Monday, January 30, 2012

Now Where's That Pencil Again?

Last Fall ago I wrote about the software I use to schedule and log hours for our homeschool.  If you're searching the Virtual Curriculum Fair for that type of product you'll want to read about Edu-Track .  For this week's topic "Pulling it All Together," I'm going to show you the tools we use to keep us on track each day.

Having every lesson scheduled in my software is wonderful, but if I can find the colored pencils for Bible study or our read-aloud for history I'm headed for a train wreck.  I can't send Schnickelfritz to search for the missing item.  He's a carrier of that Y chromosome, can't-find-anything-in-the refrigerator syndrome.   After glancing around the room twice he'll lose interest, or find the Transformer he wanted to play with yesterday, or decide that since he's already moved the trundle bed to look underneath he might as well stay and turn it into an "ice cave" and make our dog play cave beast.  If I go looking for the lost item I may have a better chance of finding it but I'd better find it during the math lesson video.  Once the lesson is done the mind wonders and we still may end up in the ice cave.

For the last two years we've been using a variation on Sue Patrick's Workbox System.  Rather than numbering the boxes, I used our Graphic Toolbox software to make subject labels.

These are attached to each box.  I found ours at Walmart in a 2-count set for $4.  I went with a slightly bigger size so that workbooks could lay flat or I could fit a clipboard inside.  We put EVERYTHING we need in the box so if we need a set of colored pencils for art and for Bible study, we buy two (they're only a buck during school sale time).

When the lesson is done, EVERYTHING has to go back in the box.  It doesn't matter that we're just going to get them out again tomorrow.  There's something about skipping this step that opens an inter-dimensional portal to open in our basement classroom.  And that other dimension must have some weird radiation that causes inanimate objects to sprout legs and disappear.  Nothing wreaks havoc on a lesson schedule more than not being able to find our history read-aloud for the day (or even a week).  I also keep a box with supplies like index cards, extra pencils, and glue sticks.

Our second tool is a set of subject labels that I've lamenated and added magnets to the backs. 

My son is a "How much more do we have to do today?" kind of kid.  We always start the day with Bible study,  but there are some subjects not scheduled every day.  This way he can see what our agenda is at a glance.  Some days I'll make him follow them in order, others I'll let him arrange the subjects to suit his tastes.  It really eliminates the "Are we done yets?"  I can just refer him to the board.

I'm sad to say this is the last week of the 2012 Virtual Curriculum Fair.  Be sure to visit these other blogs to see their take on the topic The Nuts and Bolts: Pulling it All Together. 

Getting a Grip on Things by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Weekly Homeschooling Schedule by Julie @ HighHill Homeschool

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Week 5: The Nuts & Bolts: Pulling it all Together by Leah @ The Courtney Six Homeschool

Our Schedule's Working! by Eunora @ All Things NoriLynn

Homeschooling: How do I do it all? by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Virtual Curriculum Fair--- Wrap-up Angie @ Petra School

Virtual Curriculum Fair: 5 Ways to Use an iPad in Your Homeschool by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

A Peek Into Our School Day by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool
A Day in the Life... by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Homeschool and Life: How we get it done by Jen @ Forever, For Always, No Matter What

Homeschooling at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Making Home School a part of LIFE by Cindy @ For One Another

Something About Homeschooling I Really Didn't See Coming by Letha @ justpitchingmytent

Curriculum, Kids, and a Frazzled Homeschool Mama leads to Controlled Chaos! by Laura O from AK @ Day by Day in Our World

The Virtual Curriculum Fair – Nuts and Bolts by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Staying on Top of Everything by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning


Susan said...

I love your posts. ;0)

I think I might borrow your idea about the magnets with pictures on them, my 6-year-old has a bad case of "are we done yet"s, too, and I've been looking for a non-reading way of helping him with that.

Thank you for joining the Virtual Curriculum Fair, it's been fun having you. ;0)

Missouri Mama said...

Be sure and let me know about next years's fair! It's been fun.

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