If you are like me, you love the idea of starting off on a clean slate. For me, it's clean walls. In the last 24 hours, I've cleaned out our classroom closet and taken inventory of all the items that we have on hand, and likewise, created a moderate list of the items we will need for our next school year. I've cleaned our walls of all posters and in doing so, I also organized our classroom graphics and posters by category in hopes that next year, when I am searching for that one poster I just know I have, I will be able to find it before we do the lesson, rather than stumbling upon it a week after we have finished.
Does that mean, it's over?
But that is another post in itself. This is about getting your homeschool classroom ready for a new year and it starts with a deep clean. But you can't clean until you are tidy. Along with cleaning up and storing away, I have also made a hefty to-do list of the other things that i feel need to be done so that we will start our next school year off on the right foot.
1. Tidy the classroom library and update classroom catalog of books we have.
A. Select books to be donated to the local Little Free Library
B. Update list of books I'm looking for and take advantage of local yard/garage sales, as well as library book sales to snag good deals.
2. Clean out the filing cabinet.
A. OK. Let's be honest. Most parents may not have a filing cabinet to store curricula, student portfolios, etc. We do, and with that comes the tedious task of cleaning it out. Purging unnecessary papers and documents, securing transcript documents and report cards for the previous year, etc. This job can easily become a full day's work. So how do I keep my sanity? I do one drawer each day. This allows me time to go through each drawer without the fear of throwing away everything all at once, but rather, moving something to another drawer to 'ponder' on whether or not I need it. If I cannot come up with a valid reason for holding onto it by the last day/drawer - File 13! Additionally, this allows me to refresh my memory on what all I have to work with and what I may need to get more of, such as math worksheets/drills, language/grammar worksheets, folder games, etc.
3. Rid the PC's of unnecessary or no longer needed files.
A. Each of our kids have access to their own computer. Likewise, they are able to download items over the course of the year. With that freedom comes the insane task of cleaning up the pc's each year to get their systems running properly and to free up space. This also allows me the opportunity to do a complete scan of their systems to ensure they are free of malware/spyware and viruses. We use free software downloaded from the Internet and often do simple scans during the course of the school year. By doing a complete scan at the end of the year, it ensures we have adequate running systems come fall.
4. Deep cleaning.
A. Get out the Lysol, some bleach, or your favorite cleaning solution (we often use vinegar and baking soda - inexpensive, no harsh fumes, and my-my, does it rid the room of odors). Cleaning the room early not only rids your space of germs, but it allows you to spend less time cleaning when you begin your classes again and helps you prepare for when you being decorating for the upcoming year. It also gives you the opportunity to consider other arrangements within your room. If you are like our family, your space is limited, and finding a way to benefit each person in the room through a little rearranging can prove a difficult task. Needless to say, play with your rooms layout and find the arrangement that works for you.
5. Lastly, enjoying the break.
A. While we still have about 5 weeks of school left at our house, I am slowly starting to get those 'school's almost out' tingles that I love so much. Not because I do not like homeschooling, but because it is a sign of starting new - a growing - if you will, that reminds me of how little time our children are actually little. A time of reflection over the year. A walk down memory lane.
What better way to rejoice the end of the school year than with the opening of our homemade time capsule! We created it our very first week of homeschooling two years ago. Because my youngest son is going into the fourth grade, he was the youngest to have placed any items in the capsule. Likewise, our eldest, who was in the 10th grade at the time, and who will be graduating in just a few short weeks, might also enjoy seeing some of her things.
Is it over? Not by a long shot. Is it time for a much needed and well-deserved break? You bet!
Until next time,