I’ve been taking a break from Tot School posts the last few weeks, and honestly it’s felt good. So good in fact, that I’ve been wondering if I should start them up again. And then, I wonder what would be the point of my blog if I didn’t write about what we do in Tot School? And then I re-read a lot of comments from previous TS posts and, well, I have to say comment-love is a powerful drug. ;)
Do your school re-cap posts each week take you forever to write?? I’ve saved a tremendous amount of energy and time by not writing these posts… it’s really amazing actually. Maybe it’s just me, but one TS post will take me an entire evening to write. All the photo editing, photo organizing, linking to other sites, blah blah blah. If you have any tips on making this simpler, I’m all ears! Maybe it’s just that I’m a born talker, er rambler. :)
I am in the middle of assessing and re-thinking how we spend our TS time and how I have it organized. This post will most likely be a lot of thinking out loud and more rambling. So, bear with me. :)
During my pre-Christmas blog break I created a “master list” spreadsheet of all our school items – anything we have that we use for school. I tagged each item with a subject or skill area (or two), added notes, and a check box to indicate whether or not it is an activity that M can do independently. (Whether or not it’s something he enjoys doing independently is another matter altogether!)
So, here’s our new plan…
I’m going to set out 5 to 7 independent or minimal-mama-involvement activities for him each week, changing a few of them up during the week as he finishes the original ones (ie. cut and paste sheets). Many of these will be things like his Melissa and Doug toys, fine motor skill projects, etc.
We also re-organized his space with the shelving. The little cupboard on the lower right houses all our games now, and we are having many fun evenings as a family because of this easy access. There are matching games, homemade games, card games, board games, dominoes, bingo, Barrel of Monkeys… just lots of fun stuff! :) The top of the right side holds M’s ABC book, his ABC lapbooks, all our flannelboard sets, a file folder with activities related to our current theme, and our current sensory bin (not all of this is in the pic, sorry).
On the left side, on the top are all his musical instruments (guitar to the side) and our songs and poems binder.
Then, on the shelves below this are his current activities. I will most likely keep the pipecleaner letters and sand tray on there all the time. Other than that, the activities on the shelves will be featured on my weekly TS post. However, because these are things that M will be doing on his own mostly, photos will pretty much be hit or miss. I’ll try to take pictures of the actual activities, but catching him doing it is another matter.
While we are talking about taking photos I should mention that I’ve decided to always ask M’s permission to take a picture of him doing our school things. I think the poor kid feels a little pressured sometimes, or less important than the blog, when I’m constantly snapping pictures. I’ve thought about this and I have to say I would not want someone taking my picture all the time as I’m trying to learn something new. It’s so easy to forget to respect the fact that kids are little people with feelings too. So, I’m working hard on this, and you may end up seeing fewer pics of M in my posts.
I’m also going to bring back our one morning a week that we spend about 1/2 hour together “doing” school. We both used to love this time together. But M was asking to “do school” all the time! Hence, the activity shelves. Yet, it’s not fair to M to set things out on the shelves for us to do together and then not find the time (right now!) to do them; not to mention it’s creating stress for me, what with running around trying to get chores done so I can do these things with M.
The other days I’m going to focus our time together on reading, music, sensory activities, baking, free-playing, art, and our fun science experiments. Many of these will most likely have their own post if I post about them, and I’m not sure I’ll include them in my TS posts. It would just be one more thing to link up to.
We continue to enjoy our calendar and Bible Story time together every morning as well as our quick “morning message”, and I want to make our Bible story activities a priority over any other schoolwork each week. So if I have a craft or game or whatever, planned to go along with a Bible story we’ve read, and we only have 20 minutes that week to do school together, then that’s what we’ll end up doing!
Whew. Did I cover everything I want to do? This is one of those posts that are mainly for me – so I can go back and read about exactly what I want to do and remember my priorities! Thanks for hanging on to the end. :) Any suggestions for making things simpler are always welcome!
Have a beautiful day! :)