Tag Archives: summer

Homeschooling for the Routine Challenged

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I woke up this morning, as I do every morning, thinking thinking thinking. One thing led to another…and I started to have a sort of epiphany.idea

Sort of.  I’ve gone around this idea for a little while now, but I’m starting to feel like I’m formulating a sort of plan now. I need to get this down on paper (virtual paper) before I lose it. So I can refer to it later when I’m in the zone again and can use this to help me actually create something that works.

Background, for those that don’t know me. I’m EXTREMELY routine challenged. Seriously. Cannot keep to a schedule to save my life. I usually blame it on A.D.D. (which I am pretty sure I have, though not officially diagnosed), but regardless of why I cannot seem to stick to anything, I need to find a solution to the problem. Because it’s a big deal when it comes to homeschooling.

Homeschool readingNow, I’m not looking to get myself to stick to an hour by hour plan. I think we’d all hate that. But I just want to be able to get some sort of a loose plan even to work. Not that our homeschooling for the past 8 years has been a waste of time. Both my kids read, and read very well and often, they both are really good at math, and they know SO MANY things about all kinds of art, science and history topics!

So there’s not been a crappy education going on over here. I just feel like it could be so much MORE, if I could find a way to work with my weaknesses instead of against them all the time. I am exhausted from the struggle. And I know it’s just a matter of hitting on just the right formula to be able to make something work.

stick-abilitySo, that said…The ebook “Stick-ability“, by Julie Gilbert, has started to change my life.

I’ve now read it completely twice, and I plan to continue to read it over and over again as I find that it really has helped my brain start thinking about all this in a different way.

It talks about accepting who you are, especially your weaknesses, and using them instead of fighting against them.

jilagan_rabbitI am a rabbit. I’m not now and never will be a tortoise. The tortoise can stick to a schedule and day by day keep working at it, bit by bit, until he/she reaches the finish line. I cannot do that. I lose interest far too quickly and need a nap. Distraction happens constantly EVER.SINGLE.DAY. And in this day and age of the internet, I’m engulfed in distractions 24/7.

myiphoneI’m a total tech junkie, though. I LOVE LOVE LOVE technology! I live on my iPhone, I adore my laptop, I love working on websites. So I’m not interesting in ditching the internet or any of my gadgets. They are brilliant tools, and if I can just get things all sorted out, I think they could really help guide me on a new, more appropriate for me, plan. (I do need to force myself to have a timeout from Facebook for a period of time daily, though…that’s such a time sucker! But I’ll sort that out another day…for now, I’m on a roll here…)

SO, what to do? Julie says that rabbits work well with short burst sprints vs long marathon sessions. I am so the sprinter. I get engaged in something and I obsess over it for awhile, but then I inevitably lose interest, and often I’ve not actually completed anything so I get frustrated because I’ve “failed.”  But what if, like Julie suggests, I instead aim for smaller goals? Channel my energy for short term things.  Then I can actually accomplish something and feel good about myself and my accomplishments!

I do this all the time with housework. I teach my children, as I was taught by my dad, that you don’t look at the entire job. You just work at a part of it. Ignore the rest of it and focus on a very doable, smaller, section. It works every time for me.

Flyladyflylady does this as well. And from her, I’ve learned that that clean area can be your fuel to keep going. When you feel like you’re losing steam, you go look at that clean area and draw energy and drive from that accomplishment. It seriously works.

So how does this translate for homeschooling? This year I faced the fact that I just cannot do a full year’s curriculum. Meaning, if it is a curriculum that is designed to be accomplished in a full school year, I most likely will fall off the wagon in a matter of months, maybe even weeks. And then I constantly feel behind. (And an additional problem this year was that my kids just weren’t digging the curriculum we were doing, although they were WONDERFUL curricula! There’s nothing wrong with them….they just don’t fit me and my kids. But that’s a side problem.)

HomeschoolRealm.com presents: The Great Summer Purge and Clean!Now, I AM able to handle many short term goals. My Great Summer Purge and Clean is a great example. Last summer I stayed on track nearly the entire summer, and accomplished nearly all that I set out to accomplish. This was a 3 month plan. And each week and each day was broken into very doable pieces, with lots of flexibility. I felt good each day that I accomplished something. And then I felt awesome each week that I accomplished my week’s goals (or most of them.)

So maybe this is how I should approach my homeschooling. In 3 month increments. But I need to build into the plan the possibility of not accomplishing all I’m setting out to accomplish, and being ok with that. Because that’s what I did with my Summer Purge.

There were days that I didn’t do the entire job I had planned to do, and I was ok with that because everything I got done was an improvement over what I had done before (which was nothing!) Maybe I need to approach homeschooling this same way. Aim high but don’t stress if you don’t get there. And aim for smaller sprints vs long marathons, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually be able to look back at the end of the year and say “Wow! Look at all we accomplished!!”

Hm, much to think about! I’ll blog about what exactly this will look like once I’ve had a chance to mull over it some more. But now it’s past noon and I’m on day 2 of my Purge and Clean and need to get back to my house work! The refrigerator won’t clean itself! (What a cool invention that would be!)

And one last note….stay tuned for me to discuss my other great idea I’ve had recently… “Funschooling.” If I don’t get back to it, post a comment and remind me. Because you know how scattered I am. 🙂


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The Great Summer Purge /Clean/Organize

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Like many of you, I live in a house that is constant chaos. I only have 2 kids but you’d think there were a dozen from the destruction they regularly leave behind. And since organization and tidiness is not one of my innate talents, the piles of stuff continue to pile around me as I keep trying daily to get a handle on things and not succeeding.


