This page is decicated to my children.
Organizing Your Homeschool, Daycare,
and Household . . .
Written by Pamm Clark
How is one suppose to live at home, work at home, run a child care at home, and have a school on top of that???? Where are all the tools of the jobs going to go? How do you manage it? I am no expert, but I can share what works for me. Just scroll down to the sections that interest you.
*School work for each child, including pens and pencils, Bibles, etc., fits neatly into dishpans (Walmart, under $2) on an out-of-reach shelf. This makes it easy to carry school work to the couch, kitchen table, bedroom, or where ever. It also keeps ALL school work in an easy to find spot.
*Make use of binders! I have one for curriculum I print out from the internet, one for my state information, one for Weight Watchers, one for bank statements, etc. I find the binders at yard sales and thrift stores for under $1 each.
* The obvious time to homeschool the children is during the daycare nap time. Make it a point to get those little ones sleeping at the same time. Also consider evening school and weekend school. Some things like science experiments might work better on the weekend without little ones interrupting.
*For the daycare business files, I have a file cart with four drawers under it. The cart next to my desk keeps important information such as phone numbers and required forms right at my fingertips. In each of the four drawers I have labeled:
---->Pamms' House- for any daycare receipts, etc.
---->Weekly Ads - for any shopping ads that come (I clean it out weekly when the new ads come). This has turned out as a family reference drawer--somebody is always looking to see if something is on sale.
---->Art Paper - construction paper and card stock
----> Scrap Paper- you know, those junk mail letters with blank backs, old worksheets we don't need, flyers, etc. Anything with a blank back! I use the scrap paper for lists, the kids color on it, or whatever.
*I have a hanging basket above my desk for all receipts. My whole family knows where they go and where they are.
*I got a stamp with our return address on it and another one with "For Deposit Only" and our bank account number on it. Wow! Way less writing.
*Make forms whenever possible. I have a supply request on 1/4 sheet of paper that I just circle what the child needs (diapers, wipers, formula, Tylenol, etc.)
*Get a daycare software to manage your daycare. Minute Menu Kids Pro is excellent!
*Invest in a label maker. I use mine to label files, cubbies, etc. Everything looks professional.
*Make a Master Copy and a To Copy files. You keep the masters in the masters file. When low, move the master to the To Copy file and take it with you when you run errands.
*We have a computer desk. I made a file for each family member next to the computer. I got tired of all those little slips of papers hanging around. Each family member has a "Username and Password" list in their file. The fine for looking at another family member's list is $25. This is keeping the kids out of everyone's files, and all those little slips of paper out of my way.
*I have a sign-in/sign-out station by our front door. I require every parent to sign in/out with the time and at least initials. I used to do this myself, but having the parents do it has taken a load off me! Under the top shelf is a place for diaper bags. (you can get a complete description of my sign-in station here).
*I can't tell you how much I am enjoying my gates. We used to only have some of the house gated off. Now my kitchen is gated, too. WOW! Less stress on me.
*I have a bulletin board near the playroom with a little piece of paper for each child containing their name, birth-date and who may pick up each child. This way if someone comes unexpectedly and I haven't met them before or my husband is in charge, we have a quick reference who may come for each child. (I found a leaf notepad that looks cute for these).
*We made our formal dining room into our playroom.
*In our playroom, I found a full page photo of George W. Bush in a Time mag. I bought at a thrift store. I tore it out and put it in a sheet protector and hung it up kid level. When I get all the tattling, I say, "Go tell George." It's working out great.
*Did you know you can put things up with staples???? I put up wallpaper border, posters, character cut-outs, kids' work, signs, notices, ABC cards, etc. all up with staples. We rent and it all comes down easily and you can't even tell there was a hole in the wall when it comes down (unless you do it a lot in the same spot).
*Recently, we took our old TV to the playroom and bought a second hand VCR for the playroom. What a difference! The TV is for videos only--it's not hooked up to the antenna. I use it when I'm preparing lunch or whatever. [Now days we would have it set up for Netflix.]
*I took a crib mattress and put it on the floor with a king-sized pillow for the back to make a "couch". Now there's a place to read a book or watch a video that's soft and comfortable. The infants like to learn to go up and down the 'step', too. It also gives adults a nice place to sit with the children.
