Monday, February 06, 2012

Our new homeschool system

So, as we've added pupils to the school, organization has become more and more important. When educating more than one child with a learning challenge, it becomes vital. This year, we began using a modified workbox system.

She suggests dividing the work into 12 boxes per child, per day. Since we do unit studies, all the children are studying the same science, history, Bible and art. This means we begin our day on the reading carpet and listen as I read from our various "living books" (we try to choose more real books and fewer textbooks). We pray together and if we have an art project for the day, we complete it after carpet time.

This year we put up a reading tree. Every time we complete a read-aloud, we add a leaf to our tree. Our goal is 1000 books between 10/11 and 10/12.

This is the whole school room:

You can see my desk on the left there, with my filing cabinets. The desk on the right side of mine faces the children's area and its drawers hold all of our colored paper and supplies. I also have a desk apprentice on that side with my stuff in it.

Yes, that is a dishwasher rack sitting on the left side of my desk. It is perfect for book storage. It allows me to flip through our current or future read-alouds easily. My file cabinet is full of file-folder games for the children's workboxes. These are easy to make games that reinforce skills the children are learning. Most include a key so the child can self-check.

Here are Luke and Abby's desks:

Each child's area has a desk apprentice, a bookshelf, a desk, chair, and a light. Sue Patrick suggests using all plastic shoeboxes for the workboxes but we found that to be unwieldy. So we use a combination of magazine files, plastic shoeboxes and file folders.

Each day I pack the children's boxes/folders with their assignments for the day. If it is a workbook, I put a sticky note on that day's workpages. They begin with #1 and work through #8. As they complete each box/folder, they remove the number from the velcro and place it on their docking station.

Then they place their finished work in their worktub. (See the white tub to the left of his desk apprentice?)

I begin with Luke and work around to Nate. So I try to stack the older kids' boxes with assignments they can complete on their own in the early boxes. If they get stuck on a box, they can simply replace it in their folder and wait for me to get to them.

Each child has his/her own space to be responsible for. I tried to design cute docking stations for each child's numbers as well.

Here is Abby's desk:

And docking station:

Nate and Anna share the other wall of the school room:

The giant board up on the wall is our All About Spelling/All About Reading board. I am in love with this O-G based phonics/spelling program and have seen all four kids growing in their spelling and reading since beginning this fall.

When we use the board, I just pull it down from the wall and set it against the end of the table on the floor. We do our assignment and then put it back up. This keeps Leah Claire out of the letters.

Here is Anna's docking station:

And Nate's (those are supposed to be Legos, no mocking the art skills):

You may have noticed a couple of extra squares on each child's station. Those are for "bonus boxes." Usually a board game or fun activity that they may choose to do when they finish school.

So there you have it, the Pfanstiel school system. Love to help anyone out or take suggestions!


Charlene said...

Love it! We do workboxes as well and it is always great to see how others set up. Thanks for sharing :)

My name is Tiffany said...

Looks great! I keep hearing about All About Spelling. What about it's approach is OG

Tamara said...

Tiffany, the only other OG programs I am familiar with are Barton and Dyslexia Training Program. AAS/AAR are very similar in that they focus on knowing the phonemes and the WHY behind how words are spelled and pronounced. It helps the student divide the word into sounds and then choose the correct letter/letter team to spell the sound. It's not nearly as intensive (or as pricey, thank God!) as Barton or DTS, but is great for dyslexic children who need solid phonics and rules. Marie, the writer, is awesome and will email you with help if you have issues. I honestly wish I'd found this program years ago. And she can't write the new AAR fast enough for me!

Anonymous said...

Inspiring for sure! :) Hope to have a school room one day. No space at all for that in our current house. So the table and sofa suffice. But I can see that we will need to have better organization as the littles begin to join us in school.