I am updating my supplies and organization in my school room and wondering what is your favorite tool or item you highly recommend? I just learned about the Ticonderoga Pencils, but now in need of a good pencil sharpener. What about storage, arts/craft supplies, storing kids past work assignments, desk or workspace, etc. If you have limited space, any tricks/ideas to share? Thank you so much for your creative ideas/suggestions.
We love our X-Acto pencil sharpener - it is like this one. Look for things you already have for storage - we have used a linen closet (perfect size for books and craft supplies), an entertainment armoire (also for books and craft supplies), plastic shoe boxes from the dollar store for craft supplies. My latest idea for workspace is an adjustable table that can change heights as the child grows. I haven't tried this yet, but have been considering it as my littles are outgrowing their little plastic table and chairs. I haven't figured out how to store past work yet so I'm hoping someone else has a great idea to share.
we have one of those desks and it is wide enough to sit both of my little ones. very nice and worth every penny.Also, we make notebooks out of there work and store them like a book on the shelf ( but I don't try to keep everything)we hang everything nice up for a couple of months and then it is taken down and either put in a notebook or given to a grandparent or church friend, or even discarded.Some things turn out so good or the child likes it so much that they hang them up in their room.
Yes, Ticonderoga Pencils are ridiculously the best. I always have plenty of those on hand. I personally couldn't live without my labeler. It's a simple DYMO, but I use it for folders, boxes, storage..you name it! Also Wall E's White Boards. I bought them on-line..Amazon I think. They peel and stick, but aren't permanent. You can virtually create a white board to fit your own size/needs.
What are the Ticonderoga Pencils like? Is there something extra good about them? I've never heard of them before. We use regular pencils (sometimes buying pretty color or designed ones) and also have some mechanical pencils too, and just a regular old electric pencil sharpener that I've had for years.
For us, it's tricky. We have a small house and no special room for our school room. My living room is sort of long and not overly wide. We have it where one end is the living room area with the tv, couch, and recliner. And then the other half of the long room is sort of like a dining room with a table and chairs, china cabinet, etc. So we do schoolwork there.
I have a wooden dry sink that my mother gave me. It once held liqour bottles and odd items like a few photo albums, books, magazines, etc. but I have since cleaned it all out and it holds our homeschool stuff. All the books and binders get stacked and then there is a small shelf at the top of the inside that is perfect for small plastic containers from the dollar store, to hold pens, pencils, glues, scissors, reinforcers, stapler, paper hole punchers, and all that sort of stuff. It has come in very hand and just perfect for us. It hides all the stuff. And then I can still decorate the top - which I tend to put some of my holiday and seasonal decorations on, or some candles or a plant.
Some days we do get lazy and leave school books and supplies out on the table and if you walk in, you see we are homeschoolers. Yet I try to clean it off before the weekend, so Fridays are good days to organize and put everything away, even if we haven't all week. Or if we are expecting company, then it's easy and quick to stack everything inside the dry sink. I only have one child though, so if I was homeschooling more, I'd need more dry sinks, lol! Or as Mama Essie mentioned, like an entertainment center or armoire or something. Or you could get some book shelves (or build some right on the walls) and cover them with the same curtains you have in that room, or some material that matches?
Maybe be on the look-out for things at yard sales, craig's list, or if family is ever getting ready to clean out. When my mother moved one time, she gave me the dry sink. Then this past time she moved into a really small apartment, she gave me a roll top desk that was my grandmother's. That is also in our dining room area, but I must admit, I've taken it for my stuff. :p I have my checkbook, incoming and outgoing bills, stationary, envelopes, stamps, my address book, and my homeschool planner book and such stuff like that. My dd just still always seemed to sit at the table rather than the desk, so I figured why waste it when I love it so much.
Our budget is really tight though, so I am very blessed to have been given these items that family has outgrown or wanted. There are recycling groups online where you sign up with your state (and/or county or town) and people list if they have things they are getting rid of and so if somoene is wanting to get rid of a desk or whatever, they send the email out and whoever responds first can go get it. Also sometimes people put up want ads, and sure enough, half the time someone replies back and has that item that they would like to give you. Here is a group I am in. You can see if it has a group near you:
There might be some other groups similar to it out there. Also, from what I hear, any Salvation Army thrift stores also have good deals on stuff.
As for storing old stuff, I just put the year's work in a box once summer comes, and then hubby puts it up in our attic. I am not sure if we'll ever need it, but it's there just in case. So, nothing fancy, just a big box. I suppose I could get those big rubbermade containers instead. Maybe that'd be nicer. But we only have a year and a half of work behind us so far for homeschooling.
I am a freescycle member also, There was a time when I debated on weather or not I was going to homeschool my youngest ones for the first couple of years ,k- 3rd, but a lady in my group gave me two boxes full of homeschool books for just those grades .For me it confirmed that the Lord was leading me to give it a try,( everyone kept saying that it was to hard to teach a little one to read) anyway it is a nice group and as it turns out it really isn't all that hard to teach a child to read, . lol.
That's great you got some homeschool stuff from that site. It is funny about how some people make teaching (and learning) sound so difficult, isn't it? I mean, it takes time, it's a process, but it's not brain surgery. ; ) One nurse was asking me about homeschooling and then said how her worry about it was how can parents teach it because she herself would never be able to. I was like, well, we all went to school and learned all that and graduated high school, so obviously you did know it at least at some point in your life.
My dd wanted to learn to write and read so early on because she saw me doing it. She was always asking me how to spell certain words and she would just remember how to spell it after that. But then she started kindergarten (public school) and they taught her how to sound out words and she started becoming a worse speller. It was kind of weird. But I get that they start with phonics and all that. But it just goes to show that there are different styles and techniques. Once kids get older, they realize that spelling does become something you just have to memorize (they start learning that with sight word pretty early on, actually). But somehow, it all comes together. It is really a sweet thing hearing a child starting to read. You can feel how excited and proud they are.
There was a conversation a few months back (say November?) which is about pencil sharpeners, which also discussed pencils. Basically, the better the pencil, the easier it sharpens, keeps it point, and erases. We have used Dixon Ticonderoga for years. After that conversation, I also tried Megabands "USA Gold". My college kid wants to stick with her Dixon Ticonderogas. One of the school age kids likes the USA Gold, the other is neutral. The USA Golds wind up being more expensive than the Ticonderogas, but in the grand scheme of what I spend on school, not so much.
Anyway, as far as school items -- years ago (1997?), before the advent of all-in-one printer/copier things, I bought a mid-sized business analog copier. That has been a workhorse.
I love my label maker
I found a magnetic white board at office depot for $24!
We use expedit bookshelves from Ikea to store our books and art supplies, etc. I use little buckets that I got at Target to keep pencils, erasers, crayons, etc our for everyone to see. I love our wall maps. We have big wall maps that we got from Staples. I have a 3drawer plastic bin that holds our flash cards, paper, and extra supplies.
Definitely a kindle. I have a dyslexic High schooler and she has trouble reading the text to speech really is a godsend. My son uses one to but he just reads without the text to speech.
So many classics are free!
Wireless Color Copier, but we only got one about 3 years ago. Portable Whiteboard and stand. Kids love it for practicing their math and spelling. In our small home, I had a large, free-standing storage closet, the size of a wardrobe. It was in our dining room.
my hot glue gun is my fav. I don't know how I ever lived without one before. I store a lot in my storage rack.It has three shelves and about 9 bins.I also don't know what I would do without all of my bookshelves.
I would also love to know if anyone uses a laminate machine or just go to a local store to get your projects laminated. I always wondered if it was cost effective to own one. Thanks for all the ideas! Getting very inspired.