Friday, September 2, 2011

One Week Down and Tools

We have our first week under our belt. We had 4 good days and 1 bad day. However, we got into the groove of things quickly. I get up at 7:30am, which is early for me. I am not a morning person and neither are my kids, but if we want to be done by noon or 1pm, this is what we have to do. I get the boys up and have breakfast by 8am. Luca rings the school bell at 8:30am. (this is his favorite part). Luca usually hollers, "Nico, let's go!"  Nico likes to eat fast so he has time to play before class starts and is usually out running around the yard.
I am just going to share a few pictures of our week.

Here is Nico listening to a chapter from Story of the World. This is our World History curriculum. We are in the 3rd year using it. I am working on getting Nico to be more independent. Yes, he can read it himself, but he is an auditory learner and does better by someone else reading it. This year I bought the CD that goes with the book. Instead of me reading it to him, he listens to another person. He follows along in the book. This only happens when the subject material is new and had more depth to it. The downside is I have to go back and read it again, or read his notes, to understand what he read so we can have a discussion on it. That is part of my homework in the evenings :-) It is best if I can grasp everything from his notes. That means he understood what was read.

Today Luca brought his R/C truck to class. Nico showed him how to build a wall and run the truck into it. It became quite the game for them. Luca would stack blocks on the back of the truck and drive them to Nico. They experimented with how thick they could make the wall for the truck and how far the blocks would scatter. Educational and fun!

 Luca's theme for this week and next week is farm life. I found this game, Old MacDonald Had A Farm, up in the closet. I think I bought it for Nico when he was little. Luca had a blast with it. He loves to sing (where Nico hated to sing). Honestly, it did get to be quite annoying and had to be put away when Nico moved onto math and needed to concentrate.

Besides all our learning I thought I would share some of the items I am using to try to organize ourselves. Nico is a pretty good organizer so teaching him the tools I am using is working out great.
 This isn't organizing, but one of my FAVORITE tools....the laminator. I bought this one on ebay for only $20.00. It is Scotch brand and the best I have ever had and trust me I have had a few :-)
 This is our wall organizer for the paperwork. It is organized by subject. Each evening I run through my lesson plan and see what worksheets are needed the next day. I put them in the correct subject pocket. When the subject is started he can look at the board (pictured below) that has each subject listed for the day and the assignment written next to it. Several subjects he can start on  his own so  he looks at the assignment board and can go right to the red file to grab what he wants to work on. He gets to pick the order of the day. Usually he goes from fastest to the one that will take the longest. He also starts with what he can do himself which allows me to work with Luca.

Also in the hanging red file is a place for completed work and a place for work that needs to be filed. At the end of the week, Nico has to file his papers in the correct binder. This is new this year for him. In the years past I put the papers away. I am trying to hone his organizational skills as he will need them when he goes off to college. Today we realized we need to create a simple book to write down assignments that are long term and have a 'due date'. We only do some subjects twice a week so he has an extended time to write a story (such as the Greek Myth). He has to remember to get it finished in time. Again, this is a training tool for college and life in general....knowing there is a timeline and getting things done in a timely manner.

 These binders hold all the completed work that is filed at the end of the week.

This is my new spiffy organizer I bought from Staples. It holds all kinds of goodies and spins around. (only $29.99). 

It is all coming together nicely. Each year I learn more and create a better learning environment for us all. I do take in any suggestions they make to organize their things in a manner that is simple for them. I love Nico's desk this year because he can keep all his books right with him. It is up to him to be able to locate them and be ready to go. Next week is more of the same, with a park day thrown in....unless the kids have a bad week, which I doubt, because park day is VERY important to them.


  1. The school house is looking great! Glad you had a good week.

  2. Really nice organization!
    I especially love the wall organizer! I might steal this idea from you. DId you make it? I think I'll try making one...

  3. Karen, I actually bought it from Learning Resources. It is vinyl. I really like it.