Category Archives for "Back to School"

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! You'll be doing a happy dance after reading this!

How to Organize Your Kids School Papers (for Good!)

welcome

Do you have stacks of adorable kids artwork piling up everywhere?

You know, stacks of priceless treasures from your kids that you want to keep (but have no idea what to do with)?!

What if I told you that you could get rid of those stacks (and all the guilt that goes with them) forever?

What if I could show you a way to neatly and easy keep kids school papers organized now (without the crazy piles) and preserved for years to come (in one central place)?

Hundreds of moms love this method for organizing kids school papers… and I know you’re going to love it too!

(happy dance!)

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! Hundreds of moms are loving this amazing method to organize school papers... and you'll be doing a happy dance once you start using this method too!

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! You'll be doing a happy dance after reading this!

This simple system–known as the My Memory Box: Kids School Paper Organizing System–is easy to set up and basically runs itself once it’s in place.

Why is the My Memory Box system so effective?

  • One easily organized, central location for ALL your children’s artwork
  • One file folder for each child’s school year from Toddler to 12th grade
  • Record fun facts about your child at that age (favorite book, activities, friends–even their signature!) on the front of each year’s folderCLOSE-UP-OF-TAG
  • Easily store small memorabilia (awards, ribbons, memory books) all in one place with artwork and papers
  • Papers are organized as they come into your house (no more piles!)
  • No big pile of papers to sort at the end of the year!
  • No more losing awards, artwork or other special papers
  • Create a customized precious keepsake for your child’s entire school experience
  • Once it’s assembled, it’s done! No need to make a new binder or scrapbook each year! Easy peasy!

And the best part? I’ve done all the work for you!

Ok… well… most of the work. 🙂 All that’s left for you to do is to download the printable, print off the papers, and cut and assemble.

Ready to get started?

Here’s where you can purchase and download your My Memory Box files.

My-Memory-System-Kids-School-Paper-Organizing-System-Main-Image

 

2-BUY-NOW-AND-GET-ORGANIZED

 

Still not sure? No worries… let me tell you more about how it works (and how I–and hundreds of other moms like you–now have freedom from the paper stacks and the guilt)!

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! You'll be doing a happy dance after reading this!
Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! You'll be doing a happy dance after reading this!

My Story About My Paper Stack (I Know You Can Relate!)

Just so you know I’ve been there, I have to share my story.

For months a mounting pile of papers (which I’d dubbed “The Stack”) had not only taken over part of my schoolroom desk, but had spread across the floor.

The worst part about The Stack wasn’t the mess itself. Oh no.

The part I hated about him the most? The Stack mocked me. 

The Stack reminded me of all the cute adorable papers sitting there (papers from my kids that I placed there).

He reminded me that those papers were priceless and that I should be doing something with them (oooh… mom guilt!).


organize kids school papers

And THEN, he laughed at me because he knew that I had no idea what to do with them all.

(Mom guilt and guilt from being unorganized! He was relentless!)

But one day, I took a long look at him and realized that, really, all I needed was one great plan to kick him out of our home for good.

And that plan became the method I’m sharing about here–the highly popular My Memory Box: Kids School Paper Organizing System!

My Memory System Kids School Paper Organizing System Main Image_edited-1

2-BUY-NOW-AND-GET-ORGANIZED

I want you to see for yourself the power of the “My Memory Box” plan that finally brought order to the school paper chaos!

Get a sneak peek of what “My Memory Box” looks like inside! Just click next!

next-button

You’ll love these innovative, fresh (and dare I say, cool?) back to school items that will give your kids the right tools and much needed confidence to start this school year off on the right foot! There's everything from helpful electronic gadgets to fast healthy snacks to awesome ways to showcase your child's individual style here! Which one would best encourage your child this school year?

9 Back to School Must-Haves that Boost Kids’ Confidence

Every year, back to school equals a sort of rebirth–a chance to redefine oneself with new clothes, new books and all that must-have back to school gear.

My first day of 7th grade was no exception. It was 1986, and I remember walking into my first day of junior high sporting a brand new backpack and Guess jeans (and a Guess jean jacket–my mom totally splurged!) while listening to Michael Jackson on my new Sony Walkman.

Every year my mom had good, practical reasons for new back to school gear. In 1986, I probably got a new backpack because my old one from the previous year had a hole in it.

But that year my mom also realized that back to school gear could provide something else for her insecure and brace-faced eleven-year-old daughter: much needed confidence.

And she was right.

It sounds silly, but with my hair perfectly poufed in my banana clip, Michael playing in my headphones and that long-wished-for jean jacket on my back, I felt an assurance that, yes, could do this junior high thing. I was OK. I was going to make it.

I’m grateful that my mom understood that, especially that year (it was a tough one).

You’ll love these innovative, fresh (and dare I say, cool?) back to school items that will give your kids the right tools and much needed confidence to start this school year off on the right foot! There's everything from helpful electronic gadgets to fast healthy snacks to awesome ways to showcase your child's individual style here! Which one would best encourage your child this school year?

Now as an adult, I know that ultimately my confidence doesn’t come in “stuff.”

But I also know that having the right gear can give anyone a much-needed inner boost that’s essential to a great start.

As parents, we want to set our kids up for success with essential school gear that strengthens their learning; and school supplies that give them the confidence they need to face the challenges of a new school year.

And that’s why I’m so excited to share these amazing 9 products with you!

These are innovative, fresh (and dare I say, cool?) back to school items that will give your kids the right tools and much needed confidence to start this school year off on the right foot!

There’s everything from helpful electronic gadgets to fast healthy snacks to awesome ways to showcase your child’s individual style here!

I can’t wait to show them to you! Here we go!

 

bentology-700-x-400-image

1) Pack the Perfect Lunch with Whimsical and Well-Designed Bento Boxes from Bentology

When I was kid, a lunch box was literally that–a flimsy metal box with a cheesy cartoon character on the side (mine was Wonder Woman, thank you very much).

Wow, how times have changed! These lunch boxes from Bentology are not only incredibly functional but equally adorable and will be the envy of the playground!

Designed around the single-portion Bento container concept common in Japan, Bentology’s insulated, durable lunch boxes encourage healthy eating and portion control. Kids can easily pack their own lunch and snack by simply filling up the different containers.

I love how there’s no need for plastic bag waste because the containers can be simply washed and re-used the next day! And colorful patterned ice packs (that match the bags themselves!) keep everything cold and fresh. The Bento Box Kits even include a perfectly proportioned fork and knife that fit neatly inside the box, and a plastic bottle that can be conveniently stashed in the side pocket.

To top it off, Bentology’s bento boxes, lunch boxes, ice packs and bento accessories contain NO phthalates, BPA, PVC or lead, and are made in the USA. Score!

Even if you homeschool and your kids are with you during lunch time, these Bentology lunch boxes are incredibly handy (field trips, anyone?).

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

speck-photo-montage

2) Carry Everything in Fun and Functional Backpacks from speck

It all starts with the backpack, right? And these sturdy and brightly colored backpacks from speck offer both practical and fashionable school supply storage perfect for tech-savvy kids.

