Home and School: A Peek Into the PracticalPosted by Katharine on Oct 21, 2011 in Journal
Today I joyfully offer some practical thoughts on how we bring simplicity and beauty to our home & homeschool…
paving paths for peace.
Homeschooling brings with it loads of books, manipulatives, art supplies, more books, etc…
things you may not otherwise have about the house, or at least not in such abundance.
In addition to the many tasks of managing a home and family,
homeschooling also brings the added responsibility of educating our children with excellence.
Creating a beautiful, efficient way to organize our materials and order our day is paramount.
Our kitchen is the hub of our home.
While we have turned our lower-level Family Room into a school room of sorts,
I keep the resources we use daily in one of the glass-front cupboards in the kitchen.
More often than not, this is the room I am in.
It makes sense for me to keep the materials I use most right here.
These inexpensive baskets are from Target and the chalkboard labels (which I LOVE!) I found at Potterybarn Kids.
We use Chalk Ink to letter our labels.
It’s what they use on all those quaint deli and coffee shop menu boards.
It looks like chalk, only bolder and doesn’t wipe off.
And it’s easily removed with a little H2O.
Keeping track of multiple children’s schoolwork on a daily/weekly basis can be a challenge.
Over the years I have used several systems, never really finding one I was crazy about.
And then last year, I stumbled upon this!
The file box is from Target.
The size and style were perfect for what I had in mind, but it was a bit unimaginative for my taste.
Throw in a scrap of toile and some homemade modge podge (i.e. glue and water) and voila!
Simple and chic.
Each child has a designated color with a folder for each day of the week.
On my planning day–usually Sunday–I gather all the seat work they will have for the week
and place it in the appropriate daily folder.
On school days, the kiddos know right where to look for their gear.
This means if I am unavailable for the moment, they can still get right to it.
That is such a gift to me!
A few of you asked for a better glimpse of our Daily Rhythm and Family Threads.
You may click on the photo below for a clearer view.
Thanks for your grace on my editing job, as I smudged out our last name for privacy purposes. (warm smile.)
Our Daily Rhythm is just that:
a steady beat that helps bring order to our day.
While there are times specified, they are just a guide.
I try not to get too distracted by the clock.
What matters most is the peace that pervades when we move to a predictable rhythm…
not that we’re done with breakfast precisely at 8:30.
(Which, by the way, almost never happens!)
A few months ago I recommended the fantastic book, Organized Simplicity.
This little gem helped us discover our family purpose statement, shape it into words, and then put legs on it.
We coined our finished product Our Family Threads.
It is so good for us to keep our purpose posted front and center
where we can be reminded daily what we’re about as a family.
We created hand motions for each of the threads and often run through them together as a part of our Morning Huddle.
It’s just another way to ensure these threads run deep into the fabric of our souls.
My talented husband created our Lesson Planner.
I was looking for something that would allow me to lay out a week at a time,
and would hold plans for all the kids on one simple page.
This design has worked well for us.
I keep it on the fridge or sometimes carry it on my clipboard when I need it to be mobile.
Our family is a part of a Classical Conversations community, for which we are so grateful!
Every week we tackle a new set of CC memory work,
securing mental pegs upon which the kiddos can hang new information they come upon in their studies.
Thanks to the inspiration of a dear friend who made something very similar for her family,
we created this Memory Work Display Board.
It displays all of our weekly memory work in one central location and is always visible (usually in the school room).
We try to review our memory work daily, right after our Morning Huddle.
Perhaps the thing I am most often asked regarding homeschooling is this:
What do you do with your littlest ones while you are teaching your older kids?
I find that keeping fun, educational toys on hand helps to keep little minds and fingers busy.
My two-year old can tell right away when I am trying to push her aside.
And then she clings.
You know, those whiny, wrapped around your leg, “Hold me, Mommy!” moments.
If I can give my toddler something to do right in the midst of where I am teaching the older crew,
she is perfectly content.
Most of the time.
After a while, she may get bored and wander off to play by herself.
But that is her choice, which is far better than her feeling pushed away.
In those moments when my littlest ones are especially needy,
I try to remember that just a few minutes of close cuddling with Mom is sweet medicine that will soothe their souls,
reminding myself to hold closest the ones hardest to love.
How I hope these offerings have been helpful to you.
I would love to answer any specific wonderings you may have.
Please slip me a note on the Welcome Page if there is something you are curious about.
I would delight in hearing from you!
A few links that have moved me in paving paths of peace for our home & homeschool.
Live a Celebrated Life: The Beauty of Ceremony. Ah, yes. Once again Ann speaks such lovely, captivating truth.
Order and Routine: Making Straight Paths for Peace. Again this beautifully wise word from Tonia.
Circle Time. We open our days in a similar way…our Morning Huddle. Before Dad heads off to work, we gather together to pray, often sing, and remind one another of our Family Threads (our family purpose statement).
Routines Help to Develop Habits and Make Life Lovely. A veteran homeschool mom offers this glorious encouragement on the gravity of daily rhythms.