January 05, 2006

ORDER and "The Organized Homeschooler"

1 Corinthians 14:33 ... "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace"...


What I need is some order in my life! I rely heavily on lists and calendars (my friends often mistake this for being organized and comment to me as such - but if only they knew how much I need them!). I mean, what good is a list or a calendar when you forget to look at them? Blame it on the ADD, the lack of coffee, even the cat... but let's face it, we all could use some help in this area (and if not, then please do NOT comment... it will only make me feel like a looser). Meal planning, homeschooling, and life in general... there really has to be a written list to help you get it all done. The kids and I are about to plunge in to the ORDERLINESS Unit in our KONOS curriculum, and I'm hoping it not only shapes my little ones up, but their mom as well.

In my never-ending (all up-hill) quest for Order, I buy lots of books about organization and time management. I read one particular book (for the third time) cover to cover this past summer before school began. I'm thinking of reading it again (now that the newness of school has worn off and the hum-drums have set in). I know a lot of homeschoolers who are experiencing winter burn-out... and having a hard time getting back in gear after the holidays.

I thought I would share my little homeschool organizational book with you nice bloggers out there. So, without further ado, here's my simple little book review of "The Organized Home Schooler".



BOOK REVIEW BY Sprittibee:
"The Organized Home Schooler"
- by Vicki Caruana

Probably the number one comment I get as a homeschool mother is, "Oh, you homeschool?! How do you ever do it?! I am not that organized." I have had many a friend tells me that they would consider homeschooling if they thought they could be organized enough to actually do it some justice. I think that not only with homeschoolers, all of us seek ways to improve our ability to manage the tasks we are faced with each day. Vicki Caruana, a former public school teacher and veteran homeschooler who speaks at conventions across the country, has done well to explain the desire we have for order in our homeschooling. She gets down to the root of the matter - the God who created us put inside us a need for orderliness! Using scripture, Vicki helps you see that the matter is not merely a matter of the mind, but of the HEART.

Vicki adds wonderful bible verses and checklists at the end of each chapter for the reader to follow along. This book is not only a helpful tool to teach you new ways to get your school, home, and life more organized; it is a bible study for your soul!

The book takes you through so many wonderful topics that most people overlook when trying to start a new time management system. Vicki starts first with, "Why Organize?" and follows with "Organize Your Thoughts". She continues with "Organize your Time" and "Organize Your Space". Some homeschoolers are given to remain shut in and others are so busy coming and going that they meet themselves along the way. Some homeschoolers are hands-on learners and others learn mainly from books and movies. Some homeschoolers use a boxed curriculum or a computer program and others are eccentric and own a little of everything on the market. We all have a responsibility to have an aim or goal in mind when educating, though. I loved her comment,
"Everything we do within our homeschools should lead us to the goals we have set with our children. It is so easy to get distracted and get off track. You might receive a homeschool support group newsletter outlining all the field trips they have planned for the year, and you sign up for many of them. There's nothing wrong with going on field trips or engaging in activities on the spur of the moment. But I caution you to not make a habit of it. The more time we spend away from home, the less time we have to work on the business at hand. I strongly recommend that all, or as many as possible, activities relate to attaining the goals you have set forth."
Vicki can be called none other than the Master of Organization! She gives a three step process she uses to stay focused on her homeschooling goals which can be used for her other topics as well. While discussing the organization of time, she gives a checklist test for you to find out if you are disorganized with your daily activities. I found this activity very helpful and insightful (even if I've flunked it almost every time I've taken it). She has many diagrams, checklists, and sketches throughout the book to help the visual learner. Her ideas are wonderful, and I always enjoy reading through them for a refresher. I highly suggest this book for the first time homeschooler, the organizationally challenged, and those trying to recover from post-holiday blahs. Even the seasoned veteran could take notes and gather ideas for record keeping and file systems.

Other topics included in the book are:

"Organize Your Supplies and Materials"
"Organize Your Paperwork"
"Organize your Family"
"The Task of Reorganizing"
"Habit Forming"
(I can hear you sigh - just like I did, as you read this one!)
"The Nuts and Bolts of an Organized Homeschool"
"A Homeschool File System"
"The List of Lists for Homeschooling"
(BOY, is she right!)

Also included in the book are references and lists of other books that Vicki herself has found helpful in her quest for creating an orderly home and homeschool. I give her book five stars out of five! This one is a keeper. I consider it a reference book for my school and home, and read it at least once a school year! I hope you enjoy "The Organized Homeschooler" as much as I have.

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9 comments:

MonicaR said...

Hey Sprittibee - this is totally off topic - although I DID enjoy your review and would love to get the book - and I probably WILL however it will take a couple of months to get around to it. Whew!

We received the wool card thingamajig today! Too cool!!! We love it and that's just giving a quick once over. I'm afraid to get the video because I'm afraid it will get lost in the black hole of my dining room-cum-classroom/playroom.

Which gets us back to that book you were talking about....

:-D Thanks for steering us to the wool! Take care.

Sprittibee said...

Great! Glad you enjoyed the sheep stuff. Today we are doing a little hot water experiment with a wool sweater. We're covering one hot steaming cup with a wool sweater and leaving the other without... to show why we wear wool sweaters! :)

I'm hoping to buy my craft supplies today after I do my bills. PAYDAY! Yipee!!!!

Jan said...

Thanks for the great book review. I'll have to get a copy of that one.
But, thanks more for the comment about burnout and winter blues. I'm one of those who has a really hard time starting after the Christmas break. I think it's a combination of being tired after the busyness of the holidays, and not feeling prepared to start again. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who experiences this every year. And, it's good to know that even your homeschooling gets to feeling hum-drum at times. Often when I talk to other homeschoolers they only share their moments of triumph, and talk about the great units they completed with their kids. I think sharing about the not-so-great- moments,being "real" with each other,reassures us that we're not losers. We just have a very demanding job, and sometimes we need to give ourselves a little slack.

Sprittibee said...

Jan, thanks sweetie. I'll say a prayer for us both about the burn-out. I'm starting to get excited about getting a new unit started and my llama craft done. A nice friend from church gave me a bunch of craft supplies and I'll only have a few things to buy. :)

Penny said...

Hello, Just read your review and I think I might check the book out. Another book that I have started to read that looks amazing is "Managers of Their Homes" and "Managers of Their Chores" by Steven and Teri Maxwell. Very Biblical, very indepth.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Penny. I will add your recommended books to my list also. Another one I really want to read, but don't have yet is Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring.

Sherry said...

There's another one for my wish-list!

Deb said...

We are beginning Orderliness in a few weeks, and I can't decide if this would throw a wrench into my new "orderly" plans by giving me too many ideas, or if it would help hone my new organization method. Thanks for the review nonetheless.

Looking forward to hearing how you're teaching Orderliness. We're beginning by cleaning, painting and decorating my girls' room. We can't walk through to the bed. Yes, mommy is learning to be orderly, too.

Blessings
Deb

Sprittibee said...

Hey Sherry!

Hi Deb! We had fun with the parts of Orderliness we did cover this year. Rock Classification/Geology and Planets/Solar System and Seasons. We didn't quite finish Seasons, but plan to incorporate the rest of it in to this year's plans. We fizzled out a bit because of all the distractions (two trips to Texas this summer and family visits). We'll be doing Plant Classification & Animal Classification this year after January.

I plan on getting my 2004-5 records up and then starting on last year's records (2005-6). We'll see how long it takes me to get 04-05 done so I can give you a time frame on when the Orderliness from last year is up! It may be a few months from now at the rate I'm going! Especially when school starts next week... it is possible that posting may become harder for me. :)

 

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