Monday, January 23, 2012

Organizing the School Room

Yes I am among the crazy parents that have decided to homeschool my children.  In my neck of the woods it is quite common but in other circles it is downright weird.  “How do you do that?” is the most common question I get.  So here is my answer:

Homeschooling isn’t always easy but it certainly isn’t too complicated for the average parent to achieve.  Our culture has shifted from the mentality that “one can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it” toward the “I should pay a professional to do that for me.” Where has our confidence gone?   Just a few generations ago folks didn’t pay for services or buys many goods readymade.  They built their own houses, baked bread, knit socks, collected eggs, you get the picture.  Never before have teaching resources been at our finger tips like they are today.  You don’t need to be an “expert” to teach your own kids.     
I consider myself an amateur; currently teaching my oldest son 1st Grade.  As he learns to read and write I am learning not only how to teach, but how to motivate, encourage and juggle my time.  My secret to success is my “School Room”.  In one corner of our basement (that is in the process of being finished) I have a designated area that is strictly for teaching.  By having everything in one location I’ve been able to minimize the things that distract not only my students but the teacher who also struggles with focusing.  If you’re thinking about Homeschooling here are some other basics that keep me organized:

·         I have an AT-A-GLANCE®Teacher's Planner to record work in each subject. 
·         Each child has their own desk and chair.  This minimizes fights.  If you have kids you need no explanation here.  A friend gave me the desks and I picked up the chairs at Goodwill for $1.97 each. 
·         New to our school room is a Quartet® Porcelain Dry-Erase Board.  It was a little pricey because it is made of Porcelain instead of Melamine, but for me it was worth the extra cost.  Porcelain not only takes the abuse of 180 school days, it is magnetic.  So if you don’t have a lot of wall space your whiteboard can double as a bulletin board for posters, maps and your student’s artwork. 
·         Essential to organizing all of the curriculum is my ClosetMaid® Cubeicals® Storage Organizers from Target.  I labeled each cube with a different subject so we can go from Language Arts to Math without wasting time looking for books.
·         We have a daily schedule written on the board and a clock on the wall to keep us on time. 
·         Recess is a must!  No matter how bad the morning has gone the kids get recess half way through the school day.  For student and teacher it is an essential mental break.  The kids get some much needed fresh air and snack.  Unless there is a storm they go outside.  Hats, gloves, boots…if it takes three layers of clothing they go outside for 30 minutes a day.   
·         Do some homework on Color Psychology.  Colors can have an impact on mood.  I choose the color green for my school room because it is said to enhance concentration and have a calming effect.  If you know my high energy kids then you know why I'll take all the calming effects I can get!

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again,
and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished
a purpose - not the one you began with perhaps,
but one you'll be glad to remember.”
-Anne Sullivan

No comments:

Post a Comment