*Rotate the toys. I store 1/2 the toys and change them out about every 2 weeks. I keep all the toys with pieces up and get them out one at a time (puzzles, Legos, waffle blocks, etc.)
*Make a "Toy Time-Out" box. When the children fight over the toys, put the toys in time-out for the day.
*Did you know you can line paint cups with plastic baggies? You only have to clean the lids now.
*I got some fat pencils at Staples. The kids love them.
*Wal-Mart had the no--spill bubbles 2 for $3. These are a life saver.
*Glue--I pour it in lids from the gallon milk jugs (I put the lids in the dishwasher after the milk) which give just enough glue, then have the kids paint on the glue with water color brushes. I throw the lids away or rewash them after the glue.
KITCHEN & LAUNDRY:
*Keeping up with dishes and laundry and making dinner can be a challenge. I really don't have much energy left after the children go home, so I play a game with myself: I try to get all the laundry and dishes done and dinner made BEFORE the last child leaves. I don't neglect the daycare children, I either have one of my own children read a book with them or entertain them or I delegate the job to my own children. It just takes a few minutes to unload the dishwasher, check on something on the stove, or switch a load of laundry.
--LAUNDRY: Generally I do two loads per day--that's not much and I rarely have that mountain of laundry I used to have. The clean laundry goes on my bed and I can't get in my bed until it's folded and put away.
--DISHES: One, two, or occasionally, three loads per day. I really use my dishwasher! Sometimes the kids unload or load it up. I use only stuff that doesn't have to be hand-washed--if it doesn't make it through the dishwasher, it doesn't come into the kitchen. We've even invested in a set of Teflon pots and pans that can be put in the dishwasher--way worth the energy saver for me. Usually the last load of the day gets washed as we sleep for the night.
--DINNER: I decide what's for dinner by lunchtime and start defrosting the meat for that meal then. Sometimes it's something so easy one of the kids can make it and I delegate it. Sometimes DH volunteers to make something or barbeque. I try to have everything ready by the time the last child leaves so all I have to do is enjoy the meal when work is over.
Another strategy would be to cook Leftovers On Purpose or Once-A-Month Cooking.
*I got one of those big bundle of dish rags at Kmart when they have their August sales on them (I think $5 for 20 rags). I got a different color than we have for our regular dish rags. I use them only for little faces and little hands. There's a small basket in our kitchen to toss the dirty rags into. I dump that into the washer with bleach on wash day.
*I have a separate set of dishes for daycare kids that include plastic-ware, baby spoons and forks, small plates, and sippy cups.
*Color-code the kids' sippy cups: Susie is red, Bobby is blue, Luke is green, etc. This works GREAT! Even the little ones will pick up a cup and hand it to the right child. I do this with bottles, too.
*Make use of your dishwasher! The tray to the high chairs and booster seat, the booster seat itself when I take it apart, toys, toys, toys, milk lids, toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, pen cups, small and medium file boxes, toy containers, spice racks, plastic Q-tip containers, lid to the trash can, pet bowls, pails and shovels, bubble containers and wands, paint cups, storage baskets, napkin holders, plastic CD racks, and just about anything plastic. I am willing to pay for the water and electricity to have my dishwasher wash the stuff really good once in a while, than to spend my energy doing it. (Note: I use my washing machine just as much!).
*We use the master bedroom of our house for our nap room/changing area/daycare bathroom. DH and I took a back bedroom. It's been worth it.
*Invest in cots (if you have a nap room and can leave them down all the time)! A crib sheet fits perfect over them. The kids no longer roll all over the place like they did when we had mats.
*If you have to put nap mats down daily, invest in cloth mats with pillows and blanket sewn together like this one: Wildkin Polka Dots Nap Mat. I can hold six at once and get the nap area set up in less than two minutes using these.
*Invest in a changing table! This made a huge difference in me not having to get up and down. Under the table I store extra diapers and supplies. I keep a Kleenex box filled with plastic grocery bags and use them to wrap poopy diapers before I dispose of them to keep the odor down. They are also handy for messy or wet clothes.
*I bought 2 stacking shelves at Wal-Mart for $12 each. I put them together and stacked them on top of each other--instant cubbies! They are small, but they hold a small package of daipers, a wipes box, changing pad, and any cream they may use. For older kids they hold a change of clothes great, too.