Homeschool Reset 2021 (Day 1)
Let me tell you something- I’ve given myself permission to not spend breaks or holidays doing school prep.
Actually, one of the things that I didn’t like about the idea of teaching in the classroom full time is that teachers have to use their breaks to plan and prep instead of just enjoying their families and resting…And so as a homeschool teacher, this is something I’ve decided that I’d like to do differently.
So now that my break is over and I’m feeling (kind of) rested, I’m going to spend this week preparing for the upcoming semester-focusing on just one thing per day.
I thought it would be nice to invite you into this process to share a bit about what I do and what works for me as I reset my homeschool for a new semester.
Each day this week, you’ll get an email like this, that will simply share with you what I’m doing to reset my homeschool for this new semester. I’ll try to share some pictures but no promises, as I often forget to take them! Hehe.
So today is Day #1 and I’m focusing on getting my family on board and taking inventory. We are going to be talking about getting our families onboard more at The State of Black Homeschool this weekend, but basically, I’m saying to my crew, “Get excited! We are going to organize!” I try to make a big hurrah over refreshing and resetting so that my youngin’ is more eager to lend helping hands. My husband loves when this place is all together, so he’s already on board.
To take inventory, I’m pulling out all the things and setting them aside for when I’m ready to work on them this week. Normally, this would just be school stuff BUT this time, I’m pulling out the toys for reorganizing (read: purging), too, because we’ve got a post-holiday toy problem…but more on that later this week.
And that’s really it for today-I’m getting my boys excited and I’m putting books, toys, and pretty much anything that I know isn’t organized the way I want it to be in piles for me to go through and reset this week. My goal for this week is to make major impact in a low-stress way which is why I’m only doing one, bite-sized task each day.
My hope is that this encourages you to take the time to reset too or that at least you like looking through my pictures knowing that my homeschool space gets jacked up, too.
Anyway, I’m excited to share about my journey this week, and next week, I’ll invite you into joining me (for free, of course) to plan for the upcoming semester. But let me stop before I get ahead of myself. 🙂
Welp, until tomorrow remember that-
You’re phenomenal mama,
P.S: Are you resetting this week, too? How are you easing back into homeschool? I’d love to hear ideas as I’m prepping. Also, you can register for The State of Black Homeschool in one-click just by clicking here.
Homeschool Reset 2021 (Day 2)
Phew, mama. I was able to get started on Day 2 of my homeschool reset last night so that I could share a few pictures with you. Day 2 is all about organizing our learning space. I like to start with getting our workspace in order because it makes it feel like it’s time for school again…you know what I mean? It helps us all get in the mood for teaching and learning and is really an invitation to our children-I’ll share more on that below.
So, I know that you probably experience this too- because we are homeschoolers, organizing our homeschool space can easily mean, like, cleaning the whole house. And let me just be clear- that’s NOT what I’m doing. LOL. I don’t got time for that, today! Instead, I am focusing on our primary learning areas.
First, I am focusing on spaces where daily work takes place-like where he is reading, writing, coloring, etc. The question, I’m asking myself today is, “How can I make it easy?” By this, I mean that I don’t want some good math work to be sidetracked by him needing to walk across the room to find an eraser, ya feel me? I want him to quickly be able to grab a pencil, crayon, or whatever, and so I’ve put those things in the top drawer next to his desk. In the drawer below I’ve added our daily activities like number counting, name tracing, etc.-again to make it easy for him to quickly take out and put away these things since we use them every day. So, here my focus is on organizing and arranging items based on the frequency of use and accessibility.
The other part of what I’m doing today is what I love most- creating inviting learning spaces. Now by inviting, I don’t mean, “Oh that’s cute, let me snap a picture!” ( but if it is cute, I will snap a picture, heyyy); but rather, “Oh, that book looks interesting! Let me pick it up.” I want our space to be more than just organized and pretty, I want it to be inviting. So to do this, I’m putting books on display in strategic spaces around the house. I’m also making sure that activities that I want to encourage (like puzzles and coloring) are laid out and at eye-level.
For my toddler, I put an Etch-A-Sketch on the bottom shelf (which is chest-level for him) so that he can walk up and start “writing.” My whole goal is to remove barriers to access, so for my elementary kid, I’ve got a coloring book open with markers already laid out. I know it may sound a little kooky, but I’m telling you it works. A well-crafted learning space is an invitation for learning (and teaching). And today, my reset is all about making it easy for my kids to fall into learning.
Aaaaaand, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow, I’m going to focus on how I can help myself fall into teaching. Until then, make sure you register for The State of Black Homeschool. We start Friday and I’ve got some wonderful homeschoolin’ mamas that are going to encourage us and share their stories as we go into 2021. Get registered here.
