Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scripture and a Snapshot

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Scripture and Snapshot

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Student Logbook Review

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     My Student Logbook is a company started by a homeschooling family. In the mother's search to find the right way to keep track of her children's schedule, she and made her own planner and then made it available to others as well. We had the opportunity recently to review the Sea Life Student Planner.

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     This daily student planner is different from other planners I have seen in that you write out your schedule once and then the weekly check-off page slips under the list each week to give your student a place to keep track of what he has accomplished. There are multiple copies of the schedule so if you need to change your schedule mid-year you can attach the new list to the upcoming week and start and new list there. This is useful as well to help you keep track of what your schedule looked like through the year and could also be useful if your state requires you to keep a daily report of what you accomplished during homeschooling. ( For our state, you are required to keep a log, but not required to turn it in yearly)

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     This logbook can also be formalized into becoming a high school transcript for older children! (My Student logbook is ideal for children 2nd grade and up) I love this idea, since I know that this can become an issue for homeschool student as they transition into college.

     For our family, we are not at the high school transcript age, and so I used the dated, physical copy of the logbook we received (there are undated and PDF options on the website as well) as a daily schedule, including not only schoolwork, but daily activities I wanted my son to accomplish.

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     This was really the perfect planner for our family, we got the pre-dated version and I was very happy about not having to write in all those dates for my son, for older children they could do this independently. For our homeschooling days we switch off and do different subjects on different days so this was a great way to keep track of what was accomplished each day. Also, my oldest son is in charge of things like, getting breakfast for him and his younger siblings and reminding me to do his "skin brushing program" twice a day (for sensory processing). The planner really helped him remember what he needed to get done without me having to remind him constantly. This was invaluable to me as a homeschooling mom with lots of little ones, I knew that even if I was stuck with a messy diaper change or handling a toddler temper tantrum, he could still stay on task and accomplish what needed to get done (he's my most high-energy easily distracted child, so this was a major accomplishment for us!) 

     There are also sections in the back of the book to record an "All about Me" page, prayers and goals, Bible verses memorized, books read, activities (events, projects, field trips, and presentations), and test records.  My student logbook is $15.00 . There is a video here if you would like to learn more about how it works .

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     Sometimes, something simple can really revolutionize your homeschooling day. This has been true for us with the My Student Logbook! It's a very simple concept, but I find myself consistently feeling  thankful for how it's helped us keep on track and also for keeping an easy record of the year for us!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Seven-Minute Life Daily Planner Review

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As a homeschooling mom of 4, organization is a priority in my life. In fact, as my husband and I have discussed many times, I find organizing and scheduling even more challenging now than when I was working full-time outside the home. When I was working outside the home, I had bosses and co-workers and daily routines that helped me stay motivated and productive. But as a homeschooling mom, I need to be the responsible one to keep us on task and keeping our priorities in the right order! Enter The Seven Minute Life Daily Planner by Seven Minute Life and Allyson Lewis. 

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     This planner is 270 pages, spiral bound, and 7.3" by 8.5". It's a tool for the moms (or dads).  This is a physical planner (not a download). The first pages give you instructions on how to use the planner, there are ten micro-action tasks that you are to do before using it. These steps will help you focus on what your goals are and give you inspiration and motivation to organize your life. We all know that the more organized we are, the more we will accomplish, however it can be difficult to remember what our top priorities are sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day to day life. This is where The Seven-Minute Life Daily Planner helps you improve productivity by their organizational system.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

 Some of the forms in the planner include:

  • Unfinished work and home tasks- there is a place to list many unfinished tasks you may have at work and home. As a homeschooling mom, this is a great place to put school tasks and projects for the children. 
  • Mental clutter- list any stresses in your life and plan the actions that can help overcome them. 
  • Home Repair  and Grocery List
  • Life connections-The personal and business people you need to stay in touch with . This is a great place as a blogger to keep up with link-ups or blogger groups, affiliates etc. It could also be used as a prayer list or even a to do list.
  • Annual Projects and Tasks This is a great place to organize and keep track of home tasks that need to be done regularly but not daily or weekly. Some of the tasks I have written here include: Run clean cycle on dishwasher, check children's drawers for clothes that don't fit, organize and clean freezer, bacteria for septic tank, change smoke alarm batteries, wash siding, etc. 
  • Your 12 month calendar 
  • The Meeting Planner- designed to help make meetings more efficient. This would be a great place to plan out family devotions or special homeschooling projects/activities. 
  • 90 Day goals–there are several pages for this so that you can keep seperate work, personal, financial and life goals.  There’s also space underneath each goal for breaking it into smaller tasks of action.
  • Notes pages 
  • The Annual Exercise Progress report 
  • The Daily Progress Report which we talk about more in-depth below

