Sunday, July 5, 2009

What's so great about summer?

You get half a second to finally organize your homeschool classroom. Have I told you how MUCH I love organizing? It borders on obsession with me. Today my husband was sitting in the classroom while I was putting up some of my craft supplies (wasn't that sweet?!?) and he told me that he thought I liked the organizing of my supplies more than the actual crafting! How very dare him?!? I'm not sure that he doesn't have a point, though. I do LOVE crafting but I do really like to have it all organized too. An old neighbor friend and I joke that we don't really like crafting we just like shopping and collecting supplies so I guess I'll take it a step further and say that after acquiring I like organizing. Of course I guess I kind of come by it honest because my Mother has long said about my Father that he would spend more time and effort making a tool that he could then make something else with.

Anyway, I will share with you over the next few days some of my organizing strategies. I am convinced organization is about the journey and NOT the destination. I say that because just when I think, "Aha! I have all my organizational needs figurred out!!!" I need something else (that I have to store) or my process changes so it seems like a constant evolving process.

I do however own a label machine and that little puppy is worth it's weight in gold. It took me the longest time after I got it to even put batteries in it so that I could use it but after I did I have not looked back. I try to label everything because it really does help.

Case in point, my bookcase was always a disorganized mess and I never really knew where to put things back after I got them out. Well, I guess librarians actually DO know a thing or 2 about returning books on shelves because I've never walked into a library and seen bookshelves without Dewey Decimal #s on them. So here it is all nice and labeled. (Notice I even labeled the bookshelf but that's for educational not organizational purposes!)

Here are some close-ups of the individual sections starting from the top left and working across and down...

Oh dear heavens, the first section I choose to show you isn't even labeled. Eeek... These are my binders of idea clippings (mostly from magazines). Each binder has a different seasonal/theme. I'll try to remember to show you more of these another day.

"Workbooks" Yes, I know "twaddle". Don't judge me!!!

"Bible"...where IS my Catherine Vos story Bible?!? Love, love that little gem.


"Art" (my girls' favorite section) Those Usborne Art books are some of THE best. I also have my Homeschooling Today magazines in a magazine holder here turned to the Artist Study page in each issue. That is one of my favorite magazines.

"Math" of Mommy's favorites.

"Science", "Animals", "Plants", "Weather", "Space", "Geography"
I can't wait to read the Man in the Map book next year. I also recently purchased Uncle Josh's maps. I'm following Sonya Shafer's advice on geography. That link vaguely explains her methodology. It is really quite simple. I purchased her All Day Seminar DVD (which I can't say enough good things about). She explains to simply copy the map outline masters from the Uncle Josh book, have the children look at a labeled map (folded to the section that corresponds with their outline) and have them label 2 or 3 locations of their choosing. Do that once a week. The next week, have them try to label trying at first without looking at the map, then add more 1 or 2 locations each week. Simple, consistent, effective.

"Health", "Feelings/Manners" Do you see those little Value Tales gems?

English (I really think I need to re-label this as "Literature" or "Language Arts")

And the bottom shelf and a basket beside the bookcase holds baskets of their leisure-type reading books. This allows them to easily return the books without having to neatly place them on a shelf. Some of these books I will pick through and put in their workboxes during the year but I have been pleasantly surprised that they have gone in the classroom this summer and pulled lots of them to simply read on their own. They have books in their own rooms but it is nice to have them accessible downstairs too.

Oh yes, I did get kind of fancy with this label. It is simply a credit card sized laminating pouch with 2 holes punched and attached to the basket's holes with ribbon. Like the font? You can download it here. It is one of my "go-to" fonts. Have I mentioned that I'm a font junkie too?


Crystal said...

I CRAVE organization. I love reading about it and imagining it, but it never seems to happen for me. I'm currently getting our first "school room" ready for our 2nd year of homeschooling and am really looking forward to your suggestions!

Miche said...

I am so impressed. Some time when we get back to Raleigh (I think we'll be back the end of Aug through Sept) I would love to talk to you more about home schooling. We will have to get together. Oh, and I'm Patty Bianchi's daughter in law, in case you weren't sure who this was :)