Organizational Tips for Homeschooling Moms

From lesson plans to test prep to customized classwork and grading homework, a homeschooling mom is busy before the school day even starts. 

While busy is a blessing, organization is key to transforming busy into stress-free productivity. See how a homeschool mom of five plans her way to homeschooling success!

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BLOGGER TAKEOVER: TLP vs. LP with Simply Learning

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Kaitlyn is the wife & mother behind Simply Learning, which was created from her desire to meaningfully engage on a daily basis with her two daughters. It features modern, hassle-free learning curriculums that are designed with the busy mom in mind. Her goal is to always make learning manageable + fun!

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I’ve found that one of the most important keys to successfully managing school at home is staying organized. As we are inching closer to the start of our school year, it’s essential that I stay on top of all of the busy details of our life. I’ve had the challenge of not only organizing our family activities, but also creating and planning a year’s worth of learning units for my preschooler.

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My Erin Condren planners have been such a blessing in this area of my life! I used the Teacher Lesson Planner last school year and loved all of the space it gave me to plan our Tot School activities. Since I homeschool, there are a few pages that aren’t applicable to our family, but overall, this is an amazing planner! I loved using the graphing pages to track my daughter’s progress, and the large calendar pages allowed me to jot down the daily projects I wanted to complete with her. My favorite accessories for the TLP are the stickers and the bookmarks. The stickers were a great way to not only keep track of different units and projects, but they also make spotting big events (like birthdays or vacations!) easy. The bookmarks are incredibly helpful since I constantly find myself flipping back and forth between different months of the school year.

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Another item that I love are small moveable “flags”. When I’m not sure which week I want to plan something, or if a project date is not set in stone, the flags allow me to easily move things around as need be. Over the past year, I truly began to love planning out our weeks and the final calendar is always so bright, fun and eye catching!

Over the summer I made the decision to try out the Life Planner this time around. I wanted to create a more structured schedule for my girls and allot specific hours to “school activities”. The hourly layout seemed to perfectly match what I was looking for. While I do miss the large calendar pages in the TLP, I really enjoy having detailed, hourly pages. I can track our appointments, playdates and lesson plans – all in one place!

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Another attractive quality about the Life Planner is it’s smaller size. We stayed at home a lot last year because I was juggling a toddler and a newborn, but now we try to get out of the house 2-3 times a week. I needed a planner that could easily fit in my diaper bag so that I could keep track of appointments on the go. I again love utilizing the many forms of Erin Condren bookmarks and the snap in Dashboards are a lifesaver when it comes to meal and grocery planning.

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The Erin Condren Back To School collection was recently released and I grabbed a few fun goodies for myself. Since I have the smaller Life Planner, I got the flamingo notebook to keep track of any extra notes or planning that I need to do. I also chose one of the lunch totes so that we could quickly pack healthy snacks for our weekly playdates. The Teacher Lesson Planner and the Life Planner are the two best planners I have ever experienced. They are incredibly well laid out – it just comes down to personal preference and what your needs are when deciding which would be best for you. Now that I’ve experienced both, my plan is to return to the Teacher Lesson Planner when my girls enter their elementary years. At that point I will need the extra space that the TLP provides.

I love making new friends and sharing our life with others. Come say hello!

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Blogger Takeover: Wildflowers & Marbles

Well hello from down south! My name is Jennifer Mackintosh. I’m a busy mom of 5 kids, a blogger, homeschooler to my 5 kids (yep! from preschool to high school!), a speaker, laundry aficionado, a wine and coffee devotee, and a planner addict- thus…a huge Erin Condren fan! 

Nine years ago I decided to start blogging! At the time, blogging was this new, exciting format that everyone was eager to try. I started writing about homeschooling, how my faith informed my days, planning, and organizing – just the core values of my life. I really wanted to show the beauty within our ordinary day – and how pretty the practical can be!

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When I started blogging, I only had two kiddos…and in trying to come up with a catchy blog name I began to think about my day. That morning my daughter brought me a fistful of wildflowers, and I had (once again) washed a pocketful of marbles in my son’s laundry. Wildflowers & Marbles. Practical and pretty.  

 

In the years since I started blogging I’ve had three more children, expanded my blog, started speaking at homeschool conferences and remodeled my home. Blogging became a way that I could connect with other moms and share about all the ordinary, practical things in my life – like planning, organizing, making home and homeschooling – and how those things can be both beautiful and necessary to contain the chaos! I love how days, when they are considered, allow for margin – that unplanned space around the edges of the day. Planning allows me to react less, and live more.

 

I found Erin Condren a few years ago – almost by accident! I was searching for a better planner and came across a review of an Erin Condren LifePlanner™. I bought my first LifePlanner™ and fell in love – it met all the practical needs of my day, was flexible enough to roll with our craziness, and did it all in such a pretty way! Since then, I’ve developed a real love for Erin Condren products because they perfectly combine my very real practical daily needs without ever forgetting that practical can be pretty. It’s an extraordinary marriage and you’ll find Erin Condren all over my desk, home and homeschool – and I still live out of my LifePlanner™! 

 

I use notebooks as a planning tool for myself and as my commonplace book for collecting quotes from favorite books, and I use the Teacher Planner to keep up with all of my homeschool record keeping and the plans & booklists for our Morning Basket time (we spend about an hour every day reading aloud together – all the ages/grades – it’s a great common time for beginning the day!).

 I use the file folders to help corral all the paper stuff in record keeping, and in the last year I have fallen in love with the Erin Condren acrylic (plus they’re having a big sale on the whole category!)

Those acrylic clipboards are fabulous (and the colors just POP!). Each of my kids has a clipboard to hold that child’s weekly lesson plans, and since they’re all customizable, every child gets a favorite color with a favorite quote – no more lost lesson plans because they easily stand out! I mean, who doesn’t color code their kids? I love using my own set of clipboards above my desk to contain my goals and project lists – make your walls work for you!

I use the acrylic boxes for just about everything – to contain pens, desk supplies, craft supplies, and my favorite use: my recipe box

 

The acrylic trays help me contain small collections and I love the interchangeable inserts – I use one acrylic tray to hold my personal reading and homeschool stack, and I love using one in my laundry room for holding odds and ends on the dryer (the little rubber feet on the tray keep it in place perfectly)! 
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I love encouraging and sharing – especially when it comes to planning and organizing! You can find me in a few other places around the web besides my blog! I’m on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest! I’d love it if you stopped by – wave hello if you do!