I love that every item has a place in these backpacks! The two main compartments offer plenty of open space for books and notepads, while the padded laptop sleeve and interior/exterior pockets throughout are designed specifically for kids who carry a lot of tech (and for parents who want their kids to protect all that tech).

Speck has a solid reputation as an award-winning electronic protective case manufacturer, and they bring that same passion for protection to these very sturdy backpacks that are designed to carry and protect most 15-inch laptops, a tablet, phone or digital music player, camera, and headphones.

Kids will love the different styles and colors speck offers (everything from standard black to fun shades like Peacock Blue and Gecko Green). And moms will love the 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee, a 3 year warranty and free shipping/returns on US orders!

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

Kanex-photo

3) Keep Kids Connected with the EasySync iPad Keyboard from Kanex

Speaking of tech, older kids will love this portable bluetooth keyboard from Kanex that allows them to type on their iPad, iPhone, laptop and other electronic devices all in one place! This is incredibly convenient for those times when kids need to work on multiple electronic devices at once.

Transitioning between devices is simple too. Kids just need to simply sync the new device to switch the keyboard over!

The travel keyboard has full-sized keys and also contains a magnetized cover that holds devices with up to a 9″ screen in place, making it perfect for taking notes quickly in class (no more excuses!).

Plus a built-in rechargeable battery lasts 2 months on a single charge, so kids can easily stay connected wherever their day takes them. Yes!

What kid wouldn’t want to sport a cool keyboard like this?! (Your child may have to hide this from his other tech-savvy siblings… or his parents!)

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

crispy-green-photo-montage

4) Fuel Growing Bodies with Healthy Snacks from Crispy Green

A healthy lunch can make a huge impact on the quality of a child’s day, right? I know if I give my kiddos junk food or other sugary snacks they will tend to be unfocused and emotional, and everyone will have a tougher day.

But let’s face it–some healthy snacks aren’t easy for kids to transport. That’s why I love these freeze-dried fruit snacks from Crispy Green. Kids can easily grab a quick snack for recess or after school practice and you can know they’re feeding their bodies with healthy nutrients!

I love that these tasty Crispy Green are literally 100% fruit (nothing else!) without any additives or preservatives. Crispy Fruit is available in Crispy Green–Apple, Mango, Asian Pear, Banana, Cantaloupe, Pineapple (my favorite!) and Tangerine–and are a fantastic way to get kids to eat healthy on the go.

All Crispy Fruit flavors are available in a convenient “Grab & Go” 6-pack – six single-serving bags or individual, single-serving bags that provide approximately one serving of fruit and 55 calories or less per bag. Crispy Fruit is available online and in select US retailers (go here to get a free coupon too!)

And if you’re stumped on other nutritious-yet-delicious food ideas for your kids, check out PowerYourLunchbox.com! Crispy Green is part of this campaign to help parents discover healthy lunch options for their kids, and the PowerYourLunchbox.com site is packed with lunchbox menu ideas and recipes even the pickiest eaters will love!

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

LMM-spinorama-700x400

5) Encourage Your Daughter’s Fun, Vibrant Spirit with LittleMissMatched

My nine-year-old daughter has a bright and cheerful spirit, and I love helping her express her unique fashion sense through fun girls clothing! (Do you have a tween daughter like that too?)

LittleMissMatched offers so many must-have zany-yet-adorable clothes and accessories that are perfect for girls who love to express their individuality!

My daughter will be proudly sporting many of their adorable t-shirts and highly-popular mismatched socks (see the photo) this fall for back to school. In fact, so many little girls complimented her on her LittleMissMatched socks when she wore them for the first time a few days ago to theater practice!

I almost wish we lived where it rained a ton because accessories like these Hi Bye Ponchos and Black Zany Rain Boots are too cute for words!

And as a mom on a budget, I appreciate that LittleMissMatched’s clothes are affordable too, especially when the sales hit (psst… I just grabbed some back to school clothes and accessories that were BOGO or up to 70% off–yowsa!!).

Let’s help our daughters start the year off right by encouraging them to wear cheerful clothes that bring out that joyful and unique girl spirit!

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

kidpik-photo-for-post

6) Get (Adorable!) Custom-Styled Girls Clothes Delivered to Your Door with kidpik

What if you could hire a New York designer to pick out your daughter’s back to school clothes for you (guaranteed to be outfits that you know she’ll love)?

And then, what if you could have those clothes sent straight to your home (no more dragging your whole brood from store to store at the mall)?

Yep… in a nutshell, that’s what kidpik is like.

Kidpik combines the luxury of personal styling with the convenience of home delivery. Clothes are designed exclusively for girls and tailored to your budget (around $75-85 a box). Each box contains around 7 high-quality items–tops, bottoms, dresses, layering pieces, shoes, and accessories–designed to create multiple mix and match outfits!

The coolest part? Each kidpik box is designed to your daughter’s design style! Talk about a confidence booster!

Whether she’s Girly Glam, Classic Chic, Modest, Sporty (or somewhere in between), kidpik’s interactive online style quiz identifies your daughter’s unique style and allows kidpik to hand-pick her custom box contents.

Don’t like the box contents? Simply return what you don’t like and keep the rest. Kidpik offers free shipping, free returns, no membership fees and no monthly commitments. Seriously, it’s that easy.

In the end, your daughter gets an amazing set of gorgeous clothes and accessories (that make her feel great!) delivered to your door. And, moms, we get to cross off one more thing on our to-do list. Win-win!

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

 

soulkix-image

7) Step Out in Unique Style with Custom Shoes from SoulKix

Kids love to express their individuality in all kinds of ways… and with SoulKix, kids can share about their passions through their own custom shoes!

Each of SoulKix’s slip-on canvas shoes are custom made and come in both kids and adult sizes.

Kids can make a statement with any of the SoulKix in-house shoe designs (a few are shown above–my boys dig the “bones” design in the top left), or design their own online on SoulKix’s site!

If your son enjoys skateboarding, how about a black and white photo on his shoes of him doing an awesome in-air trick?

Or if your daughter is crazy about a certain sports team (perhaps even a team she plays on!), SoulKix can put the team logo or mascot on her shoes!

Best of all, for every pair of shoes sold, SoulKix donates a pair to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that has donated more that 26 million shoes to those in need worldwide.

What a fun way for kids to show their unique, individual style for back to school (and make a difference)!

LEARN-MORE-

 

700-x-400-minted-image-updated

8) Make a Mark with Custom Notebooks, Stationary and Labels from Minted.com

For kids, there’s just something special about having a journal (I remember treasuring mine as a young girl!). It’s a safe place for them to express their thoughts and share their fears.

And if you ask any journal-lover, the journal cover’s style expresses so much about that journal’s contents. How awesome would it be for kids to have a custom journal with their name or picture on the front (I would have loved that as a kid!)?

Minted.com lets kids design their journal cover, choose the interior pages (everything from lined pages to monthly planners) and customize the journal with other features such as grommets or spiral binding. These journals truly are a work of art–even before your child writes a single word on the pages!

