Planning Together

Introducing the Emergency Homeschool Organizational Management System

Planning together helps when the school day starts before you do.

It has happened to me several times: Friday comes and we enthusiastically greet the weekend. "I'll plan next week's lessons over the weekend," I think.


Next thing I know, the alarm clock is ringing Monday morning and I never found a moment to plan. Sound familiar to anyone else?

Meanwhile, the kids are up and at it. The oldest is taking all morning in the bathroom, while the youngest has his bed made and is at his desk wondering what math lesson to do. The middle child wants to do her science experiment.

"Aren't we starting the new unit on electricity today?" she asks.

Oh yeah, the electricity unit! I do not have anything ready for the electricity unit study. Where did the weekend go?

This is when we start the Emergency Homeschool Organizational Management System. It starts with The Huddle. You know, you have seen it on football, except we don't have to bend over.

"Okay, kids I'm not quite ready for the homeschool day, and I'm going to need your help."

"Kid One: I want you to look through our books and see what resources we have on hand for electricity. Put them on the unit study pile I started over there already.

"Kid Two: Do an internet search for the three best websites on power and electricity. Make a comparison chart of the value of each, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

"Kid Three: Get our Great Science Experiments With Common Household Items book. Look for the electricity experiments and make a pile in this laundry basket of all common items in the experiment that you can find in the house. Whoever wrote this book seems to keep a strange set of common items in her home. Make a list of items we don't have, and text message them to your father to get on his way home tonight.

"Kid Four: Look in the Teacher's Guide for our curriculum and see what library books they recommend for this unit. We'll take it to the library when we go tonight.

"These assignments should take each of you half an hour. At the end of the half hour, finish your chores. While you are doing that, I'm going to get the math and English assignments for the week done. We'll meet back on this couch in one hour.

Everyone got it? Set your watches, now go!"

The Emergency Homeschool Organizational Management System actually taught me something. Planning together improved results. The kids did better when they had distinct assignments to do in order to plan their own units.

If I said, "Everyone write your own goals for a study on electricity," I'd get blank stares. But give them a distinct task and the ability to contribute, and the electricity really does flow. (Literally!)

If you are planning unit studies, the types of activities described above can help produce the resources used. The students often have ideas we likely would have overlooked.

Later, that night or the next morning, when the next phase of unit study planning begins, they will have more to contribute. They already have some ideas of what they will study and want to accomplish.

Even if you don't use unit studies, the same system can be used. Give the students organizational tasks when you need some time for administrative duties. These tasks can be The more you gather their assistance in planning together and organizing, the better their education will be.

When I Work, You Work

Many parents have found it effective to have a simple rule: when Mom or Dad are doing housework, they need to do housework. Yes, it may take a little more time in the early years to help them stay focused, but the time pays off later.

The Emergency Homeschool Organizational Management System described above, does the same thing. When I am doing homeschool planning, you can do some planning as well. In fact, if we do this at the beginning, there seems to be less emergencies to begin with.

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Tips for Keeping Organized and Staying Organized

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