Tag Archives: organization

Favorite Tools as a homeschooler

This is our 8th year homeschooling. I feel like I have successfully accomplished so many things with the kids. I was in my studio and was thinking this morning. “What Items Can I Not Live Without?” Besides the kids computers(yes, they each have their own netbooks) and AOP homeschooling curriculum called Switched on Schoolhouse, there are a FEW other things that just make my life a bit easier!!!

We started off our homeschooling sitting on the floor in the living room with a few workbooks for a lone 1st grader. Shelby was AMAZING to go along with mommy, having a 2 year old brother and and a one year old sister. Then, we moved out of boxes at the dining room table. – We never ate at the table because there were always projects going on all of the time. When we moved into our new house 20 months ago, we converted the formal dining room into a classroom. I really don’t need anything “formal” in this house since, well, we have little hand who break things. We got a FREE dining room table and chairs set off of the local Freecycle group. It needed a bit of “re-gluing” but is perfect! I also have a dresser that we have added into the room in order to have some extra space for art supplies.


My Cricut Machine is never far from me and it lives on the dresser in the schoolroom. Today, I am using the calendar set and cutting the months of the year to hang on my classroom wall for Berlyn and Rowan. (Berlyn is my autistic child and does go to a half day Kindergarten class at a public school with the most AWESOME teacher.) Berlyn has been learning the months of the year at school, so I wanted to add that to our classroom wall too! Shelby even got the new one for Christmas this year that hooks up to her computer and has digital art and can also use the cartridges. I can’t imagine not having this tool in our collection. The kids use it for reports. I use it for scrapbooking, and school related items (both theirs and mine).


My Cube Shelving in my classroom is another essential. I pick up a lot of items at local yard sales and I needed a way to organize them. These cubicle shelves are at places like Walmart, and Target. They have all different color shelves and you can pick up drawers separately.

We use the drawers for “glue”. Yes, I have an adhesive drawer! And one that has all of their painting supplies, and decorative scissors, and extra supplies.

The shelves also hold the plastic shoe boxes GREAT and can double as bookshelves! I have math counters and science equipment in those. Along with a shoebox of crayons, and one with colored pencils and one with markers. I have never run out of or lost my colored pencils while they are in these shoe boxes. (Hey, I even labeled the outside of the boxes with my Cricut machine and wall vinyl!!!


INTERNET plays a HUGE roll in our schooling as well! I use it for project ideas and the kids use it for research. I find worksheets online and activities as well.


Last but not least – a TIMER is essential in our house. We DO NOT school all day with formal lessons, however, we do school for a time every morning. I set the timer to 3 hours at 9am and get started. Once that buzzer rings, I check the computer work. If everyone has gotten done their today’s work, then… WE ARE DONE! 🙂 In the afternoon is free reading, activity, cooking, etc.


I hope that this gives you an insight to “US” and what we can’t live without.

Point Reward System for chores

I am serious when I say that I believe in NOT giving out allowance for everyday household chores. As a mom, I don’t get paid in money for washing the floor or folding laundry… why should my kids earn money for keeping their rooms clean or brushing their teeth? These are every day items that are required to run a household (I know that I will have those who disagree with me, however I want to show your something else that we have implemented with out clan before you scold and cuss me out for being a bad mom!!)

Having one child who doesn’t understand the concept of money anyway and thinks that you can go to the store and ALWAYS buy him a toy while we are there, we have made out own store at home with items that I have picked up on sale racks, dollar sections of Target, Walgreens sale aisle, etc. We call it Mommy’s Treasure Box Store.

Here’s the Breakdown for our family

Point Reward System for chores and extras

(I found everything that I used on sale or at yard sales – DO NOT overspend on these items… I budget this very closely and take $20 cash out and can only use that $$$.)

I started by making POINTS – I used the pre-made sheets of business cards and ran them through my printer with 1 Point, 2 Points, 5 points and 10 points on them. I then took with the kids and stamped on each card.

I keep these in my desk. As children complete normal chores, I give out these points. If I have to ask more than once for something, then, they don’t earn anything. We don’t ever take away points… If my kiddlings do something extra, without asking, they will earn extra points. And we give them for good behavior (especially with my Autistic son, Berlyn.)

At the end of the week, our family store opens up. I spend less than $20 every paycheck on items for the store. The kids get 30 minutes to shop and purchase items with their points. I purchase little things at the dollar store, Target Dollar section, sale rack at Walgreens, etc and also print up (on the same business cards) rewards that they can buy as well.

Everything in the point basket is priced at 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 points… and then there is a movie theater card that is 500 points.  Included in the basket are school supplies (decorative pencils, notepads, stickers) toys, games, candy, dolls, bubbles, color books, cooler TEEN stuff for Shelby, etc.


I store everything in a basket that I picked up at a yardsale for $1! I store it up out of reach of kiddlings. If they have 50 points and spend 35, then they have 15 that carry over to the next week. They store their points in an envelope on their chore clipboard in the hallway. Here is the link to the Chore Clipboards that we made: http://krisandlarry.com/2010/07/03/chore-charts-on-our-wall/


My kids LIKE to help out around the house. They make it a point to remind me when they do extra things just so that they can earn points.


Point Reward System for chores