Preparing for the New Year with the "O" Word
The end of the semester and the beginning of the New Year signals a time that I need to do my least favorite thing (and my husband's favorite) - organize! Someone like my husband gets excited just saying the word; however, for someone like me, I have to constantly keep tabs on what needs to be organized or my life and schedule will take me by the horns. So, whichever category you fall into, here are some tips to help you organize your second semester.
Organize Your Child's Work Files
As much as we would like to keep every single piece of paper every child does, we cannot. All semester I have been keeping papers in the filing cabinet, so while we are taking a break from school to enjoy our holidays, I plan to glean through my files. I will be making a scrapbook with my favorite pictures and papers, and "File 13" will receive the rest. I also have a memories box that I keep for the bigger projects that will not fit into my scrapbooks. For older students, a notebook would work just as good as a scrapbook. I have found that in doing these things, it is easier for me to manage, monitor, remember, and enjoy the work that my children do. You will also find it refreshing to start the new semester with clean files.
Organize Your Curriculum
I plan on spending some time over our break reevaluating what is and isn't working. If there is something that failed to work for your student as well as you had hoped, the semester would be a good time to pitch it and find something new to do in its place. For me, the readers that we are using are not very interesting; so for Christmas, my sister bought my daughter some new ones that she will enjoy a lot more. I cannot wait to get to use them. Since one of the beauties of home schooling is tailoring the curriculum to things your children enjoy, why not spend a few minutes this time of year to see if your curriculum is truly reflecting those interests?
Organize Your Kids
It seems that with the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks the school area in our house has gotten depleted and disheveled. With the help of my children, I will go through their supply cart and desk to see what supplies need to be reorganized and/or replaced. If you have older children, a good New Year's activity would be letting them make a calendar to help them learn to organize some of their own activities and assignments. Teaching children how to organize their school area, time, and activities is an invaluable skill that will help them the rest of their lives.
Organize Your Schedule
Take some time to sit back and reevaluate the schedules in your house starting with your own. Are you getting in your daily Bible Study and prayer time? Is there something in your schedule that you need to drop? Add?
Then look at your school schedule. Is there something you need to re-teach? Is there a unit that your children enjoyed that you need to expand? Would it be better to start the day with reading instead math? To me it is amazing how much time I gain when I just spend a few minutes examining my schedule to see how I can maximize my time.
Hopefully these ideas will help you get reorganized and ready to tackle that spring semester. Best of luck as you handle the hardest but most rewarding job there is!
Andrea Chevalier is a worship pastor's wife and mother of two beautiful daughters. A former public school teacher, she's now focusing her gifts on educating her children and helping others to do the same. She is also a freelance author and website manager for www.educationappreciation.com.