Thursday, June 16, 2011

How we do school.

FLYT Magazine file, white Package quantity: 5 pack  Package quantity: 5 pack
I'm a mix-n-match kind of person when it comes to teaching.  I don't think there is one right method, and therefore, I don't think there is one right curriculum.  I use what I like, change it if it doesn't work, and make up a lot on my own.  One important lesson I learned as a new teacher is:  Don't reinvent the wheel!  In other words, beg, borrow, or steal : )  (I'm kidding about the stealing part.)  So when it comes to what we do, I'm all over the board.

However, when it comes to how, I'm an everything-in-it's-place-at-the-right-time kind of person.  So when I realized that schooling at home is much different than in a classroom I found myself scrambling for a different way to get organized. The system we tried this year is loosely based off of Sue Patrick's Workbox System.  You can view her system and buy her e-book on her site.  I also got a lot of fun ideas from the Homeschool Creations blog.

The first thing I did was clear out the bottom of my dining room hutch.  I got rid of a lot of dishes, platters, and such that we rarely used and found storage for everything else in other cupboards.  As always, I was on a budget, so I found these magazine holders from IKEA.  (Shown above)  You can't beat $1.99 for five!  I also bought velcro dots and put one on each file and lined them up in my hutch.  The night before, I put all of my children's activities for the day in the boxes: workbooks, magnetic letters, puzzle pieces, rubber bands, coins...whatever they need for their lessons.  Sometimes I even put a snack or a "break" activity into a box.  If a lesson involves something that doesn't fit in a box, I keep it on the side of the hutch and just write instructions or draw a picture on a piece of paper to put in their box.  For example:  "Write the letters A, a, in the sand bin."
Hutch Doors Closed
Hutch Doors Opened
Next, I put a number on each of the boxes that they are to complete that day.  I found these cute Toy Story numbers here, laminated them and put velcro dots on them.  They were even blue and green which are my boy's colors.  (Yes, I color code my boys!)

"Clocked In"

When the boys have all of their chores finished and are ready to start school, they open up their side of the hutch and "clock in" by putting their picture into the "Clocked In" pocket that is on the inside of the door.  This helps them transition into work mode.  I created these on my "magic" computer and used library pockets I picked up at a dollar store.

Each boy has a plastic school box that contains all of the supplies they need daily such as pencils, crayons, rulers, scissors, glue, etc.  They are only allowed to use these during school time so nothing gets lost!  They just work through their boxes one by one and when they have completed a box they put the velcro number onto their number strip that is hanging on the inside of their door.  When all of the numbers are gone, they are done with school.  Everything gets packed up and put away and they "clock out."

"Clocked Out"
This kind system is especially great for small children who are not proficient at reading and for children with special needs who benefit from having a visual and tactile structure to keep them on task.  It is predictable, and easy to use.  For me, the best part is that they can start school even when I'm not ready to help them.  I will usually put an easy, self-explanatory assignment in the first couple of boxes to make sure they are not asking me for help right away.  Then, once I've got my coffee or tea, and the kitchen's cleaned from breakfast, I'm right there helping them work their boxes!

So how do you organize your school?  
Leave a comment...


  1. I love the clocking in to school concept. That is powerful and very creative. You are a great mom and your boys are fortunate God gave them you as a mom!

  2. Thanks, Kari. I have to say that I got the general idea from the Sue Patrick Workbox system.

  3. Anonymous23.6.11

    Tennille, I am doing workboxes for the first time next year! Excited to hear someone else I know is doing them. :) Rhonda T.

  4. Rhonda, Let us know how workboxes are working out for you!


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