If you are a homeschooler who participates in Classical Conversations, co-op classes you teach, or unit studies, this is the week you will use to prepare for these courses. I put this preparation ahead of other core curriculum planning (which will be next week), because other people often depend on us to be prepared in this area. Whenever I have left my co-op planning for the last minute, I have been sorry! We’re going to be organized homeschoolers and be ready well ahead of time.
#1 Set up system of organization
When outside classes or other people are involved in your studies, organization becomes even more important. Today, you will do any of the following, depending on what studies you are planning:
- Set up a meeting with other teachers in the co-op to decide sharing of responsibilities
- Set up a filing and/or material storage system
- Set up a system of review, such as for memory work
Get a date on the calendar now to meet with your fellow teachers or the summer will get away from you (I’m speaking to myself right now!). If you are using Classical Conversations, you will want to go over the Ultimate Guide to Classical Conversations resources in which I share the best organizing ideas. For other types of studies, you may want to set up a binder and/or files to organize materials. Get them labeled now so planning goes more smoothly.
No matter what kind of special study you’re involved in, you’ll want to do some research. Rather than dive in and find a hundred different experiments or field trips, look for resources that have done the planning for you. If you’re using a particular curriculum, search for it plus plans, schedule, or weekly.
# 3 Plan
Now you will take your school calendar, your research, and your organizational system and you’ll make a plan. For classes that others are involved in, your ultimate goal is to have a schedule that can be shared. I like to email and print it for participants. Keep it simple. If you want to do something elaborate, make sure you keep other days low-key. Assume that you’ll have about half the time you think you’ll have. Keep in mind the weariness and distraction and illness that tends to set in at certain times of year.
Plan the things you really want to do first and if you need more activities, either fill them in with lesser options or leave them open for the unexpected. It’s a good idea to plan lessons and keep dates flexible.
#4 Shop / List Materials
Nothing makes me crazier than getting ready to do a craft or experiment and finding out that I don’t have what I need. The way to avoid this is to purchase everything you need for your studies ahead of time and to add perishable or library materials to a list. The problem with adding the perishable and library materials to your calendar is you’ll buy that red cabbage and then you take a field trip instead of doing experiments. Keep a list of time-sensitive materials needed by week and add the “check supply shopping list” to your task list each week before running errands. Yes, I am speaking to myself again!
When you have purchased or gathered supplies that aren’t time-sensitive, put them away neatly according to what you decided in Step #1.
Won’t it be great being organized for these classes ahead of time?
Here is the July Organized Homeschool Calendar and a list of previous weeks’ challenges: