Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little More Structure

I have never been the type of person who "just wings it". I've always made lists and plans. So, these past couple of years have been nerve wrecking!! When I quit working in July 2007 I made a decision to start "going with the flow" and to stop making so many plans. Well, that decision leaves me with too much anxiety! I HATE being unorganized and never knowing what I should be doing! It's too messy! So, this year for homeschooling we are making a new approach! In preparation of our school year starting September 6th, I have been working diligently to make it as organized as I possibly can. First, I received a magnet in the mail a few months ago and the more I stood there reading it  on the fridge while waiting for my glass to fill with water, the more I began to imagine sitting down and having a conversation about them with the kids! The magnet came from the Children at Heart Ministries and is titled 'Home Rules'. It has 12 Biblical based "rules" listed with scripture references. The kids and I sat down and discussed each one in detail as we made these posters to hang in the kitchen:

 Aren't they decorated so nicely! We used supplies that I already had at home: markers, poster board, and stickers. To hang it I used two command hooks, a hole punch, and some paper clips linked together.

I've also been thinking about how long it sometimes took Abi to complete her assignments during the day, and how sometimes both Austin and Abi would need my help at the same time. I'm hoping that I came up with a decent solution:

 3 out of our 5 days have the same schedule. On the appropriate day I will hang the correct schedule for the AJBs to follow. Each subject is allotted a certain time and are staggered according to the kid so that I may be available to help one at a time. I'm hoping that with giving each subject a certain amount of time it will (a) help Abi with her time telling abilities and (b) help her stay on track while doing her school work ridding her of the overwhelming feelings of what to do!! I used colorful scrapbooking paper backed with cardstock to make it more durable. I used command hooks to hang it on the foam board so that schedules can be changed.

 This idea came from another blog that I frequent: Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers It is a chore card system that gives the AJBs their chores for each day without me having to remind them everyday what needs to be done. I used clip art in a Word document to make each card, they are laminated in Scotch self-sealing laminating pouches. I used scrapbooking paper to make the card holding pouches. Then I added some scrapbooking stickers just for the fun of it!

This might be my favorite idea that I've borrowed. I found it at...wait for it...another homeschooling blog, Confessions of a Homeschooler! While her chart is directed to smaller kids, I took the idea and curtailed it to our needs. When the AJBs need help and they notice that I am busy (helping the other AJB, on the phone, etc) they take the clothespin with their name on it and clip it to my shirt. The pin will remind me that they need help. And while they wait for my help this chart gives them things to do: Put together a puzzle, practice their spelling words, or read a book. This idea is exciting in theory and I have HIGH hopes that it will work!!!!

The last organizational tool that I will be using this school year we uses last year. It is probably what kept me sane!! At the beginning of the school year I collect all of the kids' school books and sort through them. I  divide the book into assignments based on how many days we will be in school. At the beginning of each week I make an Excel spreadsheet for each child. The spreadsheet is labeled Monday through Friday across the top and then has each subject listed in the far left column. I list each assignment per day. I punch holes and place it in the front of their school binders. The binders have dividers per subject. I place each assignment into the appropriate divider. So, hypothetically speaking, on Monday morning Austin can open his binder to his assignment sheet and see that he needs to complete pages 62-64 in his math book. Then he will flip to his math divider and find all of his work for math that week, complete the assignment on his list and then check it off when he is done. This worked VERY well for us last year!! It also gave the kids a good look at the work that needed to be completed for the week.

I am getting more and more excited about our school year starting! I can't wait to see the exciting things we will accomplish and learn...together!!!!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow! You're so organized! And I'm glad you stole ideas from other blogs so I can steal them from you. This year we're gonna be pretty go with the flow, but next year we'll be trying to be more organized like you!