Minted.com not only offers custom journaling notebooks, but they have other beautiful self-designed products such as custom stationary that allow kids to express themselves.

What a fun way for your child to practice their penmanship or to learn about how to handwrite a formal letter! And for many tweens and teens, writing (especially by hand) can be a very therapeutic way to sort out all those changing emotions.

LEARN-MORE-

 

 

sensory-toys-for-kids

9) Keep Your Kids’ Wiggles at Bay with Fiddle Toys from Educents

If you have a child with special needs (such as Autism or ADD/ADHD) you understand that he has unique challenges that require innovative strategies to keep him focused and successful in school.

My 13-year-old is one of these kids, and we’re continually on the hunt (especially during back to school time) for any tools that will help him control his wiggles and stay engaged in his school assignments. 

We’ve found that “fiddle toys” from Educents such as the Twiddle Fidget, the Ultimate Fidget Rings, and the Fidgipod above are incredibly helpful when he needs to express some of that pent-up energy while working on school! These are small objects that a child can manipulate with his hands that provide much needed stimuli to help keep distracted kids focused.

Other tools such as a Sensory Seat Pad (the circular red object in the photo) offer a passive way for kids to continually get that stimulation they need to stay focused.

These tools are simple ways for kids with sensory needs to start the school year off right! When kids are focused and doing well, their confidence soars!

LEARN-MORE-

Which products are your favorite? Which would help your kids start this school year off on the right foot? Let us know in the comments!

FTC Disclosure: I received products from several brands mentioned in this post and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions stated here are 100 percent mine, and I was not required to post a positive review. 

Other Back to School Posts You’ll Love:

Back to School Overwhelm? You Need These 5 Important Truths

Are you stressed and frustrated about all the back to school chaos? All the pressure to have a perfect year with your kids? If so, you've got to read these truths! You DON'T have to be overwhelmed by back to school!

 

Be a Rockstar Mom! 6 Clever Traditions to Start the School Year Off Right

Looking for fun back to school ideas and traditions? Great! Ready to be that rockstar mom that has it all together this school year? Awesome! This post has want to share powerful tips to do both! You’ll love these ideas (and so will your kids)! Get organized and ready for the new school year!

 

How to Organize Your Kid’s School Papers (for Good!)

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! Hundreds of moms are loving this amazing method to organize school papers... and you'll be doing a happy dance once you start using this method too!

 

Are you stressed and frustrated about all the back to school chaos? All the pressure to have a perfect year with your kids? If so, you've got to read these truths! You DON'T have to be overwhelmed by back to school!

Back to School Overwhelm? You Need These 5 Important Truths

Are you in full back to school preparations? Or maybe you’ve started school already (gasp!)?

Or perhaps you’re like me and still (quite happily) living with your head in the summer sand, ignoring the inevitable back to school madness for as long as you can?

No matter where you’re at, there seems to be a universal sentiment all moms share this time of year:

“I’m not at all ready for the school year to start.”  

Back to school brings change. More structure. A return to hard challenges that maybe we’ve been able to partially escape during these long summer days.

And even in the best situations, all that change means a heck of a lot of stress for mama.

Stress that makes us want to go back to enjoying our pool and popsicle days, thank you.

Yes, there’s stress from all the planning and organizing. But I believe that (if we are totally honest with ourselves) the real reason that this time of year is so stressful is because we’re all wondering:

How in the world am I going to do this again?

Are you stressed and frustrated about all the back to school chaos? All the pressure to have a perfect year with your kids? If so, you've got to read these truths! You DON'T have to be overwhelmed by back to school!

 

You know what I mean: The planning. The schedule organizing. All that driving. The hours spent explaining a concept (sometimes over and over) to a child.

Yes, that.

We want to believe the lie that “this year will be different,” and that “if I only did XYZ then life would be perfect.”

Even if we try our best to prepare for the back to school onslaught, the reality is that life never ever ends up as we exactly how we thought it would. We wake up mid-October realizing that, despite our best efforts, someone gave us the same kids to parent and many of last year’s issues have come back in full force.

And that’s enough to drive a Type-A mom like me pretty darn crazy (can you relate?!).

How can we face the new school year triumphantly as moms who are:

…excited and enthusiastic about another year’s worth of learning?

and

…ready to make the changes we need to, but also open enough to accept what may not change?

I want to share with you 5 truths that I tell myself this time of year. 

Friend, I’m a regular mom just like you and I know these truths will help you find the peace and clarity you need right now (because they help me with that too)!

Yes, you can let go of the angst and apprehension of back to school!

You can courageously face another school year with confidence, ready for anything that comes your way.

This back to school (and all year long) you can have the peace we’re all so desperate for.

Click “next” to see these 5 incredible truths that will empower you to have the best school year yet!

next-button

Looking for fun back to school ideas and traditions? Great! Ready to be that rockstar mom that has it all together this school year? Awesome! This post has want to share powerful tips to do both! You’ll love these ideas (and so will your kids)! Get organized and ready for the new school year!

Be a Rockstar Mom! 6 Clever Traditions to Start the School Year Off Right

Are you looking for fun ideas to welcome the new school year? Great!

Want to be that rockstar mom that has it all together this school year? Awesome!

I want to share powerful tips to do both!

Looking for fun back to school ideas and traditions? Great! Ready to be that rockstar mom that has it all together this school year? Awesome! This post has want to share powerful tips to do both! You’ll love these ideas (and so will your kids)! Get organized and ready for the new school year!

Back to school is full of opportunities for great family traditions, and our family has several annual back to school traditions that I know your family will love too!

Plus, I’ve got a few great tips to help you start off the school year organized and prepared! (Who doesn’t need those?!)

Ready to get started with the ideas? Let’s go!

 

6 Awesome Ways to Start the School Year Off Right

1) Host a special dinner and family game night the evening before school starts.

We celebrate the school year with a special dinner (ours is always “make-your-own-pizza night”) and play a few family games!

We also have a fun breakfast the first day of school (kind of like the pancake smily faces in the picture above!).

2) Have the kids complete a fun annual “back to school questionnaire.”

What’s your child’s favorite toy? What does he love to do right now? What is his favorite summer memory?  Help you child write these down and you can treasure them for years to come. These are priceless, wonderful little treasures to store with other precious school artwork and papers.

800-x-800-Main-My-Memory-Box-Product-ImageP.S. You do have a plan to store all those upcoming school papers your child will bring home, right?! You’ve got to check out my foolproof kids school paper organizing system here! Seriously–this will be your sanity when all those papers start piling in again!

 

LEARN-MORE-

 

3) Take a first-day-of-school picture with some sort of prop that tells their grade.

Some moms create a special board or print a fun paper that tells each child’s grade. The child then holds the sign in the picture, thus marking that child’s first day of school in that grade.

I love that idea… but this too-busy mama takes the non-fancy, low-tech approach. I hand each child a small whiteboard and tell them to write their name and grade on the whiteboard (in a fancy design) using dry-erase pens. My only request is that they make their name and grade legible for the picture.

