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A Heart For Home: Tri-Moms: Lesson Planning & Organizing the School Year

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tri-Moms: Lesson Planning & Organizing the School Year

I've always had a little bit of a love-hate relationship with planning and organization. On one hand, I love to organize spaces and love the feeling of accomplishment that having a plan gives me. On the other hand, many times I hate the process of actually sticking to the plans I have made.

Fortunately, my husband, Tim, does not share my "just wing it" nature and is a planner through and through. Thanks to his encouragement, I actually have a plan for this, our first year of homeschooling.

While we've done lots of educational activities with our children since they were born, this is our first year of organized schooling for Emahry, age 4 (preschool) and Jonathan, soon to be 3 (pre-preschool). Eliya (18 months) will undoubtedly be joining in with many of our activities as well. And I'm sure our newest addition, Amelia, will be right there in the middle of the (hopefully) organized chaos with us.

Tim and I have decided to try a modified version of the workbox system with homeschooling this year. This is not a curriculum but an organizational model that breaks down the components of the school day into individual activities all housed in their own box. The original model has each activity placed into its own clear plastic shoe bin. Instead, we're using what we have on hand and have transformed several Medium Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes we were given into workboxes for our children. (I still have to add number labels.) 

For our activities, we looked at the areas we wanted to focus on and broke them down into the following main categories: Bible, Letters (general alphabet, letter/sound recognition, writing), Numbers/Early Math (counting, one-to-one correspondence, writing #s, sequencing, etc.), Shapes, Colors, Names (reading/writing their own names and the names of family members), Science (specifically weather, seasons, and animals), Time (days, months, etc.), and History (very basic overview).

Three of these categories, Bible, Time, and History will be addressed outside of the workbox system, but for the remainder of the topics we created a specific place to store activities under each heading. To organize our activities for each category we used plastic 3 drawer bins.

In each labeled drawer we have several activities for each skill that we can rotate through during the school year. These activities range from games to manipulatives to flashcards. We also have a hanging file folder for almost all of the topics that house free printables, file folder games, and workbooks. The bookshelf in our living room that holds our workboxes also stores homemade magazine files filled with books that go along with several of the categories listed above.
After we collected all of the activities, I sat down and created a schedule of how we are going to move through the activities each day. We will begin school in the same way every day, with Prayer time, Bible reading, and Calendar time. Then we will move into our workboxes which will each have a specific topic each day. 

Hopefully, the organization of our materials and this schedule will help keep us away from the "grab as you go" mentality and will help our first year of homeschooling run a little more smoothly.

*Be sure to visit the other, more veteran homeschooling, Tri-Moms Kristin and Christy for their Lesson Planning and Homeschool Organizing Tips.

How do you plan your homeschool year? We'd appreciate any tips and experience you can share, so please leave a comment.

Up next: September 20
  Getting the whole family involved in homeschooling

Fall Schedule of Topics
October 4:  The joys and fears of our children growing older
October 18: Traveling with children
November 1: Thanksgiving crafts and recipes
November 15: Teaching the meaning of Thanksgiving

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Blogger Lisa said...

I love this idea...I have been struggling to figure out how to plan my younger ones workbox. Will you be posting a link to your chart?

September 6, 2011 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger k balman said...

I love the holder idea out o priority boxes. I totally pinned it to pintrest!

September 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Katelynn said...

I love how the flat-rate boxes turned out! They look so great and are very helpful.

September 6, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I noticed you are using 365 Bible stories. My kids love that book. We are well into the New Testament now. (I'm thinking we'll be done by Christmas.) With the older kids, I would have them tell back the story to me every day so I could see that they understood the story. I've noticed that Owen has a harder time remembering the stories, though, so just last week, we started acting out the stories as I read. They LOVE it and they are remembering lots more detail now.

September 6, 2011 at 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can SO relate to your first paragraph! It's a process to try and find a balance in planning and following through!

I've never heard of a workbox method before but it sounds really great for younger kids. And I must say I loved looking at all the pretty organizational stuff you have! Very cool!

September 8, 2011 at 8:33 PM  

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