Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homeschool: Organized

I hear a lot of, "You are so organized!" and, "If I could just get organized, our school day would go so much smoother!" and, "How do you organize your day?"

So I thought I would take a bit of time to share what works for us. I enjoy reading and seeing what other people are doing and what works for them and then adapting it to us. Since we have found our groove this year - after a lot of trial and error - I thought I would put my two cents out there for others as well. Maybe you can build on some of our ideas for yourself... or just call me the crazy-too-organized-lady (as some people do)!

First of all is our bookshelf:The top of the bookshelf has a Pampered Chef Turn-About that holds extra pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, etc. There is also an electric pencil sharpener on top of the bookshelf, a three-hole-punch, and the drawers holding paper (blank, graph, lined, colored). The top shelf holds my daughter's workbooks, folders, binder, etc. on the left; my son's are on the right. My extras (that I want available but do not need on a daily basis) are in the middle between their two colored binders. The bottom shelf has the oversized books, construction paper, a marker box, and another box with the extra school supplies that we don't need right now (staples, glue, tape, compass, etc.).
*Oh, and let me say that the workbooks really do stay neat like that - it is not just for the picture. They were constantly falling over causing the books to get bent, hidden behind each other, and driving me crazy! For some reason bookends were too complicated/too much work for my children so we splurged and bought these magazine holders. They were worth every penny!
My "favorite" organization tool is my six-drawer rolling cart. I keep just about everything I need for school in it. I roll it against the wall when we aren't doing school and roll it right up to the table during school time. The top drawer holds the papers I need for record keeping as well as the books we use for Bible. The next drawers, labeled Language, Math, Geography, Science, and Art, hold the teacher's guides for each subject as well as the textbooks we are using.
The top of it holds a few pens and pencils, an eraser, a calculator, a timer (for Spelling Power), our date stamp (I have my children date stamp all of their work), our math flashcards (we drill one operation each day), and an index card box that holds blank cards for vocabulary and our letter tiles for spelling.
The children's favorite "tool" this year is the list of tasks hanging on the pantry door. They love seeing things marked off the list and quickly seeing what they still need to do. I just used Contact paper to cover the list of subjects colorfully written on a couple sheets of paper taped together. (I am so proud of myself for letting go of my perfectionism and not having this list typed!) When a subject is complete, checked, and errors corrected, they mark it with a square. (I quickly made these squares out of nine Perler Beads each -see my earlier post about Perler Beads) The squares are stuck with sticky tack for easy moving. On days we don't have a certain subject, the children mark it before we start school.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER by Amy Parker was provided to me through Thomas Nelson Publishers through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for a review. This is a great children's board book! Even though my children are older, I believe I can never have too many Christmas books or too many children's books!
This book is written in a sing-songy rhyming pattern, making it very appealing to young listeners. Each page thanks God for a different part of the Christmas story - from Gabriel who brought Mary the news, to Mary and Joseph, to the donkey and manger, the shepherds, the star, and ending with Jesus. What a great way to tell the Christmas story! Five stars!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The sixth book I was provided to review through the Book Sneeze program was LIVING WITH CONFIDENCE IN A CHAOTIC WORLD by Dr. David Jeremiah. This book was not at all what I was expecting and, therefore, was very hard to get into and process. I am sure this is a great book for people interested in reading about "the end times" but I am not one of those people...

The chapters are each titled as a command or a direction to the reader: Stay Calm, Stay Confident, Stay Connected, etc. Those are all great things to do and he has biblical evidence to support his teaching. However, the book is very wordy. I think his point could easily have come across in less than half the two-hundred-plus pages.

Sorry, Dr. David Jeremiah - it just wasn't what I expected or what I was looking for as reading material...