Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Organization is key

So many of you are talented enough to just go with the flow of the school day and remain calm, cool, and collected.  I would love to be like you.  I am not that way at all.  In fact, when I'm not organized with copies ready to go, lesson check off list printed off for the kids, and my desk cleaned off......well, let's just say it isn't pretty.  I'm not...that is.

I cannot function this way.  Perhaps its because I have so much on my plate between homeschooling, full time college, American Heritage Girls, and Boy Scouts?  Probably not...I've always been this way.  Making lists checking things off.  I've even done things for the day not on the list and then written that item down just so I can check it off.  I know, I'm pathetic.

With homeschooling I struggle to juggle five different levels.  I have two that need one on one time for all their lessons and two that work independently that need one on one time for certain things and one that is almost exclusively independent.  And of course, they are all clamoring for my attention at the same time.

This year I made a very organized detailed schedule.  Listing what happens when and if mom is needed for the lesson.  Now I do answer questions or give directions as needed but the kids know that I am working with someone else and are pretty patient for a few minutes until I get to them.

One saving grace is Homeschool Tracker.  I love that I can plan out lessons for the entire year for each subject and each grade level.  Once the lessons are in, I just use the scheduler button to plan out each week and I can even include a time for the subject to be started and completed.  A lot of times, the girls are done ahead of schedule so they just move onto the next subject. No problem there.  Several times during the day, I grade their work (with the girls its usually after each subject) and mark it completed.  The program records attendence, grades, and books for me.  I have purchased a yearly plan of $60 for the online version.  I used to use the Plus program but when the computer crashes there goes your lesson plans.  I enjoy having access wherever I am at.  It also saves lesson plans for me to use for the kids that are moving up so I don't have to replan or retype or rewrite in plans.  What a blessing!  I can even type in goals if I wish.  I'll do a more in depth post on the tracker program later this week.

On the homefront, I'm canning up a storm.  I did eight quarts of spaghetti sauce, 6 quarts of chili, and 3 quarts of pickles in the past week.  I still have to do relish, salsa, and the carrots.  I've already done the green beans and the apples will be ready in the next week or so.  We still have apple butter left from last year so I'll do applesauce and some apple pie filling recipes.  I'm hoping my friend will let me have access to her pear tree which is loaded with pears and they don't plan to use.  That would be a huge blessing!  And of course, tomatoes are still coming in so I'll be doing more spaghetti sauce and chili.  I already pickled beets for Kevin.  I think they're yucky and so do the kids.  Peppers and onions are all in.  We now have 12 quarts of bread and butter pickles so I'm pretty sure we're set for the year with those.

Have a wonderful week!

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