These pictures are something else that we store in the My Memory Box school paper organizing system!

folder-images-together

Or, if you prefer to use a good-old-fashioned school picture, there’s a place on the front of each folder in the My Memory Box organizing system to include a photo and a few fun facts about your child for that year (even a place for him to write his signature)!

P.S. I create one My Memory Box for each child and then we have a place to store all their special school photos and memorabilia for every year of school!

 

LEARN-MORE-

 

I love how once you set up the My Memory Box system, you’re good to go from now through high school! Because, let’s face it–you’re a busy mom and you don’t need more to do each year around back to school time, right?!

4) Pray the night before school starts.

This is crucial! Back to school is like the beginning of brand new journey for our family, and my husband and I do our best to lift our concerns about that journey (behavioral issues, curriculum concerns, etc) before we start!

Prayer doesn’t have to be super complicated or scary. Think of prayer as conversation with God, so simply share what’s on your heart (here are some tips for moms on prayer).

5) Host a simple celebration at the end of the first week (no matter how rough it was!)

At the end of our first official week of school, I plan something super fun for us to do that following weekend.

Whether that’s going for a hike, riding bikes together, or simply making a fun dessert as a family, I try to find something that focuses on building relationships.

 6) Plan a date night.

Perhaps planning a date night sound like a strange back to school tradition?

My husband and I do our best to get out alone sometime that week because, let’s face it–back to school takes weeks (or months, if you’re homeschooling!) of planning! We believe it’s important to get out and have a great time together to celebrate the culmination of all that planning

7) Enjoy some back-to-school themed books.

8) Set up systems to keep you organized through the school year.

Organization is key to staying sane as a mom, right?! I am a firm believer in systems like once a month grocery shopping and meal planning.

But honestly, having a plan to manage the school-related activities (and all that paper clutter) is critical !

That’s why I can’t say enough good things about the My Memory Box kids school paper organizing system.

500-x-650-my-memory-box-image

I mean for $9.99, you get:

  • a convenient, organized system for all school papers from the toddler to high school years
  • no more lost papers
  • the ability to organize school papers as you go throughout the year
  • no more piles of papers without a home
  • personalized way to chronicle your child’s school experience
  • easy way to store awards and other memorabilia

 

LEARN-MORE-

 

Talk about back to school sanity insurance!

That’s a whole lot of organization for super cheap!

Imagine how much more ready you’ll feel to tackle the school year when you have a system like My Memory Box in place!

 

2-BUY-NOW-AND-GET-ORGANIZED

 

Other Helpful Resources for an Organized School Year:

Homeschool Sanity Savers: Monthly Meal Planning and Monthly Shopping Tips

Homeschool Sanity Savers: Household Cleaning Routines that Work for Your Family

And, lastly, of course, make sure you grab your My Memory Box kids school paper organizing system!

500-x-650-my-memory-box-image

 

2-BUY-NOW-AND-GET-ORGANIZED

 

Happy back to school everyone!

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how an online homeschool planner like can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Planning: Tips and Top Resources for Scheduling Success

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting aspects of homeschooling. 

Not only do we have to determine what and how to teach our kids, we have to order all that learning into some sort of organized plan that makes sense; fits into the overall family rhythm (naps, chores, lessons, sports); and we still have to keep everyone clothed, fed (and, some days, from wanting to drive each other crazy).

How is this possible when no one day is the same, no child is the same and no curriculum is the same?

Can a homeschool planner help?

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

Finding Sanity in Homeschool Planning

If you’ve read my book Plan to Be Flexible then you know that I am a planner, perfectionist type that discovered rather quickly that it is virtually impossible to live out the perfect homeschool schedule.

In fact, as a homeschooler, it’s probably the quickest method of sending you on a one-way ticket to homeschool burnout (not to mention a trip to the looney bin).

No doubt about it: We need some structure to our learning if we want to meet certain learning objectives. But a rigid schedule is not the way to make it happen.

Instead of a schedule, what if we thought of creating a rhythm for our homeschool days? What if we instilled some key pillars in our day, along with some general learning “backbone” times for each day, and some learning goals for a certain period of time, and then allowed things to play out naturally?

This is what I call rhythm-based homeschooling, and it is the essential key to creating a homeschool plan that not only works but that keeps you sane.

More on rhythm-based homeschooling in a minute. First, I want to show you how to use a homeschool planner to (realistically) create a way to manage and order your homeschool rhythm.

Using an Online Homeschool Planner As A Backbone for Daily Homeschool Planning

I’m super excited about Homeschool Planet—an awesome online homeschool planner—because it allows Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources! homeschool moms to create a backbone outline of a typical homeschool rhythm in a powerful and effective manner.

Because Homeschool Planet is digital and daily assignments can be arranged and re-scheduled automatically, homeschool planning can have both a loose structure and a flexibility necessary for the uncertainties of life, which is key to rhythm-based homeschooling.

How does Homeschool Planet work? In a nutshell, you create your homeschool plan/calendar (for the week, for the month, or for the year—whatever works best for you) in your own online portal within the Homeschool Planet site.

(Since I don’t share my children’s names on the blog, I’m sharing sample screen shots from the site, not my personal account).

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

After adding in yourself and your students as users, you create and assign learning tasks to be completed on specific days. You can choose to assign these to a specific timeslot or just as a task to be completed that day (the latter option better supports rhythm-based homeschooling because it offers flexibility instead of rigidity).

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

Tasks can be printed, sent to students (or yourself) in a daily or weekly “digest” form, and students can also access the information via their own login.

Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

You or your students check off the assignments as they are completed. If an assignment isn’t completed for some reason, you’re alerted each day by Homeschool Planet’s re-scheduling feature and can decide whether to eliminate the task or to schedule it for a future time.

8 Reasons Why I Love Homeschool Planet for Homeschool Planning

1) It works for all kinds of homeschoolers.

Homeschool Planet works whether you are specific or general in your planning. Here are some examples:

  • You can keep track of assignments that you plan for the future (how I’d imagine most people would use it); or you can write in completed assignments for each subject after the event happened. This would be ideal for unschoolers who want to keep records of the types of learning happening for their students in each subject.
  • You can choose to give a specific time for an assignment; or you can just list that assignment as a requirement for the day. I appreciate this because we choose to build our homeschool day around key “pillars” for each day instead of at specific times (more on that in a minute when I get to essential tips to homeschool planning).

2) Flexibility!

This of course is the best part of having an online planner like Homeschool Planet. I love that I can adjust assignments as needed. The problem I’d found in the past with other scheduling systems (and of course the main issue with paper scheduling systems) is that it was very difficult to move assignments around. This is essential in homeschooling because our schedule will never, ever turn out like we expect it (I wrote an entire book on this!).

3) The freedom to choose.

I love that you make the final decision about what to do with the assignments. For example, if you mark yesterday as a sick day, you can decide if you want to eliminate those assignments or add them today, or add them to a future date. And you can make that decision for each of the assignments (if you want to just keep one or two, for example).

