A couple of weeks ago I showed you one way I cut my Monday madness by being prepared and by listing our school subjects on our makeshift "chalkboard." I promised to come back the next week and give you another way I cut the madness in our house. As you can see it is a couple of weeks later because things got a little crazy. Guess I need to start scheduling posts rather than writing them on the fly....I will be working on that, could be my next madness post. Anyway, here it is Monday again and it is time for another tip.
Before I give you my tip, I have to share a deep, dark secret. I am a recovering procrastinator. I am the one who thought I can put that off and still get it done in plenty of time. There were many times in college I was up until 3:00 am writing papers the night before they were due. These were papers I had known about for weeks and in some cases even the whole semester. I was really, really, REALLY bad about procrastinating. I still fall into my habit of procrastinating every once in awhile, but I am SO much better about it. Procrastination is a habit I had to work hard to break, but by completing little steps at a time, I have gotten out of that routine.
So now that I am done procrastinating by talking about procrastinating...ha...on to my tip for the week. I knew this school year would be harder for me. Why? I have one child in middle school and one child in elementary school, plus I babysit for a little girl that I help with homeschooling and she is also in elementary school. At the beginning of the school year, I knew I needed to stay on top of everything or I would quickly get buried in grading, projects, and housework. I knew that middle school work takes longer than elementary work and I would have to arrange my schedule so that I could work one-on-one with my older child. So I had to be organized and I could not afford to procrastinate this year. I had to come up with systems that work for me. The first system I started this year is the one I shared in this post about putting up the book list for the day. The second system I knew I had to keep under control is grading. Grading work has not always been a top priority for me. In the past I would always check the kids' work for the day just to make sure it was done and there were no questions, but then I would set it in a pile to grade later. This system always left me with at least an hour of grading every other week or so and that was just CRAZY to me, I dreaded it so much that I would continue to let it pile up. So I made a commitment to myself that I would not let the grading pile up this year. I sit down every school day and grade the work. I usually grade it right when they turn it in for each subject, but if I happen to be busy helping one of the other children with school, I will sit down at the end of school and grade it all. If I have to wait until the end of school to grade the work each day, it take me no more than 15 minutes because I am not behind. Having the grading done allows me to give instant feedback to our kids about how they are doing, I know if they are not getting a concept (yes, that does happen even in homeschooling), I can quickly figure their overall grades in a subject, and one of the best benefits is we can clean off the table by putting the books away at the end of the day and I don't have a huge stack of paper sitting around collecting dust.
Tip #1: Be prepared - if you are ready, your kids can be ready. I use being prepared by listing our materials for school by child on our sliding glass door (which we use as our "chalkboard").
Tip #2: Stay on Top of Paperwork - Paper clutter can bury you, take the time to grade each day and give feedback to your kids.
I hope my cutting the madness tips are helping you out. What methods do you use to cut the madness at your home? I would love to hear them and maybe even try implementing them into my routine.