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      Now we get to the main part of the planner which is called the Daily Progress Report.  As you’ll see, the pages are pretty straightforward.  The first page includes:
  • Daily contacts–These are the people you actually talk to, call, etc. each day.  I changed this area to be activities I want to do each day to increase my blog traffic.
  • What I will do…5 Before 11–These should be the five most important goals you have each day that you will achieve before 11 o'clock. For me, this was a mix of home tasks, blog activities and homeschool activities, depending on the day. Sometimes it was "get a load of laundry in and hung out" or " Exercise". Often it was "Complete Math and English" or "Finish Blog Post".
  • “7 Minute Connections”–This is place for you to write down the people you are keeping in touch with and intentionally connected with through visiting, a handwritten card or a phone call. It could be also be a useful tool to help your children practice making intentional connections in their lives too.
  • Unfinished tasks–These will be the “to-do” list your continuing to add to from the previous pages as well as new things that come up. There are 10 spaces here and sometimes I could have use a few more!
  • What I spent–great way to keep track of your expenditures for your budget. This area was often left blank for me since I rarely shop on a daily basis.
     The bottom area of the page has a place for you to monitor your water intake, write down your meals and snacks, and log your sleep, exercise, reading time and quiet time.  There is question at the bottom of the first page is a yes or no, “Did I do what I said I would do today?”  
     The second page of the Daily Progress report includes spots for Appointments, Voicemails, Thank you Notes and then a blank area for whatever you may need to write down and remember. The appointment list makes a nice spot for writing down what you want to accomplish by certain times of the day since it has times written along it, the voicemail spot has small white square to check off as you complete them making it a nice extra "unfinished tasks" spot if you have more than 10 things you want to list, like me.

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     I found this planner to be very helpful in making me focus on what my goals are and checking my daily to do lists to make sure I am working towards the goals I am wishing to achieve. It's clearly meant for more of a business setting, but since homeschool moms are known for their resourcefulness and ability to think outside the box, I think it can be very useful as a homeschooling/blogging resource for moms, as long as you are okay with using some of the areas of the planner unconventionally for your own purposes. You need to be the boss of your schedule and the boss of your planner, it doesn't tell you what to do, you tell it what to do!

     If you are interested in more information on this time management tool , there is this 12 minute video explaining how the planner works:http://youtu.be/k87NVdklKrI

     And, these additional 16 short videos (total viewing time approx 30 min) here:http://the7minutelife.com/daily-planner-videos/

     I have a limited data connection to the internet and so I am not able to watch videos online and was still able to effective understand and use the planner. However, I'm sure the videos are useful and helpful.

You can currently purchase The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner for $24.95.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Free Printable! Weekly Home Tasks

           I always feel like September is a great time for re-organizing myself and making new goals. Probably because of the feeling of "back to school" and the cooler weather that always spurs productivity. Not that we are experiencing cooler weather yet where we live now, but I still think of September that way!

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^----(clicking this picture will take you to the PDF)----^

     Now, as a homeschooling mom this hasn't changed! I still look at September rather than New Years as the time to get myself on track and figure out my plans for the next year. I had been using a check off list for several  years to help me keep organized with my basic house cleaning chores, but we had moved since I first made it so it didn't completely make sense anymore.

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          So I thought I would share my new list with all of you in case you find it useful as well! Let me share a little bit of how I use it myself.

     I am not a naturally organized person. In fact, my creative side really thrives with a little bit of chaos and "spur of the moment" added into life. But I do know that when I get too far out of balance on the side of that chaos, everything gets bogged down and sluggish. Too many dirty dishes? Dinner takes longer. Homeschooling area gets messy? Takes twice as long to find the worksheet you need. So I have made a list of the basic things of each room in my home needs to keep it running, and then a daily list of what I need to do to keep the house in functioning condition. Notice I said "functioning condition", not spit spot perfect shape! In this season of my life, I'm content with functioning, because let's face it, perfect stylish and beautiful aren't happening!

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     Certainly use this schedule any way you'd like, but here's a few things I'd like to mention. I do NOT check everything off every week. I don't change the sheets every week, or vacuum every single day (I do sweep and wipe down the kitchen floor everyday, but that's because the cat's litter box is in there and hard cat litter and bare feet aren't a great combo!) But I know that if I can keep up with MOST of what I've written down here, then my house will be tidy(ish) and I will be able to do all the thing I need to function everyday.

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She wasn't very good at sweeping back then, but she sure was cute doing it!

     Also, my kids are still young and can't help with a lot on this list, but they can help with some! Some of these tasks get assigned to one of them and this list can help me keep track of when they are finished.

     I like to keep my two lists back to back and in a sheet protector, on my fridge. That way I can use a dry erase marker on it and reuse the same one every week, rather than wasting paper.

I hope you find this list helpful for your September organizing as well! If you do, please leave me a comment below! I'd love to hear your organizational tips as well!