Simplifying teaching

We have less than one week to go until we start up school.  I am working on all the lessons coming up, and it is getting exciting.  I always get asked, “How do you teach all your kids?  How do you spend your day?”

Last year we incorporated the Workbox System into our school.  For those who do not know what that is, it a system designed by Sue Patrick where you use a number of boxes for each child.  Each box contains an assignment, and the child works through the boxes each day.  It’s really involved, but the end result is to create independence as well as motivating the child, because they visually “see” their work getting completed.  There are TONS of websites, blogs, etc. devoted to this and how people have tweaked it for their own family.

This year we are tweaking our system as well, in order to simplify.  The boxes were great last year but they were cumbersome.  This year with three kids all doing a fair amount of work, it would be just too many boxes.  I also felt I didn’t need a whole box sometimes just for  a worksheet in or even a note that said,  “work on Rosetta Stone.”

So now we have thee plastic bins.  Each child has their own and inside are hanging file folders.  Each night I will put their work for the next day inside (this is a HUGE benefit to using this system…it forces me to lay everything out the night before)

In the morning we will being each day with prayer, Bible and a devotion.  Then the kids will have about 2.5 hours to work independently on their folders.  I will spend individual time with each child as well.  John will get me first, since he is youngest and needs me most.  The others will work on their folders independently.  Anything they need me for will wait until their “alone time” with me.   I will have a box of “extras” that they can go to while they are waiting for me.

The plastic bins for each child

The sign above the bins:
“Let all things be done decently and in order”
I Corinthians 14:40
These shelves are next to my desk where each child will put their work as they complete it.  I then have a binder for each child’s completed work to make a “portfolio” of their work for the year.

Grace is also going to “teach” Ethan (almost 2 years old) while I work with the boys. This will enable me to work with the boys without being distracted by him, as well as giving Grace some responsibility and teaching her to take care of Ethan.  She is very cute as she already planned some “lessons” to teach him his colors, letters, etc.

After lunch we will do all of our “together” work, which will include History, Geography, Science, Composer study, Artist and Picture Study, and Literature.  

So while teaching three kids may seem like a challenge to some, it really can be easy, as long as I plan, stay on the plan (while allowing for some flexibility!), and keep my eyes focused on God.  He will always supply all that I can not.  And remember, teaching 25+ kids in a classroom setting seems much harder of a task than three of my own! 🙂

So how do you simplify your school?  What plans do you have for this year?  I’d love to hear!

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