We are venturing into our fourth year of homeschooling and by far this year will be the most different and challenging. We are starting this year with still living in our camper trailer while we build our forever home.
This year we have kids studying grades 6, 5, 2, 1, and preK… And a rambunctious toddler that likes to cause mayhem every time she knows I am distracted. Space is limited and so are the storage options so unlike last year where each child had their own set of crayons, scissors, rulers, glue ect. I have simplified it to each child having a thinner pencil pouch the kind for three-ring note books which will have a couple mechanical pencils (no need for constant sharpening) and a calculator. That’s it. I have an over the door hanging folder holder that I got on Amazon to hold their current work books. I will keep you posted on how long that thing survives. Stashed in my room where there is a lot more storage, we have a tub that holds crayons, colored pencils, markers, scissors, glue, spare pencil lead, spare erasers, lesson manuals, their pencil pouches, and their work books that they may not need every day or not until later in the year.
As far as where the work will get done, that is something that will probably change daily. The older two will most likely opt to do their work on their beds as they have the bunk beds and like to have their space. The younger three will most likely end up at the table. In the past we would all just sit down at my very large dining table to complete their work book assignments. This year we do not have that option at all. However there is more to do outside so the options to take frequent breaks will be much easier to accommodate. I would like to say we will be taking most of our work outside but this summer we have had an insane amount of wasps on our property so those breaks will probably only last till a bee comes near them and they run back inside.
One tip that I will certainly be using every year, and is probably one of my favorites that I learned before we started last year, was labeling their stuff using different colored duck tape. Each child has their own color assigned to them. Each of their work books has a strip of their color duck tape on the spine and on their pencil pouch for easy identification. This also takes the bickering down significantly. If it’s not your color, it’s not yours, if it’s not labeled it has to be shared, end of discussion.
Another trick I’ve had to remind myself of every year is to always use pencil in my big lesson planner. I can plan and prep and block out certain holidays all I want before we start the year. But life will always throw us a different schedule and it is best to be prepared for that going into it. Last year two weeks into the year all of us came down with a nasty bug making us take an unplanned week off of schoolwork. We still did verbal lessons and watched documentaries to make sure we were still doing something, but all of the work book planning in my planner had to be re dated or re done completely. This year I not only made sure to put it all in pencil but only planned to do work books 4 days of the week giving us a day to finish anything up if needed or just shift things for a day in case of any sickness. On top of this I also plan to finish their work books by May in case of any of the previous stated reasons we have a month or so of leeway in case we need to push something out a week or two and don’t feel rushed at the end of the year to get our state’s testing done in a timely manner before we start our summer break.
I know this school year will be one to remember. And it’s so easy to get caught up in the “oh look a new curriculum!” or “that is a beautiful homeschooling room. Someday soon we will have more space to dedicate to our families homeschooling needs (like room for our printer) but it is good to be reminded sometimes that you really don’t need much to give your children a good education.