It feels strange to write that Headline – “Kindergarten Year has Begun.” If I have to choose a grade to categorize our current homeschool level, I suppose that’d be it… but one of the joys of Homeschooling is that you aren’t locked into a level. When someone is ready to move ahead to more challenging things, you have that freedom. The same applies if someone needs to hang back a little. Regardless, the purpose of this post is to share how I prepared for this year of schooling.
I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant and my baby brain is in full swing. Because of this, I had to get SUPER organized and even utilize prepared curriculum for certain things, to take some of the burden off of myself. I hope that you enjoy this post and that it provides some inspiration for organizing your school year.
School Supply Boxes
The boxes we use are actually much longer than any of seen before and I LOVE that! There is room for everything! They are from Office Max. Each of the kids has a glue stick, a pack of washable Crayola markers, a pack of Crayola crayons, a Whiteboard eraser (Walmart doesn’t carry the exact one anymore, but has similar class packs) and a highlighter.
My husband has many hobbies and among them is 3D printing – so he printed the kids some Mickey Mouse pointers. Once printed, I used Elmer’s Glue to attach them to the end of some acrylic drinking straws. They enjoy using them to answer questions in a different way. I have found that the more we mix things up with homeschool, the better!
I also printed a 1-10 number line and 1-20 number line for each of the kids. I used double stick tape to center them onto each side of some cardstock and then laminated them. I found that using a Sharpie to write a plus and minus on the appropriate ends helps them determine which direction to go when dong addition and subtraction.
Especially with baby brain, I have a hard time remembering every facet of where things are and what I want to cover, and I’ve been historically bad at keeping paper records of what I’ve taught. I use a variety of tools to stay organized, in my planning and in my teaching. Here are some of my favorite tools:
I use a website called Homeschool Minder for lesson planning and scheduling. I have courses organized for Bible Study, Science, Social Studies, Phonics / Reading, Art and Life Skills. Within those categories, I can create Lesson plans which break down into instruction time and assignments. The site isn’t free, but I’ve tried a few and I just keep coming back. A huge update is expected sometime this fall and I just can’t wait!
I love that I am keeping attendance and course records for each kid individually, but when I plan I am able to share courses and then specific lessons between children. My son and daughter are not on the exact same level for math, so I assign them different worksheets. This allows me to look in on what they were to accomplish for the day and give them credit accordingly, but also see if I have any gaps in my planning.
I usually pre-plan two weeks of lessons for Bible Study, Phonics and Math and then go in daily or every few days to enter whatever we chose to learn for Life Skills and Science, etc. This gives me a chance to update attendance and not feel as though I’m changing topics on my calendar every day. We are huge fans of kid-led learning, and I don’t like to lock us all in to a topic that they aren’t interested in.
The chart has 14 slots for items and a little pocket at the bottom for storage of extras. The photo I’m showing here was from our first day of lessons. I was a little over-zealous in organization and it has since simplified a little bit. That said, they LOVE the details.
The cards on my chart I put together in Open Office. Each card is full width 11 inches and about 2 inches tall. I scoured the web to find clipart and Google Images really came through. I’m probably going to end up purchasing a clip art pack from this designer because I’m so fond of her artwork, but I was trying to be super frugal so copy and paste had to do for now. For that reason, I am not at liberty to share what I put together for my chart. On that note, many folks have designed schedule cards. If you are looking for premades, look on Teachers Pay Teachers. From there, you can search by price – many items are FREE!
My homeschool setup is in our multipurpose dining room. We have a sliding glass door, so I use Suction Cup Hooks to hang the chart.
It can also hang on my fridge, but I only had it there to take a better photo of the set up. The pack of hooks I ordered had multiple sizes, which came in SUPER handy for our Homemade Chore Charts! They are now hung on my massive china cabinet, i.e. Homeschool Storage Unit.
I keep a basket of file folders, to organize my daily papers. In it, there are folders marked Monday -Friday for two weeks, Used Daily Plans (Abeka instruction pages or worksheets to be filed away at the end of the week), & Resources (Pages I know I will use within a few weeks and don’t want to have to pull from my cabinet again.) Each day, I pull out the appropriate folder and when we are done, I put the finished resources where they belong and the folder is ready for my next burst of planning. This keeps me from being overwhelmed.
The organizing “trick” I’m using this year that my kids think is ridiculous is my binders. I have an assortment of sizes which house many different things.
I have spent some significant time, at my table, with a razor blade – cutting the binding off of many workbooks. I’ll share some of my favorites so far : Super Skill Powers Workbooks, which can sometimes be found at Sam’s Club, Golden Books Addition & Subtraction & Numbers 10-100. Costco has a range of workbooks as well, I just haven’t tried any of them consistently enough yet to comment.
Overall, almost all of my homeschool supplies are kept in our Homeschool Cabinets. Ooh, and my having an office chair at the table has helped me SO much, especially while pregnant. It’s easy to spin around to do my planning and have access to everything.
Well, I hope this post helped explain some of the tools we use to stay organized for Homeschooling and how I keep my sanity when planning. I hope to write another post that goes into more detail about what tools I use for our daily routines and curriculum. One step at a time, right? Have a wonderful day!