November 4, 2009

Something New!

Well, as much as we are in love with our little flower garden schedule, I was wooed by this seemingly infectious work box system which has hit the home school community like the flu hit pigs! Yup. I was overwhelmed with curiosity. Don't tell Joe, but overwhelmed with curiosity to the tune of 20 bucks! I mean, if your going to do it, you might as well do it right. Right?

So I cleared out our bottom 3 shelves, moving the books to the living room bookshelves (which were depressingly empty anyway and were happy for the renewed sense of purpose they felt upon receiving 100 lbs of new children's books). Then a trip to Honk's was in order. Honk's is our Dollar Tree rip off store that has way better stuff, still for just one dollar! I bought 12 plastic boxes (9 for Hannah Jane's system, and 3 extras to make the boys feel included). magnets, scrap booking stickers with a family spice theme (since family is what this home school thing is all about), cookie sheets (you'll see why soon), and these cool wooden cut-outs. I planned to just print out some tags and laminate them, but these wooden cutouts were so cheap and charming that I couldn't resist. And I imagine they'll be more durable, saving me some work in the long run.

We came home and excitedly got to work putting our boxes together, First we decorated each box with these pretty Victorian style stickers with roses and quotes about family. Suddenly we look like big Charlotte Mason fans with Victorian art everywhere. Next we decorated the edges of a cookie sheet to match the boxes. This will be Hannah Jane's schedule. Finally, I labeled all of the wooden cut outs and glued magnets to the backs.

Now we were ready to roll. I explained the system to Hannah Jane as follows...

This is your schedule. You'll use it to see what you need to do next. On your schedule will be numbers and other special things like time with Lucky (the bunny) and snack breaks. Number 2 is next, so you'll find the box labeled with a 2. In the box you'll find everything you need for your next bit of school work. You may also see other tags on the box that let you know if there is a time limit or if it is a group activity.

When you finish a box, place the number from your schedule on top of the number on the box and move on. This helps you see what you've done and identify what comes next. When your schedule is empty, you're all done for the day!

I know it still looks a wreck, but our shelves are more organized now and I know right where everything is. That's pretty great! Having to fill the boxes the night before so that everything is set up for when she's ready to go in the morning mean being a bit more prepared. Not bad. And best of all, Hannah Jane can work more independently and at her own pace. She can visualize what must be done, and see what's left.

The boxes have everything in them. Our morning devotions, her fife and sheet music, her Spanish CD and the day's track numbers, whatever literature she is reading at the moment, math worksheets and manipulatives, etc. You name it, it's there.

So, I'll let you know how it goes. Hannah Jane is certainly excited about it, but sh;s excited about everything at first. Will it last? My biggest concern with our homeschooling is that she seems to really need me just to walk her through thing that she already knows how to do, just to keep me there beside her. I hope this will help eliminate that. All of the rave reviews I read about this system tell me that this is one of the major benefits. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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