In my last post, I mentioned that the work boxes were a "Brand New To Me, But Would Be Bang-A-Rang If It Actually Works" thing for me. It seems like an easy solution to organizing, but those don't always work in real life.
Well, I have a couple of other things that fall into that category, too. Mostly, I'm trying them because I hope they help me accomplish the feel I want for our homeschool. I hope they help me focus on the girls instead of on the worksheet, I hope they help me stay calm and kind in my tone of voice, and I hope they help us all enjoy this incredible opportunity we have together. I know those are mostly God-things, and I know that I'll never get it all right, and I don't need to, but maybe a few of these things can help...
One is Quiet Bins for Evelyn. Or Morning Boxes or Morning Tubs, or a million other names that you'll find them under on Pinterest. On the one hand, they seem ridiculously yuppie (just sharing my initial thought). Like, you need a bin of activities when your preschooler just wants to color. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try them. And to be honest, there are times when I fit the mold perfectly for "ridiculously yuppie", so maybe I just got sucked into the crazy. These little bins have the potential to be a really fun thing for Evelyn, and a good way to remind me that she's only 4 years old, and school for 4-year old's should be all about fun! My goal for Evelyn at the end of this first school year is that she can recognize her letters and tell me the sounds for them.
That's pretty much it.
Here's what my first batch look like...
There's a "red" puzzle for colors, a bin with pipe cleaners and beads, a sheet of construction paper that I glued googly eyes to and included a box of crayons for her to make a face, colored Popsicle sticks and plastic animals, and Sofia the First lacing cards. I've found a ton of other ideas online, so I'm hoping these are things I can keep going each week. I'd also like to gradually make these bins more difficult, to reinforce numbers and letters that she's learning.
My next thing I'm trying is called a Morning Basket. Be prepared for some very "feel goody" feelings for a second...I read an article that suggested this basket as an alternative to jumping right in to school. She talked about how they spent their mornings rushing through breakfast, with her snapping at her kids to hurry up, so they could clean off the table and start schoolwork. So she tried morning baskets...not her original idea, but anyway. The idea is that, after breakfast, school starts...gently. You put on some classical music, snuggle up on the couch, and spend some time together. You can use this time for a lot of different things, but here's what I'm going to try:
This morning basket will be used for our morning devotions, our favorite read-aloud (currently the Clementine series), and whatever Social Studies biography we're working on. In a perfect world, I imagine us snuggling on the couch and reading together before we all go frolicking into the playroom to start on Math. In real life, I have no idea what Henry will do, how long Evelyn will sit still, or if the girls will even like this. I want to try it, because I love the idea of what happens if it works! I love the idea of our day starting with joy; maybe not calmly, but doing something we all love in a slightly more relaxed setting.
Okay! So those are my wild cards. The things that are very new to me as a teacher who's been out of the classroom for seven years (and never taught kids this young to begin with), but things that I hope will help me reflect the kind of classroom we want in our home.