Category Archives: organizing your home school

Crayons, crayons, everywhere!

The home we live in  does not have a school room,
just a large open L-shaped room that serves as living room,
dining room, sewing room, library, school room
 and occasionally a bedroom.
When you add my sewing cabinet
and all the STUFF you need to homeschool
the room can get crowded and unattractive.
My first passion was to organize the supplies we use every day.
We tried school boxes for each kid,
but they never held all the supplies they each needed.
Each kid had their own crayons.
Then, we had a huge box of community crayons.
We had crayons with the coloring books.
It seemed easier to keep most items in a community stash.
I had my heart set on an old, wooden portion of
a library card catalogue,
until I saw the prices.
I The Lord found something that worked even better.
I say the Lord because when I found this piece of furniture,
it was an answer to prayer.
Everytime I look at this piece, I am thankful for His provision.
Each drawer holds only one type of item.
One drawer holds all my glues.
Another holds all the tapes.
Other items assigned a drawer are
scissors, edging scissors, paints, rubber stamps,
skinny markers, fat markers, coloring crayons, flashcards,
pens and pencils and dry erase markers.
When we need colored pencils,
we just put that drawer on the table.

The dresser gets a lot of wear and tear,
but since shabby chic is in style,
I don’t mind the paint wearing off the edges.
In 11 years, when I am done homeschooling,
I am pretty sure I can come up with a few other uses
for this amazing piece of furniture.

But for now,
the crayons aren’t everywhere,
they’re in one of the little black drawers.
And I have a great reminder from
Jehovah Jireh, My Provider,
who provided something more important
than a place to keep my crayons.
He provided salvation for my soul
through His Son, the Lord Jesus.

Organizing Daily Work for Elementary School

I began home schooling with one student in second grade and four kids running around the house distracting us and making a mess. I had the foresight to understand that I would need order, and a lot of it, in all areas of my life.

Beka is removing her MONDAY FILE.

On a minuscule budget, the Lord blessed my shopping one day by with these white file boxes, two in a package, for $2.50. I bought enough for each child and a few extras. The boxes are now “teenagers” and still used, although worn and slightly tacky from left-over sticker residue.

I have a file for each subject, one for goal charts, one for special projects, and at times, have included Sunday School or Kids Bible Club (like AWANA) files to include all aspects of their lives that need daily or weekly attention.

I remove the pages from the workbooks and fill daily files for 2-4 weeks at a time.

Colored folders make it easier to tell what week you are on.

It is cheaper to buy a box of file folders
than the smaller cellophane wrapped packages.

At the beginning of each year, I create a simple chart with classes on the vertical and the days of the week across the top. I have also included Bible reading, memorization and chores.

If you use dark-colored markers or stickers,
you can’t go back and see what work they have done.
We prefer highlighters or colored pencils.
If you file all the charts, it also keeps track of the number of your school days.
As each worksheet is completed, I correct it and hand it back to the child.
They do the problems over until they are correct.
This is one of my main teaching strategies; we don’t go on to another lesson until the previous one is mastered.
I might not have taught something clearly,
or, they might have not have put enough effort into their work.
A finished page receives a smiley face, a sticker, or a rubber stamp, before being filed.
If a concept is not understood, the following lessons will not land on a firm foundation.
I would rather repeat a lesson, patiently and kindly, and allow them to be successful, instead of moving on in frustration.
I also make them write each misspelled word ten times – this is K-12.
(Thanks, Mom, for the tip. She used to teach in a one-room school in North Dakota.)
If they miss a simple math fact, I may make them write that ten times, as well.
Repetition does aid memory! It can also be overhwhelming, so use discernment.
As the years flew by, I began teaching the other kids, then added a sixth child to the family. I was very thankful I had started school in an organized fashion. Each day, all of my kids went to their file and pulled out what work needed to be done. The only problem came if I hadn’t kept up my end of the system, and hadn’t assigned goal charts or filled their files.
This system actually works with just the daily filing system, OR just the goal chart. I have worked this system in many different variations over the years and have found it to work for me.
I never said that my children did all the work without complaining.
I never said I haven’t found worksheets hidden in toy boxes or under couch cushions.
I never said we didn’t spend hours looking for a PENCIL so we could actually do the worksheets.
I never said they were finished with school before the school buses rolled by the house.
I never said that each worksheet was taught in a patient manner.
We’ll talk about that later….
…..after you get your school organized!

Organizing – No School Room! #1

The split-level home we purchased when we moved to Washington has given us many challenges for home schooling. Because the kitchen, dining room and living room are basically one room, and we don’t have the luxury of having a “school room”, we have need to fit everything into this room, without making it look like a school room.

I need things to be convenient, accessible, organized, attractive and inexpensive.

This has been a lifesavor. Called the Quilting Mate, it cost $12 at Wal-Mart. I priced them in craft and sewing stores for 2-3 times as much.

We use it for putting together puzzles, coloring, crafts and painting. It has a washable surface, keeps the dining room table free (especially if it is near meal time) and can be shoved under the couch for storage. Our favorite useage is for puzzles, since we can keep storing it under the couch until it is completed.