I've been holding off on doing this post because I wanted to get a feel for what actually worked for us. It's been a little under a month and this set up is still working great. We don't actually have a spare room to homeschool in so this is actually just a corner of the boys room. The calender and plastic photo holder get put up each morning and get put away in the afternoon. This is to prevent curiuos toddlers to destroy it in the night. At first I wasn't sure if it was going to work (as I tend to be sort of forgetful at putting things away) but actually it's worked great and it just gets tucked on the side of their toy shelf before nap time. The rest of the items on the wall are too high to reach so they get left on the wall.
Here is what we are working with.
2. photo pocket chart that we use to hold our scriptures and theme related items for the month
3.our color of the week name and animal (based on Brown Bear, Brown Bear)
4. Weather chart
To the side of that I have a small book shelf that we use for toys. Typically things that go along with our theme or used for cognitive work. And I am going to let you in on a tip my MIL gave me that has changed my life and the struggle to have the boys pick up after themselves. Seriously it's amazing and so simple. Are you ready?....
You place a matching picture on the box of toys and on the shelf itself. That way they know EXACTLY where to place the item. What's even better about this is they are learning something in the process, in my case it's shapes but this can be used to matching animals, letters (capital, and lowercase) maybe even math equations to the answer, just about anything. I am so sold on this because it has really made a huge difference on how much the boys are able to clean themselves, even W can clean things for the most part on his own.
I've also found that limiting the amount of toys on a shelf as well as limiting them to have to play with only one or two items and having to clean and put away something before pulling something else out has made a big difference. Note: this routine took my MIL about two months with the boys when she was here to really ingrain it in them before she left. I can't thank her enough, it has made this one less battle I have to deal with since they are pretty good about it now, but it just takes being consistent. So keep at it, I no longer feel like my house is taken over by mountains of toys that aren't being played with and the exhausting after bedtime clean up.
What's on our shelf?
- one tile puzzle with container of appropriate tiles
- family photo matching game
- babies and blankets
- two sets of blocks
- basket of animals
- daily reading bible
On the top shelf and wall I have our art from the prior week displayed as well as our circle time books.
Lastly, our art work is typically done on our dinner table and the boys sit across from each other in their booster seats. This setup workes best for us because there are times when I may have to step away (change a diapers, switch the laundry) and depending on how messy the project is I would prefer it to be contained a little. I keep all our school supplies in the hall closet. As they get older I think we will have art supplies more accessible and an art table for them .
That's it, our classroom in a nutshell. I am sure there will be things that we will switch around and find more helpful as the time goes on but for now this is working great.