4) Portable.

It’s quite convenient to have access to assignments both on my phone and on my computer. It’s also amazing that my kids can access all their necessary data from their iPods and Chromebooks too.Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. Discover how can an online homeschool planner like Homeschool Planet can help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

5) Paperless.

As a homeschooler, I constantly feel like I’m swimming in a sea of paper, so the option to have one more aspect of homeschooling paperless makes me downright giddy.

6) Lots of online help available.

Along with a list of Q & As, there’s several video tutorials and how-to pages on the Homeschool Planet portal. However, I do have to say that I find Homeschool Planet fairly easy to navigate.

7) This is not a static product.

Homeschool Planet is constantly being updated, and not only can you view recent additions to the planner (which you can have as one of your widgets), you can also see which updates are planned for the upcoming future.

8) You can try it for free!

Homeschool Planet offers a free 30-day trial so you can test out the homeschool planning system for yourself and see what you think. After the trial period ends, Homeschool Planet costs $65 per year or $6.95 per month. You can hear what others are saying about Homeschool Planet on their social media accounts: Facebook, TwitterYouTube and Google Plus.

Links to Free Printed Homeschool Planners

Maybe the online calendar isn’t your thing. Maybe it’s a little out of your homeschooling budget right now. Or maybe you’ve been using a printed calendar system for years and don’t want to switch.

If so, I wanted to include links to some free printed homeschool planners here, here and here.

I do have to say that even though these printed homeschool planners are free, there really is no contest between a digital homeschool planner and a printed homeschool planner, in terms of the ability to automatically reschedule.

7 Essential Secrets for Successful Homeschool Planning

1) Adopt the idea of a rhythm instead of a schedule.

Your homeschool schedule will not work out as planned. I’m telling you right now that no matter how perfectly you plan it, it will get messed up.

This is because, as I say in my homeschooling course “bloom”: “We are imperfect teachers teaching imperfect people with imperfect curriculums in an imperfect world!” I love the word “rhythm” because it implies regularity without rigidity. We can have a flow and a structure to our days, without being choked to death by the ever-changing details!

If you’d like to learn more about this concept, here are some excellent posts and resources I’ve put together:

Posts: 

Books:

Plan to Be Flexible: Designing A Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan That Works for Your Family

(available on Amazon in print and e-book formats; and as a PDF download in the Your Vibrant Family Shop)Learn more about the Plan to Be Flexible book: Homeschool planning can be one of the most daunting parts of teaching our kids. How can this resource help create a successful homeschool schedule. Plus free homeschool planners and other great homeschool planning resources!

 

Back to School Survival Manual: A Girlfriend’s Guide to an Organized and Successful Homeschool Year

(available on Amazon in print and e-book formats; and as a PDF Download at the Your Vibrant Family Shop)

No matter if it’s your first or your fourteenth year as a homeschooler, preparing for a new school year can be daunting and overwhelming. What do you do first? Where do you start? That’s why the Back to School Survival Manual: A Girlfriend’s Guide to an Organized & Successful Homeschool Year is such an amazing resource. Full of expert advice from a ten-year homeschool veteran, this casual, conversational book is like chatting with a girlfriend about how to: build self-confidence in your homeschool’s purpose and vision determine what supplies you have (and what you really need); learn practical tips for managing daily homeschool chaos and clutter; discover how to create a realistic learning rhythm; and get powerful tips for daily homeschool success. The book also contains 30 pages of reproducible 8.5 x 11-inch checklists, charts and planning activities to use year-after-year!

2) Create a homeschool “backbone.”

Instead of an hour-by-hour schedule, create specific pillars in your day and let the learning flow around those.

Yes, have specific learning objectives for your week, but instead of saying “Math will be from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.,” consider having math as one of the morning learning objectives between the pillars of eating breakfast and eating lunch.

Maybe math will take from 8:00-9:30 one day, and 11:00-12:00 another. Each day is unique. Each day has it’s challenges. And that’s OK!

3) Include regular times for rest.

I cannot stress this enough. In our home, rest is as important a “subject” as time spent each day on math, science or reading. We create it as one of our daily pillars, and our subjects work around it.

I learned a long time ago that I cannot be a peaceful, contented homeschool mom without time in my day (usually time spent writing, reading or just being silent) to balance the chaos, noise and potential overwhelm of teaching four children all day. And, I’ve learned that my kids learn better when they too have a chance to step away from the books into a time of quiet and silence (spent reading, drawing or working on a craft).

We are more than just workers: We are souls who need time for reflection, rejuvenation and beauty. That is what rest brings.

4) Include times for cleaning and chores.

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we get to introduce our kids to all kinds of learning (and only some of it being “book learning.”) We get to teach our children about how to run a household and how to learn responsibility.

And these things take a ton of time—not only because a heap-load of training is required to teach them, but because the tasks themselves take time. Do yourself a favor and include blocks of time in your daily homeschool rhythm (for both you and your children) that includes this type of real-world learning. This time needs to be allocated and considered when determining how much learning is really possible in a given day. And speaking of knowing your time limits…

5) Make space. Period.

It’s so easy to overbook our days, and especially when we’re using a homeschool planner, it’s very tempting to fall into the trap of filling every moment with an activity or an assignment.

However, one advantage to using a homeschool planner is that you can see all the activities in a day. Once everything is written down, it can help explain why you or one of your students suddenly feels frazzled.

6) Let relationships guide the rhythm.

As homeschoolers, we have the privilege of not only imparting our kids book and real-world learning, but we have to opportunity to build deep relationships with them that connect eternal truths to their hearts.

These connections are vital (just talk to a mom who’s navigated the teen years) and the ultimate true treasure in homeschooling our children.

Rhythm-based homeschooling allows for the time and space to let these natural conversations and circumstances occur without feeling like you’re “off schedule.” You can have those unexpected teachable moments and go on those rabbit trails of learning and still feel like there is order.

7) You are in charge of your rhythm.

If you don’t like how things are working, change it! If you find that there’s too much happening, remove something! If a child seems to be more attentive when working on a certain subject in the morning verses the afternoon (like you’d originally planned) then change it up!

You are the boss (no matter how perfect your plan may seem in theory).

Disclosure: I received Homeschool Planet for free and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions stated here are 100 percent mine, and I was not required to post a positive review. 

Other Posts You May Find Helpful:

Rhythm Based Homeschooling: A Practical, Customized Approach to Homeschool Planning

Want to learn the secret to restful, peaceful homeschool days (and a schedule that works)? You'll love these tips on rhythm-based homeschooling from a homeschool mom of four.

 

Building Family Relationships Through Everyday Homeschool Moments

Let's face it: building family relationships in the everyday of homeschooling can be a challenge. What does it look like? How can it happen? Vibrant Homeschooling

Homeschool Confessions: I Am That Burnt Out Mom

650-x-975--Homeschool-Burnout

Homeschool Not Working? Answers to Your Biggest Homeschool Issues

We're about halfway through the homeschool year, and WOW, was it good to look through this homeschool assessment and get answers to some of those things that are not working in our homeschool. Love how real these answers are!

 

Speaking of planning… here’s a GREAT way to keep those school papers organized!

Oh my gosh... YES! Finally a great way to organize kids school papers once and for all-- from their toddler years through twelfth grade! What a great keepsake to pass on to your kids too! Hundreds of moms are loving this amazing method to organize school papers... and you'll be doing a happy dance once you start using this method too!

Are you a homeschool family on a tight budget (like my family is)? It’s still possible to homeschool well, even when money is tight! Here are 18 secrets that can save you money big time! #18 and #6 are my favorite…

On a Budget? 18 Ways to Homeschool On the Cheap

Are you on a tight budget like our family?

Just like a personal family budget, staying on a homeschool budget can be a real challenge.

There’s just so many great curriculums! So many cool field trips and experiences!

And before we know it, we find ourselves spending WAAAAYY more than we said we would.

I’m far from perfect in this area (my weakness is new curriculums!) but I’ve learned a lot over the years, and there are some key concepts that keep our spending down (without sacrificing our homeschool experience).

It is possible to homeschool well… even when money is tight!

Are you a homeschool family on a tight budget (like my family is)? It’s still possible to homeschool well, even when money is tight! Here are 18 secrets that can save you money big time! #18 and #6 are my favorite…

Top 18 Ways to Save Money While Homeschooling

18) Come up with a list of supplies and track your spending.

Before you begin purchasing, make a list of all the supplies you’ll need for the next year. Have a plan before you begin spending. 

While we do spend most of our homeschooling budget in the summer when we are purchasing new curriculum, “homeschooling” is a line item in our family’s monthly budget.

We consider it a “cyclical expense”— one that doesn’t occur every month but still needs to be allocated for in the budget. We put money away for homeschooling (and other “cyclical expenses”) in a savings account and pay ourselves back out of this account whenever we spend money on homeschooling.

This helps us see how much we’ve really spent, and how much money is still available. This simple strategy alone has helped me to say “yes” or “no” to homeschool spending.

17) Get as many books at the library as you can.

The library is an amazing resource for free materials that will keep you on budget!

If you do plan to use library resources in our homeschool, I recommend requesting the materials 2-3 weeks before you need them.

That’s why the only tradeoff with using the library in your homeschool is that it requires a little more planning and organizing. But you can’t beat free books!

16) Frequent used book stores and keep an eye out for upcoming needed materials.

Right outside our local library, there’s a wonderful used book store that the homeschool moms in my area drool over!

I can’t tell you how many treasures I’ve found in there for a dollar or even a quarter!

15) Use what you already have.

What may not have worked for one child may work for another. Or perhaps you may chose to use a something that you just ran out of time for in previous years.

Dust off some older curriculums you may have hanging around to see if they’re a good fit.

14) Borrow curriculum from another homeschooling family.

Do you have a trusted homeschool friend that you can borrow books from? This is a great way to try-before-you buy or to perhaps trade resources with another family.

13) Consider certain books that may be equivalent but may cost less money.

Is there another book or curriculum that can teach the same material, but at a cheaper price? Or maybe you can just focus on one aspect of a topic this year instead of a entire learning concept?

12) Discover free resources available on the internet.

Some of my favorite freebie sites can be found here.

11) Make copies of curriculum to share (only when legal of course!).

Look at the fine print here, but in many cases, publishers allow for you to make copies of a resource as long as its within your own family.

10) Substitute something else for your first choice curriculum.

If you find that a curriculum pushes you over your homeschool budget, ask yourself: Is there something fairly equivalent that’s cheaper; or can I put together my own version from multiple free sources?

9) Purchase used curriculum from other moms via homeschooling re-sell groups.

If you must buy a certain curriculum, see if someone else has the item for sale on a homeschool curriculum re-sale group or from within a local co-op or charter.

8) Get the used or “scratch and dent” version.

Consider purchasing a used copy of a book from Amazon or eBay (when available). Sometimes publishers also have “scratch and dent” type deals on some of their curriculum if you’re willing to live with a slightly imperfect product.

7) Go in as a group.

Often curriculum publishers, book sellers, or field trip destinations are willing to lower their prices if there is a large number of purchasers. Homeschool co-ops or charter organizations often can coordinate these types of purchases.

6) Take advantage of teacher discounts.

Did you know that Michaels, Barnes & Noble and the Apple Store give teacher discounts?

This post lists 90-plus places where you can potentially get a educator discount! And there may be additional local places in your area with this type of program. Hey, it’s definitely worth looking into.

Plus, nearly every large museum or amusement park offers free or highly discounted “educational days” where they offer some sort of educational experience as part of the visit (and also greatly lower the price).

5) If necessary, make concessions in some areas.

Determine which subjects are a higher priority than others (and thus may require specific curriculums), and be willing to invest in those areas (and to come up with lower cost solutions for other subjects).

4) Pray over your choices.

This seems like such a simple thing, but really, I have been amazed over and over as the Lord has shown me a cheaper (and better!) curriculum option when I’ve just taken the time to ask Him.

3) Think on it before you buy it.

Homeschool conventions are wonderful for seeing nearly all the curriculum out there. But oh my goodness… I have for sure made some in-the-moment curriculum choices that (in the long run) did not turn out to be the best ones because I felt pressured (or was caught up in the excitement of the convention).

Personally, I have pledged to not purchase any curriculum at a convention unless I’ve taken the time to research beforehand.

2) Be willing to think outside the box.

Can a new book become a birthday present?  Obviously this won’t work in every situation (“Honey… aren’t you happy that we got you a new math workbook for your birthday?”).

But in some cases a really nice set of classic literature (like this box set of The Chronicles of Narnia ) or a learning game could also be a nice present from Grandma. Or how about if a fun field trip doubles as a family vacation or birthday event?

Our family has different categories in our budget for “gifts,” “birthdays,” and “vacations,” and I’ve used these funds to pay for homeschooling items before if they doubled as both.

And my final tip?

1) Stick to your plan and seek wise accountability.

Self control, right? It’s so easy to get caught up in the “we must have it” game, especially when it comes to something as important as providing a quality educational experience for our kids.

Sometimes we need someone else to help us just say no. That can be a spouse or even a fellow homeschool mom.

However, it’s also true that we need be realistic. If a child desperately needs a curriculum option, it may be worth going over budget (or using money from another area in the budget) to find a new option (obviously that’s up to you and your husband). We’ve had to do this a number of times over the years.

Seek accountability from someone who can help you make these decisions well (and of course, if you are confused, pray for God’s help in making the best choice for both your child and your budget)!

 

Your Turn:

How about you? What are your homeschool budgeting secrets? 

Share them in the comments below!

Are you intimidated by the idea of teaching your preschooler or kindergartner? That's TOTALLY NORMAL! SO many of us are scared and overwhelmed by homeschooling this age group. Love this mom's suggestions for how to find the peace, freedom (and confidence) to homeschool preschool and kindergarten well (and have FUN too)!

