, but he just now passed off an item on the math checklist without any help at all. This is big for him! I am happy. My older daughter and my older son are now enthusiastically and with dancing, teaching them. My daughter just asked me, “Mom, what does fluently mean?” We have decided the one is fluent at a certain concept. Well, it will not be long before he can do even more difficult things fluently. I am so excited.

This is something most people who homeschool understand and most who don’t, don’t: The older kids teach their siblings happily. It’s awesome! It frees me up to focus on being the leader. I am not the leader and the one who does it all. I am just the leader. I give direction and my kids help it happen. They want homeschool to work. They want mom to be happy. They enjoy teaching because it is fun. 

When it comes to teaching siblings to ride bikes, play baseball, work in the garden, cook, clean, make lunch, etcetera, they are all great! I love this about homeschooling. Sometimes, younger ones even help older ones, because maybe that is their favorite subject, or one of their favorites, so they are beyond their years in ability because they have learned so much in a certain area. For example, my son loves science. He teaches his siblings all sorts of things because he “gets it.” I am usually surprised at what he knows. It’s amazing. He has the ability to explain science concepts by jumping up and down and acting them out. It’s fun to watch him. 

My daughter is still in her pajamas but is now looking over the Montessori list of skills and asking me whether this one has learned that yet. I am so grateful for her help in keeping on top of that. I used to have to do it all myself, which after a while, meant I never got to it. It is nice to have someone who gets to it on my behalf. She will be an awesome mom someday. She will be an awesome homeschool mom someday! Whe wants to be an early childhood educator, so all of this fascinates her. It is one of the things she lives for!

My son is reading “Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. He told me that he has 2 bookmarks. He does not like going for so long with these characters before getting back to what those ones are doing. He would rather just go one chapter with these, one chapter with those, instead of 3 chapters, then 3 chapters. Fine with me! He invents stories, too, so I would not be surprised if we get an author here! He is also still in pajamas. Oh, well. I am hoping he gets dressed by 9 a.m.!

Making Space for a Better Homeschool

I can promise you, I am not the homeschool mom some people think I am. “I don’t know how you do it!” I hear. “You are so amazing that you can do that!” I hear. No, I am not amazing, and, I will tell you JUST how I do it. I take it one week and one day at a time. Some days, life turns out much like this photo below. We cleaned this up in 2 hours and these 2 rooms were spotless. Sometimes, this happens a couple times a week. Really. But we clean it up. This photo just shows you what I had to endure, in order to de-junk the storage room while being a homeschool mom, with all kids here and ready to do whatever they want all day long, while I work to clean the place to make homeschooling work more efficiently.

I am not amazing. I am only human. I cannot do more than what other mothers can do, and some days look like the photo, because of it. The good thing is, that photo is in the past. Thank goodness it is! I am hoping it never happens again. That’s silly, though, because even if THAT doesn’t, maybe the toilet will overflow again, like it did this week, because the younger kids use too much toilet paper. Who knows!? Homeschooling means I don’t have a head custodian, a cook, a janitor, and people to clean up the floor and table after school lunch, while the kids go out to recess. Homeschooling means I am the cook and the janitor and the custodian and the teacher and the one who cleans the table and floor after lunch. At least, I am in charge of it, anyway. Occasionally, I am just amazing enough, that I can get one or 2 kids to help me, which is nice. Also, I am very glad, my husband helps a lot with the housecleaning. He is the designated laundry person, and this past weekend, he washed all the dishes that have to be washed by hand, not in the dishwasher. He also helped me with all the heavy lifting of the clothing bins from the storage room I had to sort through!

Again, this photo is from last week. This occurred because I was downstairs sorting through clothes from the storage room, trying to make our house more spacious. I had decided that I need more space for my homeschool, and less clutter to clean up! Clutter and lack of space because of clutter, can really damage a homeschool. I just know that when I am finished with this, our homeschool will go much more smoothly. Here are a few reasons why:

1) I won’t have to search as much to find what I need for the next day. I’ll be able to quickly grab something from each subject, which each child needs to learn next, and place it in the “for tomorrow” file in the file cabinet, because my file cabinet is slightly more organized than it was yesterday.

2) I now have more space in the office, and the books I don’t need cluttering it up, are in the storage room now, instead of all over the office, taking up tons of space. Some of the boxes had my personal and our household books, in them. Some had school books not needed for this school year, in them. I want the office to be especially made to a) prep. for homeschool for this year only, b) help me get my graphic design stuff done efficiently, and c) help that household office tasks get done efficiently. My office is closer to its perfection, which I have in my head.

3) I was able to finally put all of those boxes of books, from the office, into the storage! Before, I wasn’t able to, because not only was there no shelf space in there, but there was so little floor space, that the bags of stuff were coming out through the doorway and into the hallway. A person had to step on the bags, hoping not to twist an ankle, to get into the storage room, even just to grab toilet paper! Now, there is a clear side aisle to walk in safely and there are 2 mostly clear aisles to the left of it, to walk down to get what we need. It’s great!

I know. You likely do not see a connection between homeschooling and the storage room. I do. My office is more spacious, and we can grab what we need faster, and without getting injured. It saves us a lot of time, day in and day out. After all, we have to get toilet paper during the school day, sometimes, and sometimes, we have to go get food. Sometimes, we have to go and quickly find the winter clothing, because it has snowed, and we have to get out, as soon as it does, and play in it! That is one of the luxuries of homeschool that we can enjoy faster and with less frustration now! Yay!

I got so much de-junking of clutter done this week, that early in the evening, I was enthused about homeschooling again. I have not felt that way for a couple weeks, at least. I printed a ton of worksheets and immediately filed them away. I am so excited to fill up the day boxes again and go at it! I love what de-junking can do! It frees up enthusiasm, time, and space!

Look at the lovely fall leaves on the bushes, and ignore the rest! Ha ha! Really, this looked lovely when it was clean 2 hours later. I even mopped the floor! It looked amazingly beautiful! It was a lot of work, though! I think homeschool moms do a lot of housework. After I get my house all de-junked and it has a lot fewer things in it, and more open space, I will work on teaching my kids to clean, and also, to not make messes like this one!

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