During October, I’ll be showing you ways I’ve used what I had to organize what I use. “Organized” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all matchy-matchy and cute, complete with chalkboard labels. It means that what you use is where you can find it when you need it. So here is how I’m doing that at my house. I hope it will give you ideas for being resourceful at yours.
The Math Crate
This year I set up bins for each “time” we have, so I can grab the bin and have what we need for the business at hand. The one that probably saves me the most time is the math crate.
All my students do math at the same time. It’s the first thing we do after chores. For a couple weeks this year, I tried moving it so Circle Time would be first, because then we could all start off the day together, on the same page, singing and praying. I just couldn’t get it to work logistically. Cindy’s post on starting her Morning Time (same thing) made me feel so much better. How she described it is how it works out most of the time, but I’d been fighting it. Now, I’ve embraced it. Starting with math means that people can start when their jobs are done, whether or not anyone else is done. It also means the first person done with chores gets a bonus: the first one with teacher attention and, usually, the first one done with math.
Anyway, the math bin lives on the hearth with easy access, right by the table where we do math (which is not the breakfast table, so that we don’t have to wait if that chore is delayed), when it is not put away on the kitchen cart (which it is usually only on weekends). I have a hanging folder for each student (which includes the 3-year-old, because he often asks to do math, too, and so needs something that looks close enough to make him happy). In the hanging folder is the math workbook (I tear out the page they are assigned daily; then it’s thrown away when they’re done, so the crate gets lighter and lighter every day) and a folder with any extra fact drill page I might want to assign. Then I have another hanging file that has a folder with Calculadder worksheets I already have printed (most of them extra from last year, where we did a lot of fact review with them on my low-energy days). I have them separated out by math type: a folder of addition, a folder for subtraction, one with multiplication, etc. This hanging folder also contains the handy-dandy lesson DVD storage sleeves.
This crate does not contain the teacher manuals or any answer keys. It sits out and available all day, and I have decided to simply remove that temptation. More on teacher manuals later.
- Type of container: Cheap crate
- Organizing materials: Hanging folders & manila folders
I like this set up because
- everything we need during our math time is at hand.
- it’s quick and easy to put the books back where they belong.
- math drills are convenient, and therefore easy to whip out to assign.
Being organized is about being prepared and having a place for everything. It is not about everything being match-matchy or color-coded or painted with chalkboard paint.
Also, check out my eBook Paperless Home Organization, which lays out step-by-step instructions for creating a home management organizer & planner digitally. Make that smartphone, tablet, or iPod touch a useful tool of your trade!
During the month of October, you can use the discount code organizing for $1.50 off the $3.99 retail price (pdf only).
Moms have a lot of details to keep track of. Here’s how to make your technology work for you, using only your mail program and 2 free apps.