Back to Home School
By Jennifer Snyder
Information on getting organized for back to school is everywhere from television commercials to sale ads in the newspapers – and even billboards. But there is an entire population of students and educators who are not included in all of this hoopla: home-schoolers. Educating children at home is a lofty and very rewarding endeavor, yet a significant challenge, especially in terms of being organized.
One aspect of home schooling often overlooked is the need for definite separation between home and school. When the special boundaries are ambiguous so are the boundaries relating to time, attention, rules, and focus. For example, we are told not to eat, play, watch television or surf the net in our beds. Beds are for sleeping. So it is with homeschooling. The schoolroom and playroom absolutely must be separate spaces. Otherwise the kids are instructed to practice their arithmetic and are dreaming of Legos or Barbies instead.
A well-equipped home schoolroom should have at least one bookcase, divided by reading level, dedicated to student books only. A separate bookcase can be used for teacher copies of books and resources. Each student should have his or her own workspace with a comfortable chair and enough room to spread out as needed. A white board on the wall is not necessary but helpful, and small individual white boards for practice exercises can save tons of paper.
Ensure the room is arranged where all the desks aren't facing walls. Pair desks together in the center of the room or face all the same direction. Store supplemental supplies (like counting and sorting kits) in plastic containers of uniform size and shape (not the original packaging, please) in a cabinet or cupboard.
The teacher's space should undoubtedly model what is expected from the students. His or her desk should be tidy with a file system for keeping necessary records leading to meeting government standards and graduation. Be sure to put a pretty apple on your desk, too. Believe it or not, it will help you embrace the role change from mother/father to educator.
Finally, and probably most importantly, establish and keep a clear and predictable schedule. Establish a calendar well in advance indicating days off from school as well as daily times dedicated to schooling. Respect this schedule at all costs. Identify a list of predictable possibilities that are allowed to interfere with learning, post it in the schoolroom and follow it.
Homeschooling is not for everyone, but families who are able to do it well are far better for it. Happy homeschooling!
Have a Neat day!
Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Exerts
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