Friday, February 3, 2012

A place for everything...

One of the things I'm finding to be a struggle right now is getting organized.  I have piles of paper everywhere -- the ready-to-use lesson bundles, extra stuff I've printed to prep ahead of time, and lists of stuff I'd like to do or supplies to get. The books and craft supplies are taking over, too.  I think my husband is starting to wonder what we've gotten into.  Now that I've gotten lessons organized, I need to get the stuff FOR the lessons organized.

Can I just say that I am loving Pinterest?  I'm a very visual person, so having the ability to use it as a giant cork board has been really helpful.  It's been great to search and sort for activities, and then for being able to find them again.  Having pictures really helps me to see examples of things, from seatwork to crafts. Sometimes there are some ideas that I want to use as the are pictured; sometimes there are some that spark a different idea.  I know there are some people that would find the visual too overwhelming, but it works for me.

 The next thing I needed was to corral the papers.  I decided to purchase a large expandable file folder.  My older children use these for school -- instead of regular 2-pocket folders for each class, they have one giant folio for the entire day.  It works (well, at least when they file things properly, but that's another story), so I decided to try it for us.  I think it might just work for us, too.  I labeled the files in a manner that made sense to me -- the front pocket is the current week's curriculum, and the second one is next week's.  I have each day's materials paperclipped together, so when it is time to start working, I just pull out a packet, along with my lesson plan (to check for anything that didn't fit in the folder, like the can for today's art project).  Then I sorted all of my extra stuff by topic - math, tracing, language, art and put each category in its own slot.  There are a few empty pockets in the center, that I will probably find a use for, but the last one I labeled "Portfolio" and plan to use that to keep the papers that I want to share with Jude's Developmental Pediatrician and Psychologist, to show some of his strengths and weaknesses. Paper control, check.

Supply control -- working on that.  We have an under-the-steps cubby where I keep extra school supplies, so I thought that might work, by storing like with like.  (I've learned the hard way that when Target has crayons for a quarter per box and loose leaf by the carton in July, buy lots of extras.)  It's an ideal spot for storing the items I bought last summer; out of the way but fairly easy access.  However, after some consideration, I've decided that it's not so practical for storing things I need to get to all the time.  The cubby also houses school bags and lunch boxes and other similar items and taking them in and out daily to access the shelves behind them just isn't practical.

We do have a book case with a cabinet, and that has become my current storage spot.  I don't know that it's perfect, but it's working.  I think the one thing that will NOT do so well there is paint.  (I have five children. I will give my mother credit for not raising a fool.)  Since that is something that likely will need to be in an accessible yet secure spot, I think I will go through the kitchen cabinets and try to rearrange and find a shelf I can leave things like that on.

 The last things I needed to find a home for are Jude's crayons, scissors, etc.  We had been keeping them in a plastic sandwich-sized zip-top bag, because it made finding the right color (and cleaning up) easier than rooting through the crayon box, and there was enough room to stick his scissors and glue in the bag too.  However, it didn't really fit the pencils in (if I wanted to be able to close the bag so we didn't lose any crayons), so we needed a better plan.  A picture on Pinterest gave me the "aha" moment that led to today's art project:

Apply regular white glue to foam shapes. 

You can use crafter's glue if you prefer, or try to find the shapes that have sticker backings.

Apply shapes to a clean, empty can.

Any coffee-sized can will do.  If it does not have a flat surface, cover it with a piece of construction paper to create one.  

A way to re-use an old can for a new purpose.  

This one holds Jude's crayons, pencils, scissors, glue (liquid and stick), and a roll of tape. 

It's not the newest invention in the universe, I know.  But it solves two problems -- one, where to keep Jude's daily-use supplies, and two, how to use at least a few of the extra cans we have lying around.  My friends from Kids with Food Allergies Foundation* will recognize the can.  It's an empty can of Neocate Jr. elemental enteral formula.  My daughter and youngest son each has extensive allergies, and it is the main source of their nutrition.  Consequently, we have a LOT of these cans. While the majority do land in the recycle bin, it's nice to be able to upcycle one from time to time. A craft that is an oldie but goodie, it provides some OT practice and helps in our quest to find a place for everything.

*The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation improves the day-to-day lives of families raising children with food allergies and empowers them to create a safe and healthy future for their children.  It's a support system that has helped us for years.  Beyond just the basics of living with allergies, KFA has a support board dedicated to homeschooling families, a board for traditionally schooling families, and lots of printable resources for all families of children with allergies.  I definitely recommend checking out their Holiday Celebrations resources.  There are lots of lesson and craft ideas that help minimize a child's exposure to his or her allergens, but are also just plain fun for all.

1 comment:

  1. The Neocate can has me chuckling.

    Baby wipe bins make excellent pencil and crayon boxes too... just saying.


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