Whether you school year round and take sporadic breaks or break for the traditional summer, a school break is a good time to regroup and get organized for the coming school season. When you take time during the break to make sure you are organized and ready, you can begin your next session of homeschooling with a strong start. Here are five of the things I like to do to get organized during our homeschool breaks.
Five Tips for Organizing Your Homeschool During a School Break
Plan the next quarter.
I plan by quarters. When we take a break, I sit down and look at plans for the next quarter. If we are breaking in the middle of the quarter, and I know we have another break before the end, I may begin planning and leave some for the next break. If you use a different schedule instead of quarterly planning, use your break times to look ahead at whatever your next session is.
Check off what curriculum you’ll be using. Are there changes to make? Do you need to add any new courses? Decide on extracurricular activities. Are you keeping the current activities the kids are doing? Do you need to drop any activities because you’re too busy? Are you adding any activities for the new season? Write out lesson plans. Whether you use an online program or a printed lesson planning guide, write out plans for the next season. (I write less detailed, overview plans now; and then I write specific plans weekly or biweekly.)
Clean out the books.
In my house- and in many other homeschool homes- space is at a premium. I have nine book shelves, but it seems I’m always running out of room for more books. During our breaks, I like to clean out homeschool curricula and other books I’m not using. Although I have a hard time giving them away, I do pass some on to other homeschoolers and sell some to make a little cash to purchase the next season’s books.
Clean out kids’ materials.
We use a bookshelf with a shelf for each child to organize books that are currently being used. Kids also store school materials they use frequently at their desk or table where they work. During our break times I have them clean out this material.
We put materials to keep in binders. Because we do lots of notebooking types of activities, these binders have been kept throughout the school year. But sometimes pages are left out or neglected. So we catch up with putting them in the proper places. We also throw away trash. Somehow trash just seems to collect in all spaces where we work. Any books that aren’t currently being used, we sort and store in the appropriate places.
Pull books and materials we need for the coming season of school.
We use a literature based curriculum. That means that, instead of textbooks, we often need a variety of fiction and nonfiction books as we go along. During our break times, I make sure that we have the books we are going to need. I can pull them from our shelves or place them on hold at the library or purchase them if I need to. I keep a large plastic box in our school room filled with the books we are currently using.
Tweak the schedule.
Whether you are a detailed schedule person or a flexible schedule person, it helps to have some sort of schedule or routine to your day. I like to be flexible with our schedule, and it often changes throughout the months and years as our activities change and the kids get older and school requirements change. Taking time during the break to evaluate and tweak our schedule means we’ll start out the next session with routines that will work to keep us focused and on track but won’t frustrate us because they’re impossible to keep.
I know that the word “organization” makes some people cringe. But if you can take some time to do a little organizing with each school break, it’s a manageable task that will pay off when you’re starting your next school session.