Confessions of a Homeschool Mom
- Tuesday, July 01, 2003
I'm a super-organized-homeschool-mom-whose-got-it-all-together!
Aside from the question of "how I do it all," I often hear moms lamenting that they aren't sure they can homeschool because they aren't super organized and they don't have it all together. Somehow they assume - incorrectly - that I am super organized and have it all together.
I have made every attempt possible for other moms to be encouraged by my lack of organizational skills. I've stopped myself short of installing a webcam in my living room so people can see who I really am. On my broadcast on www.thepathhome.com I've tried to be real by telling about days that I feel like a complete failure, or struggling with children, breaking pencils over math problems, and having grape juice spills at just the moment which causes me to temporarily lose all sanity.
Yet people still think I'm organized. Let me risk my reputation, because I really don't want anyone thinking I'm anything that I am not, although it would be nice if simply because people thought I was organized, I could become organized.
Allow me to share some organizational tips which have helped this organizationally-challenged mom with hardly any closet space - to at least appear to the outside world - to be organized.
One tip I heard about was having 26 clear boxes labeled A to Z. I decided I didn't actually need 26 boxes, so I bought 13 at $1 each from the dollar store. I labeled them with two letters per box. I thought these would work great to help the kids learn beginning sounds of letters, too. Whenever I would come upon one of those items that I figured one day I could use for something, I would look at it, determine its first letter, then promptly deposit it into the appropriate box. What does giant paper clip start with? Some items were a challenge.
But if I needed to find that giant paper clip, all I needed to do was look in three possible boxes: G, P or C. One problem that occurred, though, was where to place the 13 boxes of basically non-essential items that I may one day want to locate. I chose the game closet. Unfortunately the game closet was filled with games.
As I stared into the closet I had the brilliant idea of removing all the silly boxes that games come in. Most of them had broken seams anyway. I took out pieces, placed them in zipper baggies, included the instructions, and wrote the name on the bag. Then I put all the boards together in one place. The boards and zipper bags took up a lot less room than the boxes. Unfortunately I wasn't quite sure how to store the 50 bags. I decided to alphabetize them as well. I got two crates, labeling one "A-K," and the other "L-Z." I then put the appropriate bag of game pieces into the right crate.
After only four hours, I now had an organized game closet. Now if I could just keep the kids out of the game closet!
One of my greatest treasure troves was my library. I dreamed of the Dewey decimal system at night. I opted instead for a subject system of organization. I'm the kind of organizer who must undo everything in order to make it the way I want it to be. In my library that meant I had to take every book off the shelves. Just try navigating 3,000 books on the floor while organizing the library!
After a couple of days, I had everything set up exactly like I wanted it, or at least it was somewhat functional. I still had the goal of putting all the books in a database by subject, author, time period, age of interest, time it takes to read the book aloud, time it takes for a 10-year-old boy to read it, and a variety of other criteria. Needless to say, I have yet to establish a library database.
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