Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Before the Boxes Arrive ~ K12 Speaker Series

Today I attended my first online K12 Seminar with Lori Beverage and Heidi Higgins. It was really good! Up until now when I've thought about the upcoming school year, this has been my response:

"Ahhhhhhhhhh ..................................."

Yeah. That about sums it up!

So I was grateful for today's seminar because it gave me the kick in the pants I needed and taught me just exactly what needs to be done "before the boxes arrive". And I'm going to try to share what I learned with you!

Your To Do List:

Family Routine:
  • Think about what might work for your family and plan for it.
  • Be flexible and don't expect your days to go exactly as planned.
  • Your first priority should always be to your husband and your children.
  • Household chores, laundry, dishes and all those things are just distractions from what's really important.
Phone/Door Messages:
  • Let callers know that you are busy homeschooling your children between the hours of ... and to call back later.
  • Leave a note on your door that you aren't available until after school is done.
  • Don't let yourself get distracted by callers on the phone or at the door!
Trim Down Outside Activities & Obligations
  • Learn to say "no" when you get those inevitable calls for you to help.
  • Limit your childrens activities also to those things that are most important.
Family Preparations
  • Family councils or planning sessions prior to school starting can help children, spouse and extended family members come to understand what might be expected once school starts.
Home Preparations
  • Food prep ~ you'll have children home all day so you'll need snacks and lunches planned for. Consider crockpot dinners ~ these will help make dinner run more smoothly plus they make your house smell yummy!
  • Location for books and school supplies. Where will you put all of your materials? Book shelf? Loose bins? There is no set way to do this, you just need to find what works for you.
  • Distractions ~ turn off the T.V. and set aside the remote. Put away all things that might tempt your children away from their studies.
  • Clutter ~ this is another distraction thing, but the more clutter/distractions, the more difficult it is to concentrate on the school work.
  • Laundry ~ this can be a major hurdle for a lot of families. Consider letting your children do their own laundry! If you're not ready for that, at least work on it together so you don't carry the burden of all the work on your own.
  • Chores ~ the same goes for chores. Be generous in considering what your children might be able to do to help with the daily chores.
What Space You Will Use:
  • You will need access to your computer.
  • You'll need space to spread out.
  • Some families spread out to the couch, using T.V. trays even for their work. Some use the kitchen table, while others have rooms or offices set aside for their use.
  • In the end, do whatever works!
Materials You Will Need:
  • You'll need regular school supplies, including pencils, notebooks and loose leaf paper, etc.
Time You Will Spend:
  • Print daily or weekly schedules for you to share with your children.
  • Make meals a part of your schedule, i.e. snack time is at 10:30, etc.
  • Be careful not to over schedule!
  • Consider using a dry erase marker on your window or sliding door to write out the schedule.
  • has an education plan for your children which you can print out. Add daily chores and other activities like piano practice.
  • Be sure to have a cut-off point when you'll be done school for the day and it doesn't drag on and on.
  • Consider calling this your kids' Ticket to Freedom, as Heidi calls it ~ when your kids have completed their tasks for their day, they're free~
Best Strategies:
  • Plan your school days at the best time for your family, not what works for other people or traditional school. It's all about you and your family.
  • Plan 'down-time' activities.
  • Make your plan in advance of school starting, so it's ready to go as soon as you need it.
  • Plan your meals and snacks in advance.
  • Read your education objectives so your goals can be renewed in your mind.
  • Materials prep ~ be prepared for each day, it will help you to stay on top of things.
  • Don't loose sight of the the PLAN (see Family Routine.)
  • Have Fun!
  • Read.
  • Have a list of friends you can call or talk to online when things get tough.
  • Go to the OLS (online school on for help.
  • See the online tutorials for help.
  • Take advantage of yahoo groups ~ you can see the link for the K12 group in my sidebar, but you could also search for k12 groups in your state for more local groups.
Contingency Plans:

You will have your bad days. Or days when school doesn't run to so well, or you're not running so well - or your kids.
  • Re-evaluate your priorities.
  • Help someone else ~ service.
  • Do some different sort of work, preferably physical work, like gardening or household chores.
  • Focus on your health. Exercise. Play.
  • Read good books together.
  • Have a good support group of friends for yourself and your children.
  • Music ~ put on some fun, happy music to do your chores to.
  • Endurance ~ hang on! Think and act positively and your children will follow suit (plus you'll feel better too.)
  • Goals ~ keep your progress sheet handy.
Most of all, 'down days' are a great opportunity for you to model how you can overcome life's challenges!

Lori encouraged us to remember to have fun. She discouraged us from becoming 'box checkers' - so focused on completing the work that we forget what we're doing this for. Enjoy the journey!