Yeah, kind of a strange title. Let me explain…
In the past 2-3 weeks, I have seen a huge improvement of Builder and Princess settling down to do their morning work. Morning is when we largely focus on our math and word work. I believe three things have contributed to this increase in productivity, and decrease in whining/complaining about getting started with schoolwork.
#1 – a table
This sounds simple and obvious, but in our house we did not have a place we could all gather and work on things at the same time. At least, we didn’t have a place relatively workable for all of us. We could sit at the kitchen table, but that was really too high for the kids to work comfortably. So, we purchased what is called an activity table. One day, I pictured us all sitting around a table at their sitting height. I loved this idea and did some research. I knew this was an investment I was willing to make in our homeschool and found a basic 2′ x 4′ school table. The table’s height is adjustable up to a normal desk height which allows it to grow with us through the years. Builder and Princess just know that when it is school time, we gather together at the “oak table”, as Builder likes to call it, and get to work. Having a work space at their own height, I believe, is key.
#2 – a snack
This little key was found quite by accident, which I notice is how many things come to be. We had breakfast early one day, so as we were sitting down at our new school table I asked if the kids wanted a snack. Of course, they did. Lo and behold, they sat eating their snack and then were ready to move on to work since they were already sitting and poised, ready for action. This is what we have done for the last couple of weeks. When it is time to transition to school, we move to the table, have a snack, and get to work. Sometimes they finish their snack before getting started. Sometimes they start working while eating. Either way, this mama is happy.
#3 – student bins
This is something that has helped me and the kids. We have designated a rainbow drawer for each child. Any printed material, manipulatives, glue sticks, etc. that may be needed for work that day is placed in the bin and set on the table for the beginning of school time. This helps me keep accountable as well as helping Builder and Princess see the scope of what needs to be done for the day. It also helps them know how close they are to finishing, and I think that has helped overall. If it is not a printed material, a sticky note can be placed in the bin and thrown away once the activity is completed. When their work is finished, they place it on my desk. When their bin is empty they can put it back in the rainbow drawer stacker.
So there you have it…a place for bottoms, something in their bellies, bins for the days work. Three very small things that have made a big difference in our school day.
Your Turn to Play ~ What is one of your most valuable routines or tools?