Organized Homeschooling (an interview with Jennifer Knick)

Jennifer Knick homeschool conversations interview
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Jennifer Knick joins us today to share her tips and strategies for organized homeschooling. If that sounds intimidating, never fear. Jennifer lays things out in such a simple way! You’ll even learn how an accordion file folder can play a role in high school record keeping. Also, you’ll hear some great tips for working at home while homeschooling. In season 2 of Homeschool Conversations, I’m including several interviews with working homeschool moms, moms who work part time or full time while also homeschooling and caring for their children. I hope this working homeschool mom mini-series is an encouragement. You’ll see that there’s plenty of variety even among working homeschool moms!

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

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Jennifer Knick Organized Homeschooling interview

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Who is Jennifer Knick?

Jennifer Knick is a public school teacher turned homeschool mom.  When she isn’t busy homeschooling her two children, she provides parents with fun educational activities and organizational strategies at

Jennifer Knick Organized Homeschooling interview

Watch my interview with Jennifer Knick

Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Why homeschooling? {0:31}

The Knick’s two children are currently 12 and 15, and they started homeschooling when they were 3 and 6. They had planned to use public education, and Jennifer planned to return to her work as a public school teacher at that time. Kindergarten was fine, but first grade was just awful for their oldest daughter! They had many meetings with the teacher who really didn’t seem to want to be there.

In November, Jennifer was meeting with the teacher again and offered to come in and help out in the classroom. The teacher said, “If you don’t like the way I’m teaching, you should homeschool.”

Ok, then! Jennifer left, called her husband and said, “Well, I guess we’re homeschooling.”

Originally, they planned to just homeschool that one year, but it went so well they kept going. Eventually they decided, “We’re going to do it until it’s not working for us anymore.” At this point, Jennifer can’t see a situation where it wouldn’t work for them!

From classroom teacher to homeschool mom {2:38}

When Jennifer began homeschooling, it was a very teacher-led experience, based on what she wanted to teach. Over the years, she began to follow her children’s interests more. She’s realized now that she can tailor everything to them.

Keeping home and homeschool organized {3:27}

When it comes to the “stuff” of homeschool, Jennifer said that it’s important that everything has a designated space.

She also said it’s important to plan! “If I have things planned out, I can get a lot more accomplished in a day than if I just wing it.

Middle School and High School {4:30}

The Knick children have designated spaces they’re responsible to keep clean. They do their own laundry. They help cook.

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“Sometimes I have to remind them to do these things,” Jennifer smiled. “But it gets done, and I don’t have to be the one doing it all.”

In middle school, Jennifer keeps things mostly the same as the elementary ages when it comes to record keeping. She just saves a few things that are cute or special, those things they’ll want to save forever.

For high school, she has an accordion folder with a slot for each class. She keeps work samples and tests for that particular class in its folder. She also keeps a running list of grades, course descriptions, and basic records on Google drive.

An additional benefit of this is that if something were to happen to Jennifer, her husband would easily be able to find the information necessary to create their teens’ transcripts.

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Curriculum mapping {8:00}

Curriculum mapping is basically the scope and sequence of their school work. It gives Jennifer a place to keep track not only of their plans from any textbooks, but also to collect the other ideas and projects she finds.

She knows what is coming up next so as she goes through the year and finds new ideas online, she can easily slip them into the plan.

Because Jennifer does most of the planning in the summer, it streamlines her Sunday evening planning. She can just copy and paste the next week’s work very easily on her children’s assignment lists.

Jennifer added that it helps keep them from being discouraged or overwhelmed in the spring.

Every week, Jennifer gives her children a list of their assignments for the week on Sunday nights. It’s due on Friday at 4pm. They’re responsible to finish their work in time!

She also tells her children that she’s available to help them from 8-4. These built in “office hours” save frustration, Jennifer said.

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Balancing Work and Homeschool {13:00}

Here are a few of the top strategies Jennifer mentioned:

  • Block off time
  • Let people know what you’re doing at certain times to adjust expectations
  • Choose curriculum that is going to support you
  • Listen to your kids’ ideas

Questions for each Homeschool Conversations Guest {15:50}

What are you reading lately?

What is one thing you would say to a new homeschool parent?

“Relax and know it’s going to be ok. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s homeschool. It probably won’t look like public school. But it’s ok.”

Jennifer also reminded the moms who maybe are homeschooling for just this year that their kids aren’t going to get dreadfully behind in just one year. Focus on that extra, precious time you have this year with those children who are growing up so fast!

Jennifer Knick Organized Homeschooling interview

Find Jennifer Knick online

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

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