Well, since I’m a veteran homeschooling mom now (two whole years of experience. did you catch that?? TWO WHOLE YEARS.) I thought I’d share a few tips for the coming school year. After all, this is the time of year when homeschool moms start lusting after colored binders and art supplies.
From amongst the many worthy candidates of back-to-school supplies, here it is: my indispensable list of tools for a homeschooling mom:
- A planning day. I know it’s not shiny and tactile, but it is a necessity, people!!! And it can’t be in your living room. That is against the Planning Day Rules. Panera is highly recommended, but not mandatory. I do not know what I would do without my planning day. Here is the post I wrote with detailed instructions.
- Tot Trays. I absolutely love this mom’s blog with “tot” ideas. If you have a little one underfoot, entertaining this little person is essential to a successful day. It doesn’t matter how awesome your curriculum is if you have a toddler moaning and clawing at your pant legs all day long. You need a plan for the little ones! Tot trays are a great option.
- Audio books. Confession: I always felt like audio books were sort of like cheating for the homeschool mom. The easy way out or something. Since I’ve heard them recommended by all the expert homeschooling moms, I have decided I must be wrong. Audio books based on your subjects are a great way to supplement, and a must-have for quiet times, sick days, or days when your normal routine is just not working. We are using these to supplement our Story of the World history.
- Homeschooling podcasts. I can’t believe I am just discovering all these. Homeschooling can feel lonely, but quality, encouraging podcasts can make a tremendous difference in your day-to-day. I am loving all of Pam Barnhill’s.
- A Netflix account. I use this post as a resource for educational shows on Netflix. There are many more – they are constantly changing.
- Board games. Because sometimes, you just need to put the books away and play a game. Along with the traditional, my kids love Catan Junior, Moneybags, and Bananagrams.
- And finally, Kayse Pratt’s Homeschool Lesson Planner. Kayse sent me her brand-spankin new planner to review, and after printing it off, I said to her, “I feel like you were reading my mind.” There were lists I had made on random scraps of paper, lists I had thought about making, things i didn’t even know I wanted. Yet it’s not over-complicated with lots of unnecessary things.
My favorite feature is the “weekly” spread, which includes lists of all subjects as well as memory work. I also really love the “family mission statement” page with a place for your yearly goals.
It’s a printable planner, so let’s all give a collective three-second frowny-face and get that out of the way. Yes, you do have to print it. BUT BUT BUT. I have found a few things I actually like better about a printable planner.
- You can customize your pages – omit what you don’t want – so your planner is exactly what you want it to be.
- If you have mistake-anxiety like yours truly, no pressure at all!!! I love shiny new planners, but I always get so worried writing down plans!!! Plans change!!! And then what – scribbles and scratches in my new planner?? The horror!!! With the printable, pressure is off. Mess up the dates? Change your plans? JUST PRINT A NEW PAGE!!! VIOLA! Way better than using pencil or something lame like that.
For $15, I think the planner is well-worth the money. I’ve been enjoying filling in my first week in prep for the coming year!
Kayse has tons of pictures of her planner, and all the nitty-gritty included. Check it out!
Do you use a homeschool planner?
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