Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by Mrs. Pursuits about how to spring clean your homeschool. Check out her bio below and enjoy reading! Also make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool” under Blog in the menu.
6 Easy Steps To Spring Cleaning Your Homeschool This Year
Written by Amber Moore | May 1, 2018
My names Amber (aka Mrs Pursuits) and I am a homeschooling mum of two young boys. As the owner and author of OneHundredandOnePursuits.com I am passionate about lifelong education. I endeavour to share with you our families homeschool journey, what’s working, what’s not and everything in between. I built our website to serve as inspiration, support and guidance to other homeschooling parents, those who are undecided about home education and anyone else who is trying to cultivate a love of learning in their home environment. During this series I will be encouraging you to tackle Spring cleaning your homeschool and to take your homeschool into the great outdoors this season to observe nature’s finest wonders and boost your families educational growth just like Mary, Dicken and Collin do in ‘The Secret Garden’ By Frances Burnett.
With Spring in full swing all of nature’s beautiful creatures are busy connecting with one another, building and perfecting their nests or homes and helping set the foundations for their families to grow and flourish. We humans seem to be in on this action too. It’s during this time of the year where many of us set to cleaning, minimizing and organizing the possessions in our homes. For those of us who educate our children at home too, this is the perfect opportunity to clean up and plan our homeschool for the year ahead.
If you are anything like me, when it comes to spring cleaning the biggest challenge is knowing where to start and how to keep yourself from getting sidetracked. So this year I’ve decided to put together a simple step by step guide to help us all navigate the spring cleaning of our homeschools this year.
Step 1: The List
Before you begin taking any physical action sit down and put pen to paper (maybe with a coffee too). Start by nothing all the things that have been working well this year and over the past few months and those things that haven’t really worked at all. Then set aside a page for each child to brainstorm – firstly about how far they have come in the past year and where you would like them to be at the end of next year. What do they enjoy learning? What do they need more help with? Are you planing to follow a package curriculum, plan your own curriculum, go with the flow or unschool then completely?
Whichever you choose is fine but it’s important that you know what it is your roughly aiming for so that you can organise what you will need to follow through. Of course plans are always subject to change.
Step 2: One to One Time
Sit down with each of your children and ask them what their learning goals are for this year. What have they enjoyed? What haven’t they enjoyed? How do they feel they learn best? What would they like to learn next year? What do they expect or need from you to help them achieve that?
Even if your dealing with a young core phase or preschool child still take the time to stop and ask for their input. You may be surprised at what they come out with. Following the Thomas Jefferson Education model a lot we regularly hold weekly one to ones with little M and his input has been extremely eye opening on occasions. Once he even stated “I just need more cuddles,” it was totally not related to learning but it certainly taught me something. That even the smallest minds know their greatest needs.
Make sure you include the other adults and caregivers in the family too. Ask for their opinions on each child and figure out together how you wish to proceed this year. What your roles are as parents, educators and mentors.
Step 3: Create Personal Plans For each Child
Take all this information and figure out how it will shape each child’s pursuit of education for the year. Keep it simple and broad. For example you might write. “This year Gemma really wants to learn calligraphy and needs more focus on world geography. Tom wants to learn more about architecture design and will need to improve his skills in geometry to help him achieve this.”
These general guidelines might change throughout the year but it’s going to help massively in figuring out what you need to keep, get rid of or acquire.
Step 4: Hit The Cupboards
Gather all your school supplies into one big pile. Books, papers, pens, craft supplies, whiteboards , globes, maps etc. Use the lists from steps 1-3 and information you’ve compiled to help you decide what stays, what goes and what needs restocking or replacing. Get rid of those empty paints, broken crayons, ripped posters or unused workbooks (unless you plan to use them this year). Old unloved curriculums? Put them out online for free, to swap or to sell. Games with missing pieces? See if you can make your own pieces, get replacements or get rid of the game completely.
Step 5: Shopping Time
Note what you are left with and compile another list of all the supplies you will need this year. Don’t go overboard you can always add to it later. If you know you need certain books head to the library or book shop and pick them out. If you need more paints, playdough, paper, folders or notebooks head down to town and hunt them down. Make sure the essentials are all there and the rest you can get as and when you need it.
Step 6: Organize The Storage
Once you’ve got everything you need all that remains is to figure out where you are going to store it all. I highly recommend keeping the majority of educational materials in one place. It makes it much easier to keep organised and everyone knows where their things belong. Of course this isn’t always practical or might not fit your family so wherever you decide to store or keep your homeschool stuff make sure individual item has its own designated storage spot to reduce the amount of time spent looking for things and so all the children know where to return things too helping you all to keep the house tidy all year round (in theory anyway). For more on how to organise your possessions why not check out Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
So there you have it 6 easy to follow steps to keep your homeschool spring cleaning on track this season.
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Do you have more tips for Spring Cleaning your Homeschool? Share in the comments below!