You’re phenomenal mama,
P.S: I love journeying with you. Thank you for letting me share a bit of my story and how we do things. Next week, The Village will be opened (for free) for us to journey more together. I’ll share more soon.
P.P.S: I love when y’all write back. So tell me in the comments are you schoolin’ or organizing this week? Responding to you will be my favorite reason to procrastinate.
Okay, I’m going back into the trenches. Xoxo.
Homeschool Reset 2021 (Day 3)
Soooo, I didn’t finish yesterday, but I did make progress! I was able to finish with the invitational spaces but still have a lot of work to do on ‘em toys. I am going to work on it a bit each day and will post an update when it’s all done. Even still, I’m taking the next step to reset today which is all about organizing my teacher resources.
Though our homeschool space is small (like 2-bedroom apartment small), it’s important to me to have a space that inspires me to get myself together, plan, and show up for my kids. Unfortunately, this is also the first space to get messed up, but that’s where I hope my new system is going to help (more on that below).
So for my resources, I’m focusing on taking inventory and organizing what I have. And I’m actually REALLY excited about this because I’m trying out a new system. I just got this little instant camera, like a Polaroid, and plan to take a picture of my resources as I organize and store them. Then, I’m going to organize the photos of my resources into a binder so that when I’m like, “What do I have that can help me teach these fractions?” I can easily flip to the “math page” of my resources binder and take a look at what I have without having to pull everything out. I’m hoping that this is going to help me keep my resources organized (at least a little longer), and to help me really take advantage of all the resources I have.
Is it gonna work? We’ll have to see. Hehe. I keep reminding myself that every time I rework an idea or process, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m simply learning from what worked and didn’t work before and that’s worth celebrating.
Today is especially important for me to get my stuff together because next week after The State of Black Homeschool (you can register here), I’m going to be journeying with mamas to cast our vision for the semester (you’re invited- of course!). It’ll be a lot easier for me to set my own goals and vision with my space organized.
Anyway, I’d love to hear what works for you as it relates to organizing my mama teaching space, so write back with any ideas or tips that you have!
And just in case you forgot-
Mama, you’re phenomenal.
Homeschool Reset 2021 (Day 4)
Can you tell me how I’m behind and we haven’t even started classes yet? 😩 No, but forreal. Actually, I want to thank you because writing you has been motivating me to keep making progress because I really just want to lay down and nap. hehe.
So, now that I’ve got the house *mostly* organized, I’m shifting my focus to planning for this upcoming month. I use a methodology called Backwards Design which is a 3-step process that is used in education to help plan with intention. Here’s the quick rundown on how it works: First, you set your goals, second you determine how you know when that goal has been accomplished, and finally you choose your learning activities (what you are going to do each day). Most of us (me included) want to get started at step 3, by choosing what we are going to do, but how can we know what to do if we haven’t set our goals yet? So that’s where I’m starting today-I’m setting our learning goals for this month.
To set our goals, I am considering a few things. As it relates to academics, I’m taking a peek at what our curriculum has slated for us and reviewing my son’s results from his academic testing for homeschoolers. I’m also thinking about what character growth I’d like to encourage over this next month along with what life skills, habits, and spiritual principles I’d like to instill. It’s not that complicated but does take time. This year in The Village, the sisters and I will be doing monthly goal setting together and I’m looking forward to that because then I’ll be sure to get it done!
After I set the goals, I’m going to answer the question, “How will I know when this goal has been accomplished?” This question is step two of Backwards Design and is a lot easier to answer for the academic goals, so I’ll give a quick example. Say, I look at my son’s test results and it says he needs to work on identifying which number is greater when given two numbers between 0 and 10. Boom, that’s my goal.
Then, I need to determine how I will know when he has actually learned this-or what’s my evidence that learning has taken place. So I can use a worksheet as evidence or I can get creative and say that we will play the card game I Declare War and that if he can correctly identify which card is greater at least 85% of the time, that he has learned the concept. Make sense?
Honestly, while this method is super effective in helping us see progress in our homeschool, it is also easier when I’ve got some space to think and that time is limited these quarantine days. So, I’ll probably wait to work on this tonight once the kids have gone down.
And that’s my focus today! I’m diving into the things I’ve organized to set goals and determine my evidence for when those goals have been met. Phew, phew. I’m making progress, sis!
Also, remember that if you want to enjoy some lovely melanated community, you want to be sure to register for The State of Black Homeschool and join us next week in The Village. Both are free and I promise will encourage and equip you to keep on keepin’ on in this journey.
Mama Phenomenal, thanks for journeying with me.