We picked up a few items - velcro for our new schedule cards, magazine racks, a weekly and monthly dry-erase calendar, pencils, and so forth. More importantly, we bought a big crate in which to put all of last year's materials (including wall art, timelines, and poster presentations). It was time to clear the decks for a new year.
After all the old stuff was off the walls and stowed away, Tom and I made a list of all the categories of activities we had in mind for the year. Then we put a number next to the category to indicate how often we'd do each activity per week (Reading - 5, and so forth). Then we made up the right quantity of cards for each activity. This year, we decided to color-code - so we could find the cards more easily. So reading and writing are pink, math is green, etc. Lastly, we put velcro patches on the back of each card, so that it could be mounted on our schedule.
This chart is just a large piece of foam core, along with colored 3X5 backed with velcro. We put together a schedule every week - and often shift things around as needed.
Once that was complete (and we'd had lunch), we started filling in our monthly and weekly calendars. My hope is that, by using all these scheduling tools, Tom will get a better sense of how time flows, and how to think about and schedule activities and projects. Of course, in week one things were pretty loosey goosey - but starting next week, lots of outside activities will start up, and the calendar will become more complex.
These Dry-Erase calendars make it easy for us to see what's coming up - and for Tom to get a better sense of how time flows, and how to think about planning ahead.
We stuck the calendars up on the sliding doors (too little wall space for a homeschool, really...), and then figured out our schedules for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (knowing a cousin would arrive on Friday afternoon!).
The space was all ready - and, it being the first day of homeschool, it seemed to me we'd done enough. So we set off for a "nature hike" down to the harbor. I stuck a baggie in my pocket, keeping in mind that we're starting our Birds unit - and lo and behold, we found several feathers to stow away for the future.