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Green Schooling

Category : Blog

If you’re like me, homeschooling means piles upon piles of “stuff” – books, supplies, worksheets, notebook paper, etc. This year, though, I’m making it a goal to green up our homeschool classroom. No more unnecessary waste.

Our green goals for this year include:

  • Creating an agenda for all the kids in Microsoft Outlook. This will save tons of  paper and printed planners.
  • Recycle paper. Instead of throwing away scrap paper, if one side is blank it will go into a recycle box to be used again.
  • Library, library, library! If the library isn’t possible, look for a Kindle version or electronic version. Paper books – while lovely (and not something I’m willing to forgo entirely) are such a waste. I’m going to try to limit our paper book purchases to children’s picture books, reference books with beautiful illustrations and gifted books.
  • Incorporating nature into our early childhood curriculum. I have been terrible about this since we moved to Texas. The growing season(s) here are so different than the midwest. The soil is so different. Everything is different. So this year I’ll make the real effort to figure this stuff out so we can have a small winter garden. Even if it’s only a container garden. I am also eager to start a worm composting farm with the littles.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – and share! I’m making a real effort to share what I have with other homeschooling families. I have SO MUCH curriculum. I am going to go through it all and sell or give away what I know I will never use. If I can stay ahead of the curve with my planning, I can reuse for science projects and art projects much more efficiently. And anything we DO print out that we won’t keep will be going straight into the recycling bin.

So I think that should get us off to a decent start as we look forward to a greener 2010-2011 school year!

The Agenda

Category : Blog

Today is our first day back in official “school mode”.  The anticipation, though, has been heavy in the air for the last two weeks since our local schools were back in session. For one child, there was dread. For another, excitement. My 2nd grader was pretty unengaged until this morning when he bounded down the stairs, book in hand, ready to throw the day into full swing before I had even opened my eyes.

This year’s focus will be on time management. This goes for my older two boys every bit as much as it goes for me. Even though I’m naturally a poor time manager, I never give up trying. And I have hope that my children will develop these skills early so they are a natural part of their repertoire and not something that feels like torture to commit to. I can already tell which child will be like me and which one won’t.

So last night, after weeks of reviewing curriculum and weeding out the options that I didn’t think would work for our family and then letting the kids have some control over the choices, we finally started putting together lessons and adding them to the boys’ agendas. It only took them about half an hour to plan for the week and I expect that time to be reduced as they become more familiar with the flow of each subject and the time commitment involved for each.

For my very organized child, the agenda will help him feel on top of his work. He can figure out the fastest way to work through it in the least amount of time. And it has prompted him to make a loose schedule for other areas of his life such as pet care and chores (including unassigned chores he has given himself!).

For my procrastinator child, the agenda will help him divide work into bite-sized pieces that don’t feel overwhelming or daunting. That way he isn’t dreading school before he even gets out of bed. He is able to have control over his time and his schedule and learn how much time is wasted in some areas that could be used more efficiently in other areas. I’m not expecting him to extend the agenda into his entire life but if he could learn to handle his time for tasks he doesn’t necessarily love, I feel confident he will at least be able to handle the demands of future jobs and college classes.

As for me? Yeah, I’m a work in progress. I have tried printed agendas, online agendas, my iPhone, etc. I have tried setting daily goals, making a loose schedule and a strict schedule. I’m not very accountable to any of them. But I won’t give up! This year, because I am juggling school for four plus a part time job, I HAVE to be better about sticking to a schedule. So I have a pretty reasonable schedule set up and although I’m only half way through our day, so far so good. Ask me in a month, though! I bet I’ll have reinvented it 100 different ways.

It’s (Not) Back To School Time!

Category : Blog

Is your family actively planning your 2009-2010 school year? Even for those who school all year long, many of us feel that annual fall pull to reorganize, reevaluate and renew our plans around this time of year.

We had such a great school year last year, all things considered. We learned a lot about our strengths and weaknesses as a family. Those lessons will undoubtedly help us this coming school year.

A few things we will do differently this year: