Saturday, November 5, 2011

Organizing Our Homeschool

I used to think I was a super-organized person. Ask me where a particular important paper was from 3 years ago, and within short order I could usually find it. I was always so proud of myself for my organizing capabilities, and ability to find whatever I was looking for in whichever stack of paper or box of stuff it was in. I was awesome and proud of it!

Note the use of past tense here. A couple of years ago I had a terrible realization. I actually wasn't organized at all. I had piles of papers, here and there. Boxes of previous years worth of receipts, articles I intended to read, artwork of the kids, and ideas for art, business and more cluttered our storage room and every flat surface in the house. It was a harsh disappointment I faced.

I discovered the reason I was so good at finding things was not my stellar organizational skills, but my own inherent finely tuned visual memory. To this day if I am looking for something (last months gas bill, a toy my kids want to play with, something my hubby lost), I get a clear picture in my head of where I saw it last. I used to be able to use this skill in school to great advantage, pulling up mental images of my notes or pages in a book to recall answers for test questions. It is an awesome skill to have, for sure, but comes with its own drawbacks. Like trying to explain where something is to a family member. Translating my mental picture into words seems to freeze my tongue, until I can make a verbal map to the item. Frustrating, indeed.

So, how does this actually translate into homeschooling our kids? Well, to be honest, it is something I am still trying to work on. I have managed to print out our state standards as a bare bones minimum for us to keep a hairy eyeball on. I wanted to have them partly just for my own records as well as to make sure we don't miss anything (I may not follow any particular curriculum, but we are not unschoolers either). I have also started keeping some 'sample# pieces the kids work on so I can see/show them their progress.

I am still trying to get into a regular time during the day to sit down and practice reading, writing, math, etc. but the whole time-management aspect doesn't stick for long. We ARE good about teaching them different things in a more hands-on fashion throughout the day, so I guess that is a positive. It is a struggle though, and it makes me wish that much more for our own private space again. I miss having our own home, and there are days I feel like I am failing these two amazing, bright kids of mine.

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