Filing School Papers

f84c6308b877dacf70ce1522c1dc786bSchool has begun and I am already feeling the crush of paperwork bearing down upon me! Am I the only one  feeling this way?  Ugh! Are you feeling the crush too? How can you document your school year to be able to show me (an Ohio certified assessor) how much your student accomplished without feeling horrible about the lack of organization?

Now is the time to begin so that you are not overwhelmed in the spring by all of the paperwork that has been accumulating. You can organize papers so that all you have to do is contact me to set up your portfolio review. No wading through papers and workbooks, deciding on what to take. I am giving you a list of ideas to help organize and discard papers so that your house is not overrun by math papers, science labs, maps, and workbook pages.  Pick and choose from the items listed, but do not do every one of them!🙂 Hopefully, one of these will work for you as your child finishes their school work.

Create a binder for each subject to put a sample in it. This can be done every Friday, or it can be collected once a month. If you are collecting samples monthly, just pick the same time each month; ideally, the beginning or end.

Use folders to place a work sample of each subject. Using different colors for subjects will help you to have an easy filing system. For instance, a yellow folder for language arts, a red folder for math, etc., that you can quickly drop a sample into the appropriate subject folder. At the end of the year you can grab the folders and put them in a cute school bag to take with you.

Accordion pleated file systems for each of your children keeps everything organized in one convenient location. You can label the tabs with subjects for filing. An assessor does not need to see every scrap of paper and doodle that your scholar has done. Trust yourself and choose paperwork and samples that represent the work being completed.

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Hanging folders with labeled tabs of the subjects are an efficient and out-of- sight way to organize paperwork. I have a four drawer filing cabinet that I recently acquired and I wonder how I have lived without it for all of these years!

Binder Clips Gather each month’s samples of work and  clip them according to the subject. Place in a folder and label the month or the subject, whatever is best for you.

Systems that I have tried and do not work well in my opinion are:

baskets– everything falls to the bottom and nothing is organized. I just have to go through the heap at a later time!

rectangular plastic containers or filing boxes- the same as mentioned above. I just have more time to keep adding papers to the jumble that is collecting and multiplying. Now, if you actually use the file box and put folders in it, then it is a thing of beauty (sigh).

cloth bags– another collection sight that I never look at until I can’t find something. In fact, the other day I was trying to find some files that I thought were in my filing cabinet and I stumbled upon this bag that was filled to the brim with who-knows- what. I felt that I should look into it as it had been sitting near a bookshelf for several months. I was pleasantly surprised and quite relieved that is was the files for which I was looking! Needless to say, the cloth bag was a terrible filing system.

What, pray tell, do I keep when gathering samples?  I kept one page of a concept that had been introduced or mastered. If introduced, I added a paper later that showed progress (or not😦 ) and then mastery or  continued help. I did not always follow through with the concept, but I tried to as much as possible. Allow your child to select samples to showcase too. Many children are interested in what I think of their work and are excited to show me things they have done. It can also help them to put forth their best and take pride in their work.

Throughout the year if my student had a difficult time with a concept, I would pick out that paper and write on a post-it note what was the difficulty. This helped me see progress that is made throughout the year or something I needed to evaluate or ask for help to have my student understand the concept.

If your student is doing schoolwork online, then see if there is a progress report, quiz or test that can be printed off to include in your files. If not, take pictures throughout the year of screenshots of work. You do not necessarily need to print off the pictures, but put them in a file that you back up regularly.

If you are using workbooks and don’t want to tear out papers until the end of the year you can use those cool skinny post-it note flags.  You can mark the pages throughout the year that  you want to take to your portfolio review appointment. It will take just a few minutes in the spring to remove the pages.

If you are going on field trips throughout the year, take pictures! I love seeing all of the places homeschool families visit. You can send pictures to me prior to your appointment or bring your camera along. One homeschool family makes a yearbook that I enjoy reviewing.

Do you have a project that is too big or a map or timeline you have created that is on the wall? You can snap a photograph of that too or create a video! No need to bring it with you. I understand the amount of time and hard work that has gone into projects.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have questions. I will be happy to address them.

Have a great week!

~Lisa

 

 

Baking with Children

Baking with your child is a fun way to incorporate several subjects and also have a yummy reward for your hard work! I’d say this is a win-win situation for everyone.🙂

Reading– Children are reading labels and directions in order to prepare the baked goods.

