As you know, we live in a 900sf cottage. We don’t have a basment, and there is no extra room for desks or…. fill in the blank. All of the crafting, writing, cutting, coloring, counting… happens in the same place: the kitchen table! Man does our table work hard for us. We eat our meals here, it is a school desk, office, catch all…. where would we be without it. Of course with Pinterest and Houzz and the blog land, you can find all types of incredible play spaces and school rooms. I don’t have that option at the moment, and in our house clutter can quickly take over. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the “bright and shiny” of homeschooling. Really the bright and shiny of anything; Toys, clothing, crafts, furniture, you know what I mean… it can feel like we need so much more then we actually need. It is also easier (at least for me) to invest in things “for my kids”… ahem. playmobil. lol. I love playmobil! I want them to love it as much as me… they like it, but they don’t love it.

So, I am trying to be really aware of the practical side of what they need, what I need, and what we can acomodate in our space. I have a dresser that keeps our craft supplies, modeling clay, coloring books, glue, markers, play dough, paint, you name it. That is step 1 to containing the kids stuff. I try to keep all of the kids work books, white board markers, binders, coloring untencils and pencil cases in one bin. They look like this:

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Blue for E, red for G.The boys refer to them as their “homeschool bins.” I am still working on a system to organize my things… but may need to get a bin as well! One day I will have a desk and shelf, but for now it works. I have started a new system of lesson planning- where I plan everything for the month ahead on a simple calendar that I printed. Right now Elijah’s main material is Explode the Code (with supplementary writing activities) Math-U-See, Calendar Time (which we have a full and shortened version of that we alternate) Themed printables for the week, and a Bible Verse from the Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten series. I have crafts that I incorporate through the week that are our bonus items, and am hoping to go to the library every other week. I would like to choose some books to work into a theme ie. certain animals, parts of the body, geography… whatever he is interested in!

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Some of the challenges we face circulate around keeping G busy while I am working with E! Or just quiet 🙂 G loves to join in, but it takes some organization to get him set up with an independent activity.

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Thankfully he loves cutting, gluing, play dough and that type of thing, but he also wants to have his “homeschool books” like E. So I am working on getting more organized for his activities.

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I have things on a 4 day schedule- Tuesday/Thursday are our long days. Wednesday/Friday are our shorter days. Concentrated school time takes about 1.5 hours, maybe 2. We usually work on things after the boys have had time to play in the morning, but before lunch. If its a struggle, we finish up after lunch. I try to end school work with a “fun” activity… this could include a printable, sheets from E’s “fun math” activity book… maybe some computer time. Now that I am feeling more energized I am getting my mojo back with planning fun material!

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E is enjoying Explode the Code, and we are nearly through book 1. I am excited to say he is reading, yay boy! Which is exciting. 🙂 Math U See is going well, and I am enjoying the layout of the material. Overall, I am just keeping things simple, trying to give us a good base for Grade 1, and keeping E excited about learning.

There you have our homeschooling update! I am in the process of planning registration for next year, and picking the brain of my sweet friend who is in year 2 of homeschooling. She has gone through some trial and error, and I love being pointed towards what has worked for other families… obviously being flexible that it may or may not work for us. I am hoping to get as organized as possible for Grade 1, before baby makes his or her entrance! We have an exciting summer ahead of us, with a family wedding to go to 🙂 woohoo for love, and traveling with 3 kids!

-Miss Ash

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