In honor of our first day of school for the 2010/2011 school year, here is a post about a few little things that make homeschooling just a bit easier for me.
Pencil boxes. This things go on sale for 10¢ or so in July of every year, and I snatch up at least a few each time. They are the answer to many organization needs, from crayons, to Cuisenaire rods, to flash cards, to their intended purpose to hold pencils. Every homeschool can use a few more. I even like to corral hair accessories, cookie cutters, sewing machine feet, and other small things all over the house in pencil boxes.
Colors. I color code my kids. Sure, it sounds sort of super organized and just a little bit inhumane, but it actually is neither. Identifying each kid with a specific color allows all of us to see what item belongs to what kid at a glance. I know I could just write their name or even initial on the item, but these poor old eyes can't read very far away anymore. But from across the room I can see which pencil is marked with green and which is marked with orange, staving off, "He has my pencil!" arguments before they even start. Some of the tools I use toward coloring coding are permanent markers, colored duct tape, Post-It Note flags, spools of 1/4 inch ribbon, and packages of colored printer paper. It sounds like a lot, but each item is inexpensive over all and lasts for years, with the exception the Post-It Note flags that I buy yearly.