How to Confidently Homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten (Without Fear!)

Preschool and Kindergarten! Yes! These are such fun homeschooling years. 

It’s so fun to introduce little ones to our big, beautiful world!

But it can also be confusing and scary since, for many moms, this is the first experience they have with homeschooling.

We wonder, “What in the world am I supposed to teach? And how am I supposed to teach it?”

If this is you, you’re in the right place! I want to give you the confidence you need to happily teach your preschooler or kindergartner.

Yes, you can do this!

Are you intimidated by the idea of teaching your preschooler or kindergartner? That's TOTALLY NORMAL! SO many of us are scared and overwhelmed by homeschooling this age group. Love this mom's suggestions for how to find the peace, freedom (and confidence) to homeschool preschool and kindergarten well (and have FUN too)!

 

I’m currently homeschooling my fourth child through the preschool and kindergarten years, and although I’ve done this three times before, I know how easy it can be to feel overwhelmed by all the ideas out there!

I want to help you overcome these (very normal!) concerns about homeschooling preschool or kindergarten!

  • Discover the key principle to free you when homeschooling the early years
  • Learn my favorite preschool and kindergarten teaching resources (the ones I use with my kids!)
  • Get the list of our must-read books for preschoolers and kindergartners

and most of all…

Get the confidence you need to successfully (and happily) homeschool your preschooler or kindergartener!

Click “next” to get the tips and list of great teaching tools!

next-button

Want simple, fun ways to keep kids learning this summer? Your kids will love these—and you’ll love how these activities use everyday household supplies! These ideas are perfect for busy moms!

100 Fun and Easy Ways to Keep Kids Learning This Summer

We’re all looking for simple, creative ways to encourage summer learning for our kids, right?

As moms, we want those ideas to be fun (and, let’s be honest!) easy to put together.

 

Want simple, fun ways to keep kids learning this summer? Your kids will love these—and you’ll love how these activities use everyday household supplies! These ideas are perfect for busy moms!

If you’re looking for a ton of great learning ideas in one place (with simple instructions and lots of colorful photos), you’ll love the new book 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids by my friends Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij of The Educators Spin on It.

WEB-100-Fun-and-Easy-Learning-Games-Promotion-with-supplies-

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities

Yes, 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids is packed with innovative and exciting ways to engage kids in learning, but my favorite part? Each of the activities uses everyday household items.

As a mom, you know how important that is! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve never done “the perfect learning craft or activity” because it required that I run to the store to grab supplies. 

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids uses things like tin cans, rocks, plastic bottles and construction paper–things already in our homes!–to put together these fun learning moments for kids.

In addition, the activities in the book cover a wide variety of topics and use several learning methods to teach these concepts in fun, innovative ways.

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities

 

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games divides the activities into each of these areas:

  • Fantastic Reading
  • Amazing Writing Adventures
  • Really Cool Math
  • Super Science
  • Magical Music and Art
  • Going Global

9 Amazingly Fun Learning Activities

Wondering what some of the learning activities are?

Here’s a list of 8 super awesome games from the book!

Plus don’t miss the free, full instructions on the next page for my favorite craft: Stringing Letters! (Click here to see it!)

WEB--Zip-Line-Letters-Learning-Game-

Zip-Line Letters

WEB--Words-in-the-SAnd-

Words in the Sand

WEB-Family-Word-Puzzle-Learning-Game-4

Family Word Puzzle Learning

WEB-Muffin-Tin-4

Muffin Tin Syllable Counting

WEB-Rock-Clock-3

Rock Clock

WEB-Sight-Word-Bottle-

Sight Word Sensory Bottle

WEB-Stack-a-Word-Learning-Game

Stack a Word Learning

WEB-SuperHero-Water-

Superhero Water

And just think… there are 92 more great ideas like these in the book!

100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities

Want to try one of the activities yourself?

I’ve been given permission to share the instructions for my favorite activity in the book: Stringing Letters!

WEB-String-Letters-6-

Get the instructions for this fun craft on the next page! Click next!

next-button

This mom has done homeschool preschool FOUR TIMES now and gets how to keep homeschool preschool simple, easy and FUN! You've got to see her awesomely simple methods and resources... she shows you through several VIDEOS in this post!!

Homeschool Preschool Simplified

It’s my fourth trip down the homeschool preschool lane, and I have to say that this one is the most pleasant one I’ve taken so far.

And I think it’s because I’ve finally, FINALLY learned how to make homeschool preschool simple, enjoyable and joy-filled.

This mom has done homeschool preschool FOUR TIMES now and gets how to keep homeschool preschool simple, easy and FUN! You've got to see her awesomely simple methods and resources... she shows you through several VIDEOS in this post!!

For many of us, being a homeschool mom starts in when our kids are in preschool or kindergarten. But sometimes, our enthusiasm to “get started” in homeschooling (and finally try all those fun ideas!) isn’t a good match for the typical four-to-five-year-old attention span.

Convinced that we must follow a curriculum and a “plan,” we push them to sit down and to get “school” done. Yep, I wrote a whole book about how well that worked out for me with my oldest son!

P.S. If you’d like to hear about how I learned to keep homeschooling flexible, you’ll love my book, Plan to be Flexible. Get it here on Amazon.

While there are great homeschool preschool ideas, after homeschooling through this age now four times, I have to say that the best homeschool preschool method really is to keep it simple, free-form and fun!

Our Favorite Homeschool Preschool Resources

We do have two books that we regularly work through:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

get it here on Amazon

 

I’ve heard about this reading program from many friends for a long time. We were using other resources when my other kids were little (a few had some learning issues we were working with), but this time I wanted something simple and easy.

This book has totally delivered! It really does take only about 15 minutes a day, and I’ve been amazed to see how quickly my youngest son has been about to start sounding out words and to read.

The program takes kids step by step learning and sounding out the sounds. I would totally recommend this book, especially if some of the other reading curriculum seems a bit overwhelming.

 

 

 

homeschool kindergarten curriculumWrite Through the Bible, Jr 

$17.00 (digital download)

$27.00 (printed version)

If your child is ready to start learning basic handwriting skills, then I’d start with this excellent, Bible-based handwriting curriculum (you can see my review here of this program).

I love that it’s a gentle way to slowly introduce handwriting skills (when a child is ready), practice fine motor skills and to incorporate sharing about character qualities/principles at the same time. You can purchase the book as either a digital download here or as a printed version on Amazon. 

 

 

We also keep a steady supply of preschool-aged library books. My son’s favorite right now are the ones like this one where there’s a symbol in the text that represents a word and he gets to “read” along with me.

I am a firm believer that reading aloud to our kids (especially those in the preschool and early elementary ages) is the most important thing we can do as home educators! So our homeschool preschool includes at least one or two reading times a day. We read everything from Dr. Seuss to Eric Carle; activity books like ABC books and Look-And-Find books; Bible stories and those with strong character messages.

Here’s some of our family’s must-have read-alouds. These are pulled out nearly every week!

