Now more than ever before, parents find themselves managing their children’s virtual and home-based education. Homeschooling has its advantages, but at-home learning can be challenging for both parents and students when you’re just getting started. Managing your child’s education while also working from home requires changes in schedule, routine, and lifestyle. But it absolutely can be done! If you’re one of the tens of millions of parents who are now essentially homeschooling your kids, we have some tips to help you create a healthy learning environment and keep your kids engaged.
Homeschool Organization Ideas
Homeschooling is fun, exciting, and often messy. Teaching your kids in the same space your family uses to play, work, gather, and unwind can quickly lead to disorganization and chaos. Since homeschooling for the next academic year (or at least, part of it) is the new reality, make it more manageable for you and your kids with these homeschool organization ideas. Below you’ll find the best ways to organize your kids’ school supplies, create a designated learning space, follow a daily routine, and more!
Establish A Daily Routine
Homeschooling brings a wonderful level of flexibility and spontaneity to children’s education. However, without a clear structure, it can be easy to get distracted and go off track. Consider creating and following a daily schedule. You can always adapt, but a routine will give you focus and direction each day.
Try using a personalized planner or custom wall calendar to help you plan the upcoming week every Sunday. Whether you are homeschooling or doing distanced learning, and especially in times of uncertainty, planning ahead with an organization tool will help keep you prepared, reduce stress for you and your children, and give everyone a better handle on what the week has in store. Customize organizational items with 2020 backgrounds from the Shutterfly Art Library, and virtual learning will fit right in with your home theme.
Designate A Study Area
Start simple and make it fun by helping the kids set up their desks in a designated study area — a space where they keep supplies and books. Clear a bookshelf that you already have to make room for workbooks, textbooks, art supplies, and bins. Even if your kids end up doing work at the kitchen table, it helps to keep their things organized in one space.
Once they are done with their schoolwork, have them return their materials to their designated space. You can get in on the action too by setting up workspaces with new desk accessories that making learning fun and inspire productivity!
Map Out The School Year Ahead Of Time
Map out your school year to track progress on your goals and plan out big projects. Breaking up big goals and projects into smaller steps makes them more manageable and you’re less likely to let details fall through the cracks.
Give Kids The School Gear They Need To Succeed
Set students up for success, whether they’re returning to school sooner or later, with custom organization tools that help reduce screen fatigue, help them manage stress, and make staying organized easier, more fun, and effective. Help them pick out and personalize a fun monthly planner that reflects their favorite colors, designs, and caters to how their brain works.
Create A Custom Wall Organizer
Make a bulletin board of your own that lays out the day’s class schedule, homework assignments, and reading materials. In the attached personalized folders, your students can turn in completed assignments, so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Assemble A Morning Basket
Stuff baskets with the cornerstones of a successful school day — books, worksheets, art materials, and extracurricular activities — and set it down at the breakfast table each morning. This gives kids a sneak peek at what’s to come, so they can get excited about the day ahead
Color Coordinate Each Subject
Designate a color for each school subject, and then fill colored bins with the appropriate papers, books, and supplies. Keep a record of all your kid’s handiwork by storing essays, tests, and artwork in color-coded custom binders. Since your kids may not have their own desks to store their supplies, plastic bins are great alternatives to hold their pens, pencils, calculators, and other must-haves. Label it with their name, so they don’t mix it up with their other siblings.
Tips For Successful Homeschooling
If you’re wondering how to make homeschooling successful, know that it takes trying a lot of different things until you find out what makes your lifestyle manageable for the whole family. With so many changes and emotions at play, you can expect things to be a little rough at home for a time. If you don’t have your routine perfected on Day 1, don’t treat yourself too harshly. Get inspired with our tips below to give yourself and your kids space and grace to adjust to your new lifestyle.
Set Learning Goals Together
Homeschooling gives your child the opportunity to direct and customize their education. Goals are an important part of that process. Setting measurable goals gives students and teachers alike something to work toward. They are even more effective in motivating us when we set them ourselves. Work with your child to set learning goals broken down by year, semester, and month. Let them provide input into both what the goal should be and how big the target is.
Replace Recess With Hobbies
This is a good time for kids to pursue interests outside the traditional learning classroom setting and build hobbies that they did not have time for in the past. It could be cooking, building in Minecraft, or drawing. Bonus: If it’s something they’re truly interested in, you won’t have to bug them to do it. Here are more extracurricular ideas you can easily incorporate into your homeschooling:
- Play board games and finish photo puzzles
- Be a tourist in your own town
- Learn household management skills like laundry or simple budgeting
- Write greeting cards to teachers, family, and friends
- Go to the farmer’s market
- Make crafts and motivational wall art
- Take a family hike
- Go to the library
Provide A Positive Incentive
Homeschooling shouldn’t feel like a punishment. So use the first day of school to establish it as not just a time for learning but for fun and exciting payoffs, too. Tell your kids that they can earn something desirable — like more screen time, new toys, or a later bedtime — for completing high-quality work with a good attitude. This creates motivated kids and happy parents.
Kids grow up far too fast, so creating a custom school photo book to capture how they learn and develop throughout the years is an invaluable investment. Capture the first day of homeschooling with photos to make the day feel special and savor all your sweet memories in custom photo books. When they get older, you can show them how much they’ve grown.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
The beauty of homeschooling truly does lie in the ability to make your own schedule and work at your own pace. If you or your child are having a bad day and frustrations are high, take a break. It’s more than okay to revisit lessons and schoolwork when you and your child are in a better mood to teach and learn.
How To Homeschool And Work From Home
Keeping your kids entertained and up-to-date on their schoolwork — all while working from home is hard. The key to being successful at both is being flexible and open-minded. If you’re a parent facing the prospect of keeping up with your job and homeschooling at the same time, here’s are some tips about making it work.
1. Ease Into the School Day
Don’t be afraid to start off the day with play or quiet time. Part of the joy of homeschooling is the ability to move at a slower pace. Have some coffee in your favorite photo mug while your child plays or watches a favorite show, and you’ll both be in a better mood when your school day begins.
2. Make A Checklist Instead Of A Schedule
If you are the type of person who thrives on a schedule, by all means, make one for your school day. But if the thought of trying to stay on schedule while managing the rest of your home stresses you out, try using a checklist instead. Simply make a daily (or weekly) list of material that will be covered, and cross it off as you go. Using a checklist gives you more freedom in deciding how each day plays out and allows for more breaks and interruptions.
3. Set Boundaries
Be clear about when you are working and not working and give them tools to use when they must wait for your attention. Despite what you might believe, your children do not need full access to you at all hours of the day. Set a block of time each day for everyone in your household to practice quiet time. This provides a needed break for everyone and allows you to rest or focus solely on your own tasks.
4. Embrace A Relaxed Homeschooling Style
Roll with whatever each day might bring. Time often feels short when you’re working and homeschooling. If things don’t go the way you planned, make the most of what you are able to accomplish and pick up any dropped threads the following day.
5. Collaborate With Other Homeschoolers
Connect with other homeschoolers in your area or online to collaborate and share resources. This will not only make the schooling process easier on you, but it will also enrich your child’s experience and expand their educational opportunities in and out of your home. Negotiate swaps and playdates with other parents to help create some kid-free time each week that you can use for long stretches of focused work.
Like anything, homeschooling can be challenging, but with a little practice, you’ll learn to trust yourself and discover kids truly are always learning and gaining new skills. Keep up with the basics, read a lot, and spend a lot of time outside if you can. We’re all doing the best we can in unusually difficult circumstances — and that’s going to be good enough.
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