This is the third post in my series on the topic of what to do with all your homeschool books and supplies once the academic year has ended. Here's a recap of the first two posts:
~ Sort Books As You Finish Them
~ Update Your Older Student's Transcripts Right Away
~ Make a List of Books You Have and Books You Want/Need
~ Shop the Spring & Summer Sales and Conventions
~ Choose to Honestly Evaluate Your Math And Science Programs NOW!
~ Get Rid of the "Junk"
The Fourth of July has come and gone, 100 degree temps are the norm, central air is my very best friend - yes indeed, summer is in full swing! It's the time of year when I get to enjoy relaxing days with my family and don't spend too much time working on homeschool "stuff". While it's nice to enjoy the downtime with my family, it can also be a little bit risky. I am perfectly able to enjoy my summer so thoroughly that I neglect planning for the upcoming school year. Since this fall marks the beginning of my 14th year as a homeschooling mother, I've learned how to make the most of my summer and get ready for what's just around the corner!
Here are 3 more tips that will (hopefully) help you enjoy these lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer and make your homeschool preparations a breeze!
~ Clean & Organize Your Homeschool Bookshelves
Okay, this probably sounds redundant; you may be thinking "I already did that when I got rid of the 'junk!" But tossing the dried out markers and the notebook that's 97% used up really isn't the same as cleaning and organizing your homeschool bookcase. I'm not talking about a quick tidy here. I'm talking about removing every single book from the shelves, cleaning each shelf thoroughly, checking each book for bent pages, pencil markings that need to be erased, taping torn pages, putting Cd's back in their cases, emptying pencil sharpeners, etc. Once everything has been cleaned and repaired, then and only then you can begin to put books back on the shelves. If you take the time to clean the shelves and check the status of all the books and supplies that were stored on said shelves, you are much less likely to throw any and every book you come across back on those shelves. Only put the books you are 100% certain will be used in the coming school year. And while you're at it, put them away by subject (one shelf for Bible, one for math, one for Language Arts, etc.)
~ Make a Place for Homeschool Books You Want to Use Next Year
Once again, I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, "Huh? I thought we just put organize all our books in our bookcase? Why would I do that if I still need to make a place for them?" No, I haven't spent too much time in the sun. The only books you should have put on your bookshelf are the ones you are 100% certain you will use next year. Not HOPE to use, not DREAM about using, but know with total certainty you WILL use. Those are the only books that belong on your day-to-day homeschool bookshelf, along with all your supplies. Books that you hope to use next year, books you want your kids to read in addition to their daily assignments, books you have been hoping to get to the last few years - those are the books that belong on the "WANT TO USE" bookshelf. You may be thinking, "That won't work for me. I'll never get around to using those books if I put them on a shelf where I can't see them every day." But I can tell you from honest experience, having learned by trial and error, this method works pretty well. By keeping my primary homeschool bookcase tidy and relatively uncluttered, containing only the books I know I will be using, I am able to focus on my kid's schoolwork without feeling guilty about those books I really want to use by simply don't have time to use. And each time we finish one book, I put it in it's spot on one of the other bookshelves (in our basement). Then I choose which of the "WANT TO USE" books from that bookcase and put it on the WILL use bookcase. Using this method, I have found I accomplish far more than I ever did when I kept all my "WANT TO USE" books side by side with my WILL use books.
** As an aside, if you are a member of the TOS Crew and would like to know how I organize the products I receive for review purposes feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP :)
~ Plan Ahead In More Ways Than One
Every homeschool mom knows there is more than meets the eye when it comes to a managing a successful homeschool. Here are some things I do during the summer that make the coming school year run like a well-oiled machine. This is a good time to freeze meals; make a double portion, serve one for dinner and put the other in the freezer. By doing this once a week during my summer break, I can have 12 meals prepared for the coming school year. I also try and stock up on things we use everyday, like toilet paper and laundry soap. This is a benefit to my homeschool by preventing last minute trips to the store that cause me to "rush" through school subjects, and is a benefit to our bank account as we rarely leave the store with just the one or two items we needed. I comb through the upcoming year's science books and keep a list of needed supplies in my purse - by adding an item or two each time I shop over the summer I ensure that I'll have on hand everything we need to complete the experiments. One of the best tips I can share would be to start using next year's planner over the summer. Take note of important appointments, take notes about curriculum choices and books to help you on your homeschool journey, keep your daily calendar with your planner to help you make the best use of your time as you choose to use your time in ways that bless your homeschool efforts - my planner is one of my "closest friends" during the homeschool year. If I use it to my advantage, it contains a thorough record of all our school work for the year, holds a plethora of family memories, and keeps me focused on God's will for our homeschool. Each summer I spend time praying that the Lord would lead me to several Bible verses that will be my focus for the coming year. By writing them in the front of my planner, and reading over them over the summer and all throughout the year, I have been blessed beyond measure year after year. And I can tell you that He who has promised is faithful, and all the Lord's promises prove true.
Enjoy your summer, start planning for this fall, and seek the Lord's will for your home and family.
Day 100 done :)
Jan L. Burt