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Sunday, September 16, 2012

10 days of Homeschool in a Minivan

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Part 2 - Organization for a certified pack rat!

            My organizational mantra has become, “Everything is not worth keeping.”  This is just one phrase that runs through my mind whenever I am faced with organizing our belongings.  There are also other phrases like, “I may need this someday,” “I could definitely make a craft from these”, “Maybe I should save this for…”  These are not necessarily bad thoughts, but they tend to lead to unnecessary hoarding!  I find that if I don’t keep my curriculum and supplies organized I tend to accumulate more than I need just because I don’t know what I have.  After staying in one apartment for five months I gathered all of the bits and pieces together and decided to get organized.
            In one file box I have a set of hanging file folders labeled from A to Z so that I can quickly find the necessary materials needed for each week from the “Letter of the Week” curriculum.  I also have a set of weekly file folders labeled from 1 to 40 for the pages from our A Beka Book 3 year old Nursery curriculum.  Carrying the books around became burdensome as I had them stored in one place and was continually pulling them out of storage to tear out pages.  After one such moment of frustration I tore out the remaining pages and collated them (like any good teacher does…before school begins) and organized them into their respective folders.  Now when I need the materials they are ready at a moment’s notice.  The other file box that I have is used to store some extra workbooks and smaller Tupperware containers of manipulatives.
            The file boxes are great for keeping our curriculum organized, but since they are perfectly boxed shaped; my husband loves to use them for filling in gaps when packing the car.  This produces a dilemma on long trips because we don’t always unpack everything during our stops and I definitely do not want to repack the car just to get to one worksheet!  My solution thus far has been 3-ringed binders with page protectors and folders.   I plan out how much work we need, then load up the binders and slip them into our “school only” backpack.  The backpack contains binders for the boys, a supply box with the basics, a pencil bag with dry erase markers and an eraser, and several small dollar store workbooks to keep little hands busy during non-school times, like during church services when no nursery is provided.
            Two smaller containers (about half the size of the file boxes) contain my teacher supplies.  One is filled with flashcards and manipulatives like magnets, and laminated visuals.  The other container is filled with arts and craft supplies for our various projects.  These four containers have helped me stay organized as we travel.  They have also helped me control my desire to accumulate little things along the way, because if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit!  Therefore "Everything is not worth keeping!  And what you do keep must meet your needs."

Next up...Part 3 - What to Do with Two Under Four 

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