Tag Archives: organization

Great List of Freebies

My friend Cindy Downes sent me this list of freebie stuff to use in our school.

We are all having to find ways to cut back or not spend money at all so I thought this would help.  I have my own list of way to save money in your school that I will post very soon.

Until then, here is this list.

Click Recession Proof your Homeschool.


Can I Homeschool & Work Too?

Guest Blogger

Texas Home School Coalition Association REVIEW © February 2008

by: Holly Williams Urbach

When I started teaching my children at home in 1993, it was rare for me to meet a home schooling mother who worked outside the home. We home educators met at our local park and commiserated on the challenges of tackling lesson plans and getting dinner on the table each night. Our husbands worked full-time, or more, to support the school lunch program, and we wives worked hard to stretch the income as far as possible. We swapped curriculum and clothes with each other, along with recipes designed to make the most use of the available items in our pantries.

Contrast the above scenario with 2007, when quite a few of my home educating friends and acquaintances work either from home or outside the home. While there are many families living on one income, increasing numbers of households are finding it more and more difficult to do so for a variety of reasons. When I counsel new home schoolers these days, many ask me if it is possible to work and homeschool.

My family and I are part of the growing trend of home educating families in which both parents are working. When we realized that I would have to begin working, my husband and I determined to continue home educating our children. We did not want to shortchange our children as a result of the difficulties we were having financially.

I am extremely fortunate to work part-time for a company that allows me flexible hours. I know of families with home-based businesses who face the same time crunch that I have working outside my home. I believe it is likely that we will find home schooling families where both parents work more common in the coming years. Whether working outside the home or from home, combining work and school is a task that requires creativity, energy, and determination.

Even with all the perks of my situation, I find it challenging to combine work and schooling.  Following are some ideas and strategies I use to manage home, school, and extra-curricular activities while holding a job.

One of the first things to do is develop a workable schedule. Obviously, a lot depends on the age and activities of your children. My four children still at home range in age from thirteen to nineteen. Since they are teenagers who require and desire a lot of sleep, I work mornings while they are still sleeping. When I arrive home around 1 p.m., they have gotten out of bed, eaten and dressed, and they are already working on independent assignments. We then have between 1:30 and 6 p.m. to complete their studies for the day. I have students who are well-rested and ready to learn.

When I worked two afternoons a week, I struggled to accomplish schoolwork in the mornings prior to leaving for work. The children were sleepy and sluggish. I was frustrated and felt that everything was rushed and seldom accomplished to my satisfaction. Our new schedule works much better for all of us. Determining your most productive work and school hours is the first step in making school and work successful.

The next thing to consider is what curriculum to use. A teacher who is also working may not have the preparation time available that she would like to have. Many employed home schooling parents find that computer or video curricula fill the need nicely for their students. I would caution parents not to use such curricula for all subjects, because students need variety and adult feedback to help them learn effectively. Others hire tutors or send their children to outside classes for some of their instruction.

At times, I have utilized outside classes and co-ops to help meet the needs of my students in science and math, freeing me to delve more deeply into history, literature, Bible, and foreign languages. These classes make my available time with my students more productive. The point is, take a deep look into your family’s needs and develop a plan that helps you not only to survive but also to thrive in your situation. Any frustration you encounter in your schedule is a natural alarm, telling you that something still needs adjusting. Pray about it and seek God’s direction on how to resolve the situation.

With the work/school schedule planned and the curriculum squared, the next big consideration is how to deal with housework, meals, and outside commitments such as Boy Scouts, 4-H, kids work, etc. My family and I take time to discuss housework issues, and the children and I divide the responsibilities between us. The great thing about this plan is that my sons are learning to launder clothes, cook, and keep house just as well as my daughter. We all pitch in to get the work done so no one has to spend a lot of time doing housework.

Meal preparation is time consuming enough for parents at home full-time, so having less time due to working outside the home can cause a lot of stress. I try to make things ahead of time over the weekend, so getting a meal on the table during the school week is easier. I use my crock pot as much as I can. I have many cookbooks that contain recipes for cooking in quantity and freezing meals ahead of time, to best utilize the time I have available.(Once a Month Cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson and Jill Bond’s Dinner’s in the Freezer are two favorites.) I also solicit my children’s help in preparing meals. I reap the benefits of more time with my children and reduced time in the kitchen. Planning and executing a menu is essential to streamlining meal preparation as well as keeping expenses down by avoiding the fast-food trap.

