Wednesday, July 30, 2014

School Organization Fall 2014

 School starts for us in less than a month!  I've been working on getting organized and ready for the new school year.  I'll have two official students (Primus grade 3, Secundus grade 1) plus Tertius doing some preschool stuff and Quartus who's 18 months.  Here's what our plans are.  Maybe it will give you some ideas.

Daily Schedule.  This is going to be posted on the wall in our kitchen.
As you can see, 7:30 is when I aim for everyone to be awake and getting started with the day.  "Devo" stands for devotional.  It's our time as a family to pray and work on our scripture memorization. 

 By 8:15 hopefully the kitchen table is clean and everyone is ready for Table Time.  Everyone (even the boys for most of the time) will be sitting at the table and working on things like math and writing.  Mostly independent work-book stuff.

9:30 is snack time.  We're usually not big breakfast eaters (just cereal or oatmeal) but by 9:30 we're ready for some fruit. Under that I have posted History.   I have several word strips that have velcro on the back so they can be changed daily.  I aim for doing history and science each twice a week.  We do science and history all together in either the school room or the living room.

After lunch is another velcro spot where I can change activities out.  I aim to do Literature 3 times per week.  This year Secundus and Tertius will be doing literature activities together while Primus will be studying chapter books like Charlotte's Web and Bunnicula.

The school day officially ends no later than 3pm with snack.

 Weekly Assignments Clip Board.  Each student has their own. 
 Last year we did daily assignment sheets.  This year I want to try weekly assignments to encourage independence, personal responsibility, and the idea that it's a good idea to get the "boring" stuff out of the way first so then the rest of the week will be more time for fun.

All page numbers completed, test scores, and anything else applicable will be written on these sheets to make record keeping easier for me at the end of each month when I see our supervising teacher.

Writing Activity Ideas This is taped to each of the girls' clipboards.
I want the girls to have lots of opportunities to write throughout the week.  But I also want this to be an area where they can choose to do what really interests them.  So they're each expected to do 3 writing activities per week in addition to their Daily 6 Trait Writing book and any writing associated with other subjects.  This list gives them ideas of things to do.

 Book Baskets.  Each kid has their own basket that holds all of their individual work and clipboard. 
I got these at a thrift store for only a couple bucks each and everyone has their own color.  They sit on a shelf in the school room when we're not using them for Table Time.  All science, history, German, art, and literature stuff is stored all together in a separate location.

Record Keeping.  I'm an over-achiever sometimes.  I'm also paranoid and want to make sure EVERYTHING the kids learn or do is thoroughly documented. 

About once a month our supervising teacher comes to document our attendance, relevant things that we've done, and collect work samples.  Before she comes, I type up everything we've done and send it to her so she can pick out what she needs to send on to the school.

Then after our meeting I staple all loose work samples that she didn't take together with that kid's weekly assignment sheets and store them in my filing cabinet until the end of the year.  If the teacher wants work samples from any of the workbooks (math, handwriting, spelling, language) then they can be ripped out and given to her.  Otherwise, I probably won't be tearing out those pages.  (A couple years ago I tore every page out of Primus' math book so then she could just have one sheet of paper in front of her at a time.)

(Edited to add:) I also have a simple notebook where I record all of our group learning and activities each week.  I tell the kids that it's my brain because it's also where I write school supply wish lists, grocery lists, keep track of school money left, all planning notes about future birthday parties, list of things borrowed or loaned out, etc.

Are you ready for the new school year?

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