With a Bit of Tweaking...

Tweaking...I like that word.  It fits well with what we've done to Ms. Patrick's system.  We've tweaked it to become our own...and it works for us and our tiny space.

For us we decided to go with a file folder system simply because I wanted something that could be easily stuck away in non-school times.  We do the "hands on paper and books" time at the kitchen table...in a small kitchen...where I cook and fold laundry and do books and payroll and where we also eat.  There was simply no room in this area for a dozen workboxes regardless of how small they might have been - remember, they would have had to be large enough to accomodate the books and items we use, etc.

I found a box that works for us.  I actually found it in the basement and it was a small desk file that I used to use to hold correspondence when I was teaching.  It holds twelve file folders, neatly separated, but the box is still large enough to accomodate most of our workbooks and other items - though paint supplies still remain in the art cupboard but I simply add a sticky-note saying "retrieve red, blue and yellow paint and paint brushes from art cupboard"...not as handy but Squirt doesn't mind.

Each evening I take five minutes and gather together what we are working on the next day, fill the file box and set it on the table.  I fill Squirt's basket with the chart labels - #1, #2, #3, etc with velcro on the back - so that they are ready to go first thing in the morning.  I have a smallish basket where all the day's work goes into as Squirt finishes - math minutes sheets, file folder games, DVDs that he watched, etc.  So when I have a moment I simply reach in, check over his work and mark it complete (or incomplete) and move on.  He finishes anything I mark incomplete and then before his day is done, he has to place all papers where they belong - math minutes go into his math binder, science lapbook items go into a pouch in his science binder, etc.  Then we are done AND the table is already cleared!!!  No rushing to clear the table before setting the table for supper!

I'm sure Ms. Patrick would not approve BUT it is what works for us and that is the main point.  We are getting a lot more accomplished PLUS Squirt is enjoying his day as it is broken up - I always include a couple games every day now - be it math games, scavenger hunts, computer games or file folder games - and I am able to do this because I am better planned for our learning experience.

And lately, with the extremely warm weather we've been having here, I have been able to plan far more activities for outside - and we've adapted even further by laminating index cards and I write activities on there and OUT WE GO!  We've been at the park quite often, traipsing through what remains of the snow.  We've gone exploring the neighbourhood via the back alley.  We've examined snow crystals and "crunchy snow" (Squirt's words) and even discussed the physics behind snowmen..snow person?...We've examined trees and the buds at the very tips of the branches.  We've painted snow...We've experimented with blowing bubbles in the cooler temperatures...We've blown coloured bubbles and watched how they exploded on the white snow...

Yes, we've taken pictures of everything we've done...but I seem to have misplaced the cord that allows me to download the pictures to the computer...but as soon as I find it I will include some pictures.

So each evening, based on what the weather is going to be according to the weather channel, I will fill the file folder/workboxes, or fill the index cards with various outdoor activities and our day is set.
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