It’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about putting away some of the summer fun and buckle down! Time to hit the books and hop aboard the learning train. What better way to get mentally ready than to get physically ready? The distractions that rise up at the most inconvenient time, such as cleaning out a closet, tidying up the pantry or even handling the all-too common “screen time” dilemma are the bane of my existence when it comes to getting ready for the school year.
What is a mom (or dad) to do?
For the most part, I am more than 80% prepared. The other twenty is getting the kids back in the habit of going to bed at a semi-decent hour, getting the house cleared of all the “distractions”. By those, I mean the things that drive me crazy, such as:
- Too many snacks in the pantry = too many hyper behaviors!
- Too much screen time = too little interest in learning!
- Too many wardrobe changes = too much laundry to wash!
For the snacks – I’m switching out the “take it outside” snacks for the “sit down and eat” snacks. No more pop tarts, fruit strips, and trail mix. Instead, it’s more celery, carrots, apples, and grapes. I can’t say there won’t be an occasional Little Debbie – she is always so sweet!
Screen time gets cut into fractions – by A LOT! During the summer, on those oh-so-hot days when it’s too hot to stand even the thought of going outside, we allow the kids to have screen time on their PCs, phone, or even the Roku. Usually, when all chores and requirements are met, they'd have ample time on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. But that can’t happen during the school year because they rush their school work enough as it is. I’ve decided that the only way they can incorporate any screen time is after school, after chores, and after playtime outside. That leaves about 30 minutes before dinner for screen time. They will certainly not like the change – but I think it will work itself out after a week or so.
Laundry. Oh my goodness! I have to tell you – and this is hard for me – but… My husband rocks! He is the epitome of super husbands! He does the laundry. He does the laundry very well. I can’t brag on him enough for how well he takes care of us. But the amount of laundry he does is an embarrassment to me as a wife. He can plow through the laundry in a matter of an hour and a half – where as I would take the entire morning and half of lunch time to get it done. Not him. So to help him out and to save a little on laundry, I am going to do a fall closet clean up. I’ll blog about that later this month as it gets closer to fall – I have some great tips on how to reduce the clothing in your closet without breaking the bank! But for now, just know that it will require a list.
- What kind of clothing is required for work?
- What kind of clothing is suitable for your outdoor climate?
- What kind of clothing do you wear on leisure days?
So the four items I’m going to tackle prior to the school year are just one of my ways of starting the school year on a positive note.
Other ways I incorporate physical preparedness:
- Getting my own routine in check. No more burning the midnight oil! I’m a night owl and staying up too late means waking up cranky.
- Eating healthy. What good is cleaning up the pantry if I am not going to be responsible with my diet? As a homeschool parent, it is easy to forget lunch, work through it, or even skip it entirely because of all the other things that need to be done daily. Staying healthy is vital!
- I’m also working on getting more organized (as if that were even possible – I have a system that I trust and I just don’t think I can improve it – but I shall consider a few minor changes).
- Getting our room in order. Yes, things are neatly stored away, but my walls are bare. I take down all of our graphics at the end of the school year and switch them out with those that we will be using the next year. I have found that our curriculum follows a pattern and I love it! We don’t have the same posters up every year. Just a little factoid: Dollar Tree carries excellent posters and graphics for the classroom – Two in a pack for only $1! How awesome, right?!
- In between all of that and the other million and one things I NEED to do, I am putting our entire lesson plans into Homeschool Tracker! I absolutely love this program and the best part – It’s FREE!