But I never give up!!


A big reason things have gotten so out of hand is that I have a hard time multi-tasking efficiently, and during the school year, I (rightly) focus on the children’s homeschooling. But the school year is coming to an end and I HAVE to take summer off from schooling for ME, or I will never get to all the stuff I neglected throughout the year!


Before I continue…please don’t think that I am one of those permissive parents that never ask their children to lift a finger. While I’m not super strict, I’m also not lenient. My kids do have chores and I do require them to pick up after themselves….I’m just not always on top of everything right away and things get away from me.


So. At some point recently when we were having a bout of gorgeous weather….(Extreme heat is the norm here from May through Oct, but we had a couple weeks of 70s/80s and I was in heaven, since I abhor the heat)…I got inspired to plan out my summer to the nth degree. You see, once the heat kicks in, Tina shuts down. I go into a sort of summer hibernation. My inspiration and desire to do ANYTHING disappears and I spend most of those hot months being crabby and sleepy, accomplishing nothing. Keeping in mind this is HALF the friggin YEAR, and keeping in mind the continued chaos around me in my home environment…I decided it was time to do something different this year.


So I came up with a plan, quickly and completely while I was basking in the gorgeously cool weather, realizing it would be over all to soon and the malaise would soon be upon me. The plan was to create a plan to keep me busy and on task all through the heat, taking me through to the end where I would be rewarded with a finally decluttered, organized and clean house, fully prepared and energized to start a new homeschool year!!


Excited by my plan, I even scheduled in the most important areas of my house first, as I am planning another birthday party Extravaganza for mid-July…so will need relevant parts of the house done by then (bedrooms and out of the way parts of house not scheduled til after the party…we can just close those doors and keep people out.)


AND, realizing that I need time to plan for the new school year, I planned 4 weeks into my summer for homeschool planning at the end, leading up to the first day of school!


Sounds like a great plan, right? I think so! I’m jazzed! Immediately wanted to get started on it, but had to wait till we completed the school year.


So here’s some more specifics, for those who might be inspired to join me in my newly dubbed “Great Summer Clean and Purge”!


Step 1: First, I sat down with good old fashioned paper and pen and mapped out my house into zones (Flylady style)20130603-092231.jpg
Step 2: I determined exactly when was the start and end of my summer and how much time that allowed me to work.
Step 3: I divided the zones evenly among the weeks I had, combining smaller zones like bathrooms, entryway, laundry room, etc so everything would fit in the time allowed.
Step 4: Next, I went one-by-one through each week’s zone(s) and broke each zone into subzones, covering every square inch. i.e.: (In bedroom) dresser, bureau, closet, floor, windows/sills, ceiling fan, night stand, walls.
Step 5: Then I divided these subzones evenly among the 7 days I had allotted for that zone, keeping more complicated areas by themselves and coupling simpler areas together. I also kept in mind that I may have weeks I’ll peter out before the end of the week or things will interfere with the plan so I scheduled the most important subzones first.


As I planned all this, I realized that everything won’t always go as planned, and ANYTHING I do will be an improvement! Not attempting perfection here. Taking the house apart in bite-sized pieces allows me to not be overwhelmed by the hugeness of the job, and gives me a very doable way to accomplish a lot, even if it doesn’t all get done. Hopefully I WILL get most done, but I’m allowing for the slip-ups and getting off track that are inevitable. Probably will poop out at times too.


I also decided that if I didn’t finish the day’s assignment by the end of the assigned day that I would just move on. No falling behind and piling up of work…just KEEP MOVING! “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” 🙂


So, if all goes as planned, my entire house should be pretty spiffy and lighter from clutter in just a couple months! If you’d like to join me, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Ah, summer…

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We recently finished our first school year at a homeschool charter, and had a truly wonderful year! I’m very glad I made the decision to sign my kids up! So many wonderful free resources available! But one thing is kind of a drag: recording everything remotely educational we do. So I made the decision to take the summer off from homeschooling so I can enjoy not having to constantly look at everything we do through educational glasses. What a relief!

I did decide to continue math, though…as neither of my kids finished their books and I still have some catching up to do with Maeven. Plus math is one of those things that slips young minds if you aren’t regularly using it…so they need the continual practice, I think.

So this is to be the summer of catching up. Catching up on math for them, and everything else for me.

I am on the board at our local kids science center, and co-head of the committee (of 2) to plan out new exhibits for the soon-to-be newly opened museum, so that is important for me to get worked on over summer. Big job. HUGE job!

AND…I have an upcoming birthday party to plan for my soon-to-be 7yr old son (we do birthdays big!)

AND…I need to plan out the upcoming school year and totally reorganize the school room/art area (which is thrashed).

Not to mention all the housework that I’m constantly behind on and the children I must keep entertained.

Sigh. I’m exhausted just thinking on all I have to do!

And on top of everything, it’s hot. WAY hot, as the Central Valley (CA) tends to be from May through October. Bleh. We’re talking days on end of upper 90s-low 100s bleh. And me cranky in extreme heat. And a poorly insulated house with sky rocket energy bills on an already stretched to the max budget. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention the money woes. Well, enough whining already.

So….time for me to up my game and kick in all my creative juices and A.D.D. hyper focus and get these jobs underway so I can feel good about jobs well done and not constantly stress about how much I suck at multitasking!

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