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Friday, October 2, 2009

Organizing My Week: 5 Kids, Homeschooling, Public Schooling & Preschool

At this time, I have one public school Nut, one Homeschooled Nut and one Little Nut Nut in Preschool. They all have different schedules, which can get hectic and overwhelming. They all start their day the same way though, bright and early, first thing in the morning. When I first came up with this plan, I wasn’t Homeschooling any of the Nuts, but I am finding that this way of organizing my week is just as helpful for homeschool as it is for public or preschool.

School starts early and sometimes getting up and out the door can be a difficult, even crazy way to start your day. I have a few tips that will make waking up on the wrong side of the bed a thing of the past and even give you a few extra minutes to sleep in for a little bit of extra rest.

Believe it or not, getting your kids ready for school starts on a Sunday afternoon. You need to have your laundry at least clean for the week, (it does not even have to be folded and put away) and your grocery shopping for the week done by Sunday afternoon. In addition, you can let your children help you get their things ready. This will help you get done faster as well as give them responsibility and self-confidence.

A list of things you will need, to help you save time and money:
  • Lunch Box
  • Thermos
  • Sandwich Box
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Pretzels, Etc.
  • Snack Bags or snack containers
  • Days of the week pill box
  • Clean Clothes
  • Day of the Week Clothing Organizer
  • About an Hour on a Sunday Afternoon
  • An extra shelf in a kitchen cupboard
  • Or a large basket or bowl on the kitchen counter
  • Space in your fridge
For lunches and snacks, you will need a shelf in one of your cupboards to store everything for the week. This includes parts of lunches, snacks, napkins, juice boxes, vitamins, medications or anything else your child may need. I like to tape exact instructions of everything needed for lunches and snacks in case something comes up and I have family members helping. It is also good to have a list to double-check yourself so you do not forget anything if things get hectic. If you do not have a cupboard you can spare, a nice decorative basket or large bowl on the counter works too. Your list can be attached to the fridge or inside of a close cupboard.

You can save a lot of money by packing your child's lunch, but it can be a time consuming part of the morning. You can save time by packing 75% of your child's lunch ahead of time. I like to pack pretzels and carrots, grapes or apples, and cheese for my children's lunches. Portion out 5 snack bags of pretzels for each of your children. Portion out 5 snack bags of carrots or grapes for each of your children. If it is on sale, I will buy string cheese to save time, but usually I will cut chunks of cheese instead. Block cheese is usually cheaper than string cheese. If you want to send apples, it is best to wait and cut them up the night before and then put them in the fridge. The pretzels will go in the cupboard with the napkins and juice boxes. The cheese and fruits or veggies can go in the fridge, I like to put them in the deli drawer, but you can put them in a bowl or on the door too.

You can pack any snacks the same way. This works if you have young children, or older kids who need a quick snack between classes. Pack 5 bags of pretzels, goldfish, animal crackers, or whatever works for your family for each child. These snacks will go in the cupboard or basket for the week. I also find this is great for my homeschooler, who can now go to the cupboard or fridge and grab a ready made snack in between lessons while I take care of the babies.

I used to send juice boxes with my children for lunch, but now I use a thermos. I found that is saves money and space. I fill up their thermoses with milk the night before and put them in the fridge.

I bought one of those Days of the Week organizer drawers from Lowes. It was a bit pricey, but that is what works for us. It only has drawers for Monday-Friday, though and I wish I could have found a dresser with all 7 days of the week. You can find Days of the Week organizers that hang on the inside of a closet door too, and those usually have all 7 days. We choose the larger drawers so that my three older children can share the space. They each have their own third of each drawer. These drawers are great for younger kids too, to help them learn to read and know the days of the week. I do not always have time to get all of the laundry folded and put away in their bedroom, but as long as it is clean, I can get my kids clothes picked out for the week.

If your children take vitamins or are on any medications, it helps to have the Days of the Week pillboxes for each child. Sort out each child's vitamins and meds, keep them in the kitchen out of reach of children, and make sure to label each child's box so they do not end up with the wrong medications or vitamin dosage.

I Use a dry erase board to write out the schedule of everything that will happen during the next week. This would include the school day, homeschool lessons, after school activities or any appointments any one in the family might have.

That is it, you are done for the day and can go hang out with your kids. When it is time to get the kids ready for school, everything is already half done.

During the week, if your child needs a bath, it is best to do it at night before bedtime. To help kids make it through the morning, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and is in bed at the same time every night.

In the morning before school, try to get up 1/2 hour before the kids do, to start packing lunches and get something for yourself to eat and a cup of coffee or helps, believe me. This is also the best time to pack lunches for your children.

Packing lunches is now so much easier, quickly grab the pre-packed bags of grapes and pretzels, a napkin, the thermos of milk or juice, a bag of cheese, or a piece of string cheese and toss them all in the lunch box. All you have to make is a sandwich and put it in the sandwich box, toss it in the lunch box and you are done. The lunch box goes into the kids backpacks and packing lunches just became a quick and easy way to save money. If you are using snack bags, you can ask your children to bring home the snack bags to reuse.

While you are making breakfast for your children, they can go and get themselves dressed. I like to make a quick breakfast shake. The breakfast shake is quick and easy to make and just as quick to drink. This is my recipe.

While your children are eating, you can give them their vitamins and/or meds. You can also put toothpaste on their toothbrushes, and this really cuts down on time especially if you have young children.

Your kids can go straight from eating breakfast to brushing their teeth.

If there is time, your children can go and quickly make their beds. One of my children insists on making his bed as he is getting up and the other one likes to make it after he is ready for school.

Get their, shoes, coats and hats lined up for them and when they are done with everything else they can go straight to putting these things on.

We keep a few books on the couch by the front door and if they have extra time, they will sit down and read or look at books.

On an average day, it takes me about 1/2 hour to get my kids ready for school, but I have been able to get them ready and out the door in 10 minutes before when we have all overslept. Children thrive on structure and schedules, some more than others, so if you keep to the same routine everyday it really helps move things along in the morning.


Brianne said...

I am sorry if this comes through multiple times!! Anyway its too funny that I was reading your post( and taking notes!) when my phone buzzed that I got a comment from you about this! Ha! I like the idea of having all the snacks ready by sunday. I only have one to get out the door but my youngest also needs to eat and get dressed. And I need to make my husband lunch too. We have been doing lunches at night and that has helped, I usually just have one or two things to do with that in the am. My daughter takes water to school, but she needs a lunch water and an snack water. I do that in the am too because her cups are in the dishwasher overnight! I agree about routines, my kids do well with them too. My daughter does get easily distracted though so I keep having to move her a long! I too need to learn how to get ready faster. I have to shower and all that fun stuff in the am, so that weighs in on the morning. We are getting better but still my daughter doesn't have to be in school until 8:55 and its only one. Good tips!

Lisa Curcio said...


Yeah, getting the younger ones ready can really take up some time. I take the kids to school because our bus drivers are looney, I don't trust them at all with my children. So it is 5 kids ready to drop two off at two different schools. We tried getting ready the night before, but honestly, by the end of the day the last thing I want to do is get ready for tomorrow lol. My oldest is the hardest to get out the door, very easily distracted, his ADHD shines through first thing in the morning. We have to be out the door by 7:50 to make it to school in time, by the time I load up all the kids, we are lucky to get there on time. Good luck, I hope this helps you :)

Frugal Vicki said...

I am stopping by from SITS, just wanted to let you know that I was here! You make me feel sane, so I will be back often!

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