My daughter has a part-time job, and she and my youngest son are active in 4-H. Such additional activities are worthwhile enough to our family to factor into our schedule the time they take. We have found 4-H to be a great program for our family, because each child can participate in an area of their own interest as we take monthly trips together to the meetings.  Another great thing about 4-H is that it helps our home schooling so that we work smarter rather than harder. Finding an activity that the whole family enjoys together is a great way to manage the time spent out of the home. Each family can find activities that add enough to the family that they also justify the time taken to participate in them.

Do I long for the days when I was home all day with my children? I certainly do. I have actually started a home-based business for just that reason. Once my business replaces the income from my part-time job, I will once again be at home all day with my children. I will still face that juggling act that comes with working and homeschooling, but I think that my children and I will all have gained a greater understanding of what it means to work together as a team and of how to adapt to changing situations. In the world we face today, those will be valuable and useful abilities for all of us.

Meet Holly Urbach

The Single Most Productive Tool You Need to Stay Organized

Here is a great post by Robin Sampson.  She has hit the nail on the head once again when it comes to proper household management…it all starts with the Lord.  I only put the first part of her post here.  You will want to go to her blog to read the rest.

Robin wrote…

Do you ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? Are you always rushing? Have you ever laid awake at night worrying over whether you did everything you needed to do for the day or about what you need to do the next day? Do you feel stressed at the end of the day?

Time management and productivity skills are not just important to corporate executives. We moms have a lot of things to do and stuff to juggle. With so much to do it is easy to get overwhelmed or over stressed.

God wants us to make the most of our time (Colossians 3:23). Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. ” (Psalm 90:12) In Ephesians 5:15 Paul said, Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The single most productive tool you need to organize your time and home is a prayed over to do list.

Your list can be written in a simple notepad, a fancy planner, or kept on your computer but you need a to do list and you need to pray before you create it. You may not think something so simple could help so much, but it really can.

Once you write a to do list you feel relief. You get what you need to do organized on paper and out of your head. Then you have a reminder for later. Get it in writing, and you’ve taken the first step to getting it done.

Most people will only write an occasional to do list once they are completely overwhelmed but then return to their regular fly-by-the-seat of-their-pants no list mode until they lay awake at night overwhelmed again. Be proactive! Make and keep a daily to do list.

Read the rest here…

Tackle It Tuesday!

I decided to join the Tackle It Tuesday, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom.com.
We are moving in a month or so & I have a lot of sorting through & cleaning out.
Today object of my efforts is the closet under the stairs.  We call it our own Narnia Wardrobe.  It is a horrible place to go unlike the real Narnia.  Coats hang in the front and then there is a long narrow space behind it that was meant to be home to my seasonal decoration boxes.  But instead it has become the “I don’t know where else to put this, so I will throw it in here.” Closet.
So, that is what lies ahead of me today including school lessons with my kids, a doctor appointment with my son & taking my girls to Bible Study this evening.  Somewhere in there I need to get the towels and & sheets washed & maybe even a meal made.
Out comes the crock pot & the most capable child launder’s.  Thank goodness I have so many kids to do stuff or I would get nothing done! 
I made it.   By 4:00 I had the closet all cleaned out & the junk properly disposed of…kinda.
It was quite embarrassing what all I found.  I couldn’t figure out how all of these trash bags got into the closet.  My 14 year old son is the explanation.  Someone had given us bags and bags of clothes.  I didn’t need any of it so I was going to take them to the local donation center.  They were put into the garage until I could take them out.  When they disappeared from the garage I thought that my ever so thoughtful husband had loaded them up & taken them for me.  No, instead my son was cleaning out the garage & needed a place to put the bags so he threw them in the closet.  Ugh!  Here are so extremely embarrassing pics to prove how bad it was. 
messy closet
 Obviously,this is the “before” picture.  I told you it was bad!
clean closet
And here is the fruit of my labor!
I won’t show you the giant pile of trash bags that I’m about to load up in my van and TODAY take to the donation center.  I’m not risking my son trying to “clean” the garage again.