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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rebecca and Smokey in the schoolroom mess
I am sitting here with my coffee and a very long "to-do" list. It's that time of year again. Time to evaluate what worked and what didn't in the home and school room and get moving on fixing it. I think that by the time I graduate Lilly, I'll have a good system down. (smirk)

This past year Brendan built desks for all the kids in the schoolroom. This was a blazing failure. Even shotgun headphones did not keep Luke's bionic ears from being offended by someone else's pencil on paper. Those of you who know Sam, well, you know he makes constant strange noises. He's the Bobby McFerrin of the schoolroom. Happy and funny, but well, annoying. Rebecca gets distracted by Luke yelling at Sam to be quiet and it all just falls apart. By the end of the year, kids were taking their work to opposite ends of the house and I had a headache.

I highjacked Mechelle's idea of putting different subjects in bins on the shelf with all supplies, but I decided to make a basket for each of the following time periods:

8:00-10:30 Contents: Bible materials, Handwriting, Vocabulary, Grammer, Writing

10:45-12:00 Contents: Math books, supplies and manipulatives, Literature

1:00-2:30 Contents: Latin, Spelling, Writing or anything that Mom needs to help with

2:30-3:30 Contents: History Reading and Notebooking pages/Colored Pencils/Hands-on

Each child will take their basket to their favorite schooling spot. It could be the tree house, the trampoline, the front porch, their room, etc. At the end of the time period, they return the basket to me and grab the next one. Each child would spend part of one time period doing stuff with me.

I tried this this week with one student and it has worked well. I like the fact that I can't see the books and papers lying out in the schoolroom. I can attack one basket at a time to grade, and it's not overwhelming. I think this will also keep things from getting lost, because I will be checking the baskets everyday. (I just re-read this and laughed.....I rarely do ANYTHING the same way everyday....that's boring.....but I'm really going to try)

On top of my basket system, I am revamping my filing system. Right now I have a file box for each child with 36 weekly folders in each. I put their work in at the beginning of the year. I keep them on the bottom shelf of my schoolroom bookshelves. I am trying to find two drawer filing cabinets to paint and put a desk top on....this way I can sit at my desk and easily grade and file papers into the right child's bin, rather than sit on the floor and do it. Right now, the papers are piling up, because they are not easy to file.

In place of the desks, Brendan has built me a square table with benches that seat 8 children. (We often have extras) I am going to paint a chess board in the middle of it for Luke. This will be better for Sam and Lilly to have a more appropriately sized place to do their work or play.

So today, I will beging my annual ritual of removing every item from the school room and scrubbing and polishing the floors. I am going to paint the room a peaceful robin's egg blue instead of the current chaos inducing red. Brendan is going to build me another shelf set for the baskets.

So, everyone please hold me accountable to post a picture of what I got done today. I am tempted to laze the day away at the pool, but I've GOT to get moving! SCHOOL starts in a little over a month!


mareseatoats said...

Love, love, love the basket idea!! I'm going to see what I can do with that one. And, bite your tongue for reminding me that school starts in a month!

Kristenph said...

I like the basket idea. I would love to see pictures of the new room. (Though I must confess I LOVE the red and green. I can see how blue might be a more peaceful schoolroom color.)


The Tile Lady said...

The basket system sounds great for your home-schooling! Hope this school year is a great one!