How I Organize Our Homeschool Preschool

I want our homeschool preschool to be about building relationships and lots of learning play. And since I’m homeschooling four kids now, it has to be simple!

So over the summer, I organized our homeschool preschool supplies into five different bins–one for each of the following areas, plus one for independent learning:

  • Math (learning numbers, colors)
  • Pre-Reading Skills (beginning phonics, learning the alphabet)
  • Handwriting/Fine Motor Skills (drawing, art, writing letters)
  • Large Motor Skills (games like sidewalk chalk, frisbee, bubbles, hopscotch, jump rope)

I have collected quite a few homeschool preschool items over the years, so there has been very little that I’ve had to buy for my youngest son’s preschool activities. They’re an eclectic mix of stuff I’ve found on Pinterest,  activity kits and games I’ve purchased.

My kids are blessed to be part of a learning program where they attend classes from 9:00-3:30 two days a week, and so my preschooler and I do the bulk of his “teaching” while the older kids are at these classes.

I simply pull a one or two items from each of these bins on these “teaching” days. If the activity is a hit, sometimes we’ll do the same activity several days in a row.

But many days, I just follow what he wants to learn about. Here’s a video (and one of our activities) from the day he discovered that clouds move:

This lesson went along beautifully with our current exploration of colors. We pointed out and named the different colors he was using, and we even found out what happened when we mixed colors.

This mom has done homeschool preschool FOUR TIMES now and gets how to keep homeschool preschool simple, easy and FUN! You've got to see her awesomely simple methods and resources... she shows you through several VIDEOS in this post!!

I also have a bin for independent learning so that my preschooler has some fun learning activities to do on the other days when I must focus on teaching the older kids.

 

8 Tips for A Simple Homeschool Preschool

1) Refer to it “game time” or “play time” with your child. This reminds that the child (and you) that this is going to be fun!

2) Keep it light and loose. There’s no need to have a fancy lesson plan or to “make” a child sit down and do something. It’s really about exploring and playing.

3) Be willing to follow the whims and fancies of the child. If they want to learn about butterflies, grab a book on butterflies from the library or look up something online!

4) Spend time outside exploring and discovering. Take walks! Play in a garden! Look up at the sky! Gather fallen leaves! Exploring the world around them helps them develop a great love for learning which is absolutely critical in the later homeschool years.

After we painted clouds and learned about clouds, we went outside and watched them move:

5) Have some ideas and games ready to go and cycle through them as you’d like. I referenced this above. But…

6) Don’t be afraid to make things up on the spot. This video is an example of something I just came up with after we purchased the Alphabet City book:

alphabet city--WEB

Here’s another spur-of-the-moment teaching time where we used the book Animalia to teach some letter sounds:

animalia--WEB

6) Enlist older kids to help. Older kids can play learning games with your preschooler or read them books. This is great for building close relationships and can keep the teaching time fresh and new.

7) Remember–your child’s biggest reward is to be with you! This simple fact reminds me that I need to lighten up and make our homeschool preschool time together as enjoyable as possible.

8) Most of all, enjoy this time with your child! Relax… I promise the days of calculus and essay writing will be here before you know it!

 

Other Posts on Homeschool Preschool:

Homeschool Confessions: How Homeschooling Brought My Son Back

47 Best Kids Audio Books and Audio Dramas

How to Confidently Homeschool Preschool & Kindergarten (Without Fear!)

‘Twas the Night Before School Started (A Back to School Ode to Homeschoolers Everywhere)

Here's a fun and humorous look at back to school. You have to admit, it sounds pretty familiar! Happy Back to School, Everyone!

Twas the night before school started, and all through the house

Not a child was stirring, not even the one snuggling with the Mouse.

The schoolbooks were stacked on the kids’ desks with care,

Knowing that the morning would come and school would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of science experiments danced in their heads.

And daddy with his iPad and me with my laptop

Had just plugged in our devices for their overnight rest stop.

 

When deep in my heart there began such a clatter,

I ran to the schoolroom to see what was the matter.

For I knew it dealt with anxiousness and fear

Those two yucky feelings I’d lived with last school year.

I found a piece of paper and began to write,

My heart full of emotions and my chest feeling tight:

 

“What will this year be like? What if I can’t do it again?

All those crafts and read-alouds and fill-the-blanks-in?

What if I just don’t have it in me to teach?

To model, to grow, to help my kids reach

for their bright future? And what about all those mistakes I made

last year when I thought I was so confident and brave?

I don’t want to be a stressed-out mess

Angry and frustrated when things don’t turn out “best.”’

 

And then I picked up my pen and started to write

Not caring if the words sounded strange or if they might

come back to haunt me on some dark day

when I’d chose to critique myself and make myself pay.

 

My words weren’t perfect but flowed from my pen

With the steadfastness of an honest heart deep within:

 

“How do I want to live out this year?

I do have a choice, even when my heart is not of good cheer,

To be flexible with all the changes that will come

(even if they are hard or I believe they are dumb).

I can choose to celebrate the successes, no matter how small

I can treasure them! I can store up them all

in my heart-of-hearts, ready to enjoy straightaway

When times are hard and I feel that I’ve lost my way.

What if I chose not to emphasize and stress over the tiny issues of curriculum,

Of tasks that “must” be completed, of pages that “must” be done.

 

What if I made this my burning,

My teaching focus, my heart’s bid:

To lighten up and enjoy this all-too-fleeting time with my kids?  

 

Now this wouldn’t mean that I’d be closing

All those lovely notebooks and books I’d so carefully chosen.

There would still be a plan, lots of deep rich learning time,

Quality study and hills of knowledge to climb.

But I’d do it from a restful heart, you see

Because I was also pledging to take care of me.

 

I’d learned a lot about the importance of rest

And how the lack of it did not leave me at my best.

I remembered the days when I’d pushed myself too far,

Feeling I didn’t deserve it because I’d simply missed the bar

On what “should” get done for the day. So I pushed myself more—

my heart left empty and my soul feeling sore.

 

But that’s all in the past. I’m learning new ways

To give myself grace and to let all my days

Be seasoned with intentional shifts—

Small movements toward good, tiny expressions of lift

That bring freedom and wholeness to this fragile mom’s heart—

A joy and an expression: look what I’m becoming! A work of art!

 

This is how I will approach this year.

This is how I will live each moment not full of fear

Of the despicable “what-ifs,” the ungrateful “why can’t we’s,” and the unforgiving “shoulds.”

All the nasty joy-stealers—those rotten discontentments—that possibly could

Derail me from all this homeschooling life has to give!

I will stand strong, and I will confidently live

This precious calling that’s been given to me

The incredible privilege to simply grow, enjoy and to be

With my wonderful children day after day,

Embracing together the good and the bad that comes our way.

 

So my dear homeschooling friends, it’s my pleasure to write

(my heart feeling so much better, my soul feeling light):

Have a wonderful school year—one focused on love and grace;

Of sweet moments of discovery, of laughter and of a slower pace

Where less is more and fear takes flight.

Happy school year to all, and to all a good night!