Used With Permission
By Lakisha M. Johnson

I write mainly for newbies. Those of us that have only been home schooling for the last few years. I am a mother of five (5) sons, two of which who are already in college. Because we had children later, we have different ages in our home. Homeschooling for us, has been quite an interesting process. We aren’t a typical homeschooling household. We have a business that we run from home and I also teach for a local college. One of the key things that we have found out is staying organized is key! It can get crazy around here, if we let it! The 2 year old needs a parent to himself! So we have found preparation, organization and time management is the key thing in keeping us organized. Here are some things that we have found helpful to us during a home school week:
  1. Use Sunday evenings for planning and preparing for the upcoming week. I use calendars, pin boards and to do list. On Sunday’s, I prepare the curriculum for the entire week. That includes; printing worksheets, creating exams, preparing arts and crafts and even videos that we will watch for the week. Pre-planning eliminates a lot of stress of trying to get it together the night before. It also allows me to get to bed at a decent time. 
  2. Choose one day to grade! I created trays for my children to turn in their work. Instead of grading everyday, I grade on Sundays. This allows me to provide feedback and to also determine if we need to re-cover a subject again. The beauty of homeschooling is that we are on our own time. I had to remind myself of that at first, when I came to the realization it took some of the pressure off.
  3. Back up work for those self learners! My seven (8) year old is a self learner. We use a computer based curriculum and he rarely needs me. However, he also moves through his work more quickly. Now this sounds pretty cool, but what this means is that it gives him more time to harass his brothers. I have learned to keep a box, just for him. Different activities, arts and crafts or helpful things he can work on. This helps us to stay to our schedule and keeps him from getting the other 2 off task.
  4. Managing Time for Older Children- For our older son we created block schedule days, comparative to high school or college. Instead of working on every subject every day, he works on his block schedule. This keeps him creatively engaged and allows him to spend more time in a subject. He likes this better and works well with it. I also allowed him to set his own schedule (within certain perimeters), it works well and he has been sticking to it.
  5. Now for this two year old. My job is to keep him engaged so that his brother’s can work. This means, during the time that the older brother’s are homeschooling, I keep my attention focused on him. I have found that if I do that, he spends less time destroying the house and harassing his brothers.
  6. We have scheduled down time in the house during the day! EVERYONE MUST PARTICIPATE! This means you read, or work on puzzles. This is also the time the two (2)  year old takes a nap. This allows me to get some of the things that I need to get done during the day accomplished.  
I can’t say that what we do, will work for others but I have seen it work for us. We are usually finished with our homeschooling by 11:00-11:30 am (we start at 9:00) for the eight (8) year old and by 1:00-1:30 pm for the fifteen (15) year old. It gives plenty of time for other activities. It allows me to balance working from home, household chores and a little time for me (at nap time).
 About the Author:
LaKisha Johnson is the mother of 5 boys. Her family lives in the Little Rock area. She is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization and part-time instructor. She and her family have been home schooling for three (3) years. She and her husband home school together. 


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