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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Schooling Essentials: Buckets

5 Days of Homeschooling EssentialsThis week I'll be posting some of my "home schooling essentials", a couple of the items that I can't live without when teaching the kids at home, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's winter blog hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials. The items in my posts this week may seem very simple and some even silly and, yes, they are simple items. Home schooling, like life, is as simple or complicated as we choose to make it and I prefer to keep it simple. I know no magic secrets or products that make home schooling successful, but after many years of teaching at home I have found a few things that make my world flow well and I'm excited to share them to you.

Each home schooling child has a bucket. A square storage box or bin, rather than a sand bucket - but in our house, for some unknown reason, they're called buckets. As in, "Grab your bucket and let's get started on schoolwork."

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family

The buckets fit perfectly into my fantastic Ikea Expedit bookcase that lives in the dining room. While the dining room is an odd place to keep schoolwork it's close to the kitchen table and the pretty (at least when they were new) buckets, supposedly, hide the mess and look nice. I'm so embarrassed by the following photo, we clearly need some new buckets and the shelves are usually much more organized, but this is real life homeschooling and sometimes it's a mess ...

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family

Ok, moving on ... Each schooling child has a bucket. Actually, each child in the family has a bucket, even Cassie still has a bucket (mostly because she hasn't ever cleaned hers out). The buckets are in order by age so I always know who's bucket is where and can quickly toss things into the right bucket.

In their bucket the kids keep their binders. They have 1"-2" 3-ring binders for Language Arts, Math, Science, and History. Some years they have more binders than others, it just depends what we're working on. The binders are divided by topic - the Language Arts binder has a section for each different area we work in in that field, such as spelling, creative writing, and the various books and worksheets we use. Every week the kids are supposed to put their completed work into their binders, with the newest work on top. In theory, when it is time for our annual reviews we can just grab the bucket with the sorted binders and run out the door. In reality, this sorting and organizing happens 3-4 times a school year, with most of it being done the morning of our reviews. Even with our less than ideal end-of-year hustle we can get ready for reviews in an hour or two, because each child's work is already in their own space and we only have to sort by subject. After reviews the binders are emptied and all the work stored away, giving the kids clean empty binders for the next year.

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family
Adam had just finished organizing his bucket

Also in their buckets is the work they've just completed or are working on, as well as texts, pencils, calculators, and rulers.

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family
Kaden's bucket, below all this paperwork it's very organized, he's just hard at work

Each morning their buckets are brought out and they can get to work. There's no digging and searching for anything, it's all just there in their own buckets. Also, clean up at the end of the day is simplified as everything can go straight in their buckets until the next morning.

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family

I too have a bucket. My bucket contains the answer books for their texts, joint books the kids are using such as History and Science texts, the schedule binder (more on that later this week), some of my favorite idea books (also to be discussed in more detail later), my "must have" writing utensils, some of River's workbooks, and, and I give River the credit for this one because I have no idea where it came from, quite a bit of glue.

Because I'm Me Homeschooling Essentials: Buckets, sharing what works for a larger homeschooling family

Each morning my bucket comes out and sits next to me. Everything I need is right there with me.

We've used the buckets for about six years. Before that we used a kitchen island and everything got stacked with each child having their own pile. The island was wide enough for 3 children's work. When Adam reached school age a new plan became absolutely necessary or schoolwork was going to be all over the place, and that plan was the bucket system. It has worked wonderfully for us.

If you have any questions about anything I mention this week feel free to ask.

Please visit these other Home School Review Crew members' post this week as they share their homeschooling essentials:
Shalynne @ Wonderfully Chaotic
Melanie @ A Year of Jubilee Reviews
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Nikki @ Angels of Heart
Sara @ Embracing Destiny
Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
Jennifer @ Simblissity Cottage
Kathy @ Kathys Cluttered Mind
Annette @ A Net in Time

For even more terrific blog posts in the 5 Days of Home Schooling Essentials series click the image in the top left corner.

2 comments:

  1. I love how your 'simple' post have such gorgeous photos! I don't find any of these items too simple, they are such great building blocks for homeschooling.

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  2. I love your "buckets." We've had all different ways to keep up with our supplies over the years, but it is very nice to know everything is all in one place!

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