A new home…
When my husband got a new desk for Christmas, he offered me the table that he had been using. Of course I don't want it! Where would we put it?!? Well, fortunately I gave it a second thought and consequently produced the best organizing achievement of Tamsyn history. There have been so many blessings that have come from our new system and I have been very excited to blog about it today.
Days of our lives
The crux of the system revolves around having a bin for every day of the week. I borrowed this idea from heartofwisdom.com. The basic concept is that at the beginning of the week you take a few minutes to put worksheets, manipulatives, and other school items in the daily bins and when the respective day comes you just take the box out and complete the work inside it. We have been doing this for about two months and it has worked great for us. My young children have noticed that school will be done when the box is empty. This is easier for them to understand than a check-off list. They are learning the days of the week too!
This tote came from Wal-Mart, and was made from two plastic dressers. They came with four small drawers and three large drawers. Michael and I each had one and I stole two little drawers from him. He wasn't using them anyway. :o)
The funnest part of this project for me was gathering the school supplies from the four corners of the house and bringing them all together in one place. Now the pom-poms, craft sticks, crayons, glitter glue, play-dough, flashcards, and all the other random supplies have gathered into one space where I will ACTUALLY USE THEM! As my family grows, I will probably need more of these drawers, but for now we are content to have labeled: Paper Supplies, Craft Supplies, Flash Cards, Manipulatives, Laminated Toys, Workbooks, and one left-over drawer which is begging me to finally buy tempera paints since it's out of the children's reach.
Before: Puzzles were stacked on the bookshelf so the children would be drawn to them. Result? Mommy did the puzzles more than the kids and the puzzles were conveniently never unpacked when we moved here.
After: The puzzles have a home in a tote with a lid. This tote was previously filled with random school supplies, but when they found a new home in the drawers, this tote was repurposed. Result? The puzzles are getting used without destroying my sanity. The other tote that is the same size as this one is our sand exploration center
Any toys that were originally purchased for educational purposes were gathered into this tote, leaving less clutter in the playroom, and more focused use by the children in the clean environment of the kitchen table.
Bits of Intelligence Cards
These are part of Glenn Doman's Encyclopedic Knowledge program. Construction paper is stored in the back for easy access.
This is a wonderful addition to our kitchen. Aside from the common advantages like "a place for everything and every thing in it's place" and "store it where you use it", there have been a few unforeseen advantages to having the school supplies in the kitchen.
· Housekeeping is not my forte, and if I have to choose between a school session and cleaning up after lunch, I always choose the first. I tend to avoid the kitchen... Having the supplies downstairs has been great for the kitchen table and the floor underneath. I don't want sticky pancakes on our puzzles!
· Educational toys make great temporary entertainment while I finish making dinner. When I'm in the kitchen, the children love to be there too, and I can help them with their puzzles and toys while I'm cleaning.
· Child-led school time. Understandably, the table is a tempting place for the kids, but I have strictly enforced that it is MY table. However, every night they have the opportunity look in the drawers and pick out activities for the next day. I also tend to give in when they beg me to do school with them.
· Brief sessions during mealtime. With the bit cards so handy, we have started pulling them out. As the children watch the cards, they sometimes forget about being picky eaters.
As our family grows and their needs change, we will add more totes and perhaps a bookshelf, but this kitchen learning center is here to stay!