Several years ago, I felt like our homeschool days were chaotic. I was feeling particularly stressed and kind of desperate for direction…and, I'll admit, ready to throw in the towel, at least for a week or two.
I started asking some seasoned homeschool moms what they do to get ready for the start of every week, and they let me in on their secrets. Adding some notes of my own, I've made a quick list of some things that make my week easier, and I hope it helps someone else, too! For some of these veteran homeschool moms (and now me, as well!) the key to a an amazing homeschool week (and a restful weekend before it) is preparing for your school week the Friday before. I have been faithful to this concept for months, and I can tell you firsthand, it really works!
A few minutes of preparation every Friday ensure that I'm totally ready to go the following week.
Every Friday, after we've wrapped up our school week, I do the following:
1. Make sure all school books are in the right place so that they are easy to find on Monday.
2. Get supplies together for the next week. If you use My Father's World, the supplies needed are listed every week in the Teacher's Manual. We collect art supplies, science experiment supplies, etc. I send the kids off to sharpen their pencils and make sure the little kids have their crayons and glue sticks handy. THEN I hide them all. No, I'm not kidding. If I don't, school supplies mysteriously disappear at an alarming rate. So once everything is collected, it gets put into a box on a high shelf. This saves valuable time when we are getting started on Monday.
3. Look over your teacher's manuals and familiarize yourself with the game plan for next week. I've been caught off-guard many times by special projects when I forget to do this. Since I'm doing more of my school planning on my own, I take time on Friday to complete lesson plans for the following week.
4. Request library books for the next several weeks, if needed. My library allows us to make requests online, and that saves a lot of time and trouble. At this time in life, wrangling five kids at the library is saved for special occasions (by ‘special occasions', I mean those times that I forget what a production going to the library with 5 kids has become).
5. Check your calendar for upcoming events and make shifts in the schedule as needed.
6. Check your meal plan for next week and make sure you have everything you need for meals (or make a meal plan if you haven't already – I have lots of resources here if you need ideas!).
This quick weekly prep is done on Friday afternoon or evening instead of Saturday or Sunday. One of my favorite tips for keeping my sanity is to keep Saturday and Sunday as totally open days. We do general chores, but don't plan much out of the house besides church for those days.
You've probably heard me mention Crystal Paine's Makeover Your Mornings ecourse, and how it changed the way our household is run. Step by step, it took me through creating a simple morning routine that has made my homeschool and work-from-home days productive, as painlessly as possible (you can read more about my morning routine and how I found balance using Crystal's course), while allowing me the freedom to put the to-do's of my daily routine on hold whenever I needed to so I could focus on my family. It taught me how to stop wasting time and how to meet my goals efficiently without taking time from my priorities.
Just like Makeover Your Mornings, Makeover Your Evenings includes videos, course content, and instruction that you can complete every day in just 15 minutes. I am so excited to start this course (and to have my whole day as streamlined as my mornings, because let's face it…even though my mornings are smooth and under control, things tend to fall apart around here after dinner). This new course is the PERFECT complement to my Friday afternoons of preparation for the following week. I'm excited to figure out which steps are best to take every evening to lighten my load for the rest of the day!