Following directions– What a terrific way for children to practice following directions! I remember vividly the first time I made brownies without my mom’s help. I was so excited to make them because I love chocolate and we didn’t have dessert all that often. I couldn’t wait to smell them baking and was anticipating eating the warm and delicious dessert with a glass of cold milk. Well…I didn’t read the directions carefully and instead of using 1/4 cup of water, I added 1-1/4 cup! I was devastated that I had to throw the batch away, but it did teach me a valuable lesson early on to read the directions twice and carefully before beginning!

Math– part of learning fractions is being able to understand the concept of a “part” of something. This can be easily demonstrated by showing your baker the measuring spoons where you can see that 1 teaspoon is a fraction of a tablespoon. You can also teach adding fractions by doubling a recipe. It can be difficult for a child to grasp that 1/4 +1/4 equals 1/2, but when able to have a hands-on experience, can help those who struggle with this concept.

Science– Chemistry can be seen in action as children combine ingredients in order to get baked goods to rise. I have a book that I want to share with you that explains in simple terms to children what is taking place when leavening agents are added to recipes. Muffins and breads are yummy ways of seeing the results of adding baking soda and/or baking powder to create them.

I bet your mouth is watering thinking of a yummy dessert. Plan for some fun in your school day; create great memories, and yummy treats. You can always make extra and take them to a neighbor to brighten their day.

Happy baking; here is a book to help you with young bakers. Pictures are below for you to have an idea of what it looks like. Enjoy!

~Lisa

 

 

5 Ideas for First Weeks of School

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I can hardly believe how time is flying by and school has begun! Maybe you are just beginning or are waiting to take the plunge next week. Here are some things to consider when beginning your year:

1.Start with an abbreviated schedule. For your first week or two start with reading and math. Add history and science and your other subjects the next week or two.

 2. Review what you learned last year if you have students who are in first grade or older. You can review ideas and concepts with your preschoolers and kindergartners such as colors and numbers.

3. Keep lessons short. The first week or so is hard for everyone to focus, including you, homeschool teacher.🙂 You can quickly add more time as everyone gets into the swing of things.

4. Read a book aloud. This is a great way to capture the attention of your students, add reading comprehension and have some great bonding time. This can be done in the morning or after lunch.

5. Give lots of praise and positive reinforcement when your student has done a good job. A word of encouragement foes a long way!

Speaking of, you are doing a great job! Have a great week of teaching.🙂

~Lisa

 

 

Online Music Game

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Music is something that I appreciate, but do not feel qualified to teach. Since that is not one of my strengths and I suspect some others may feel this way, I’d like to give you an online resource to help. It is called the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra that has been produced by the Weill Music Institute ay Carnegie Hall.

This is a comprehensive overview of the instruments of the orchestra and would certainly meet the requirement of teaching music to your elementary student. It is interactive, interesting, and well done. I found myself wanting to continue on with the adventure as I think your pupil will as well.  The adventures center around a young lady helping her eccentric uncle locate the instruments to fill an ancient amphitheater.  There are activities the children must complete that test their knowledge as they go on a treasure hunt to find the lost instruments.  I would suggest that you create an account if you wish to use this throughout the year.  I believe you and your child are going to visit here often as part of your music studies. To see for yourself CLICK HERE 

Fly Guy

Fly Guy has come a long way. When this children’s character was first introduced in the book, Hi! Fly Guy,  he was in the fiction genre. He became so popular for the younger readers that there are currently 15 books in this series. But, he has been branching out into nonfiction and is now going on grand adventures! This excites me because readers that are in early chapter books will enjoy these entertaining books while learning facts about the subject.

These books are called Fly Guy Presents and have a variety of topics ranging from firefighters, to bats, to space. Scholastic has a website that you can see all of the titles of the books, including the fiction and nonfiction titles. There is also a little bit about the author and illustrator, Tedd Arnold as well as some activities that compliment the books . CLICK HERE to go to the website.

As I had mentioned earlier, Fly Guy has been on some amazing journeys and here are some pictures of him traveling around in space. Notice that there is vocabulary, pronunciation, and actual photographs of the subject being discussed. I wish I could take a trip with him!