Like the title says, the CAL page has been updated, and with 2 clues this time instead of just the one. So, for those of you who read this blog and are participating in the CAL, this notice is for you. For the rest of you, ignore this paragraph and continue on. 🙂

This week, for our school work, I’m implementing a “new-to-us” approach for organizing and implementing our school work. We’ve only been at it for an hour so far (the schoolwork, I mean), and it seems to be going fairly well. Last week, through blog-hopping, I discovered an organization system using Work Boxes, which are basically clear shoebox-sized storage boxes that are labeled with numerals 1-12, and other labels are added as needed (i.e., timer required, you will need Mommy’s/Daddy’s help, etc.). They are stored on a 3-tiered cart, which can be pushed out of the way when not in use. This system, while it sounds fantastic, is rather impractical for us at this time, since our home is up for sale, and we’ve had a few showings and an open house (with another open house scheduled in the next couple of weeks). So, I revamped it for our current needs and schedule, and thus far it’s working. I went to the grocery store and bought a 30-count box of gallon-sized freezer bags–I chose the freezer bags because of the white writing space provided for labeling frozen goods. At the Dollar Tree, I also found collapsible canvas-like storage boxes (in the home-and-bath aisle), of which I purchased 2. In the office/teacher supplies aisle, I picked up index cards (3×5 and 4×6), 3 pkgs of dry-erase (aka, grease board) markers, and pencils. Once I got home, I started work on my version of the system.

I assembled the canvas-like boxes, and took out 12 of the gallon-sized bags. Using a Fine-point permanent marker, I labeled the bags with dd1’s name, a number between 1 and 12, and what subject the bag was to contain. Once this step was completed, filling them has been easy. Some of the bags I expect to change every day, others will just need updating (i.e., bookmarks will need moving, supplies replenished, etc.). Since we follow Charlotte Mason’s method of schooling (except for the age requirement), the subjects were easy to figure.

Bag 1 has a Bible, which is marked in the place for Munchkin to read for the day.

Bag 2 has Science, and this one has a book with a page marked for her to read. After she reads, she is to tell me what she learned.

Bag 3 is her Reader, which this week is “Owl at Home”.

Bag 4 is Geography, and today her assignment is to draw the placement of the furniture in her room.

Bag 5 is Literature & History, and this is one that Mommy or Daddy have to help with, because this is the read-aloud portion of the day. We have a book that we’re reading (“Little House on the Prairie”, of which we have only a couple chapters left to read), and once she reaches this bag, I take a break from what I’m doing and read a chapter or so to both girls.

Bag 6 is for Singing and Hymn Study. Each week, we’ll be learning a new hymn. This week’s assignment is the Doxology: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!/Praise Him all creatures here below!/Praise Him above, ye heavenly host!/Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!/Amen.” I need to find the CDs, but I have about 100 hymns recorded, and I’m sure I can also find recordings of more online at places like Grooveshark or even YouTube.

Bag 7 is Mathematics. Not only will she be working on her workbook from Math-U-See and watching the lesson on DVD, but she may also have extra activities and games to support and reinforce what she’s learning. We’re working on skip-counting by 2’s, and I got a poster with addition and subtraction tables from Dollar Tree, which I cut up and laminated, and I’ll use something to cover the sums so she can write her answers on a sheet of paper without looking.

Bag 8 is Art Study, Music Study, and Health, all of which are supposed to be done about once per week. These will be rotated per day, and they’ll be worked w/ Mommy, most likely on-line. This number will not be used Tuesdays or Wednesdays due to Dance class and story time at the library.

Bag 9 is for Copywork. A bible verse from the story she read in Bag 1 is written not only on manuscript paper for her to trace, then recopy, but also the words are written on individual note cards, which she will have to place in order on a foam core board. Also, there is a lap-sized white board w/ dry-erase marker–complete with manuscript lines and blank on the opposite side–where she can also write this verse. On another sheet of manuscript paper is the hymn for the week, which she can also trace then copy on the white board once she’s finished with the bible verse. When she’s older, we’ll also add dictation for spelling, and eliminate the tracing pages.

Bag 10 is for drawing, painting, and sculpture. Since our home is up for sale, the vast majority of our art supplies are at my in-laws’ home or a friend’s home in storage. For the time being, we’re stuck with coloring books, drawing paper, markers, colored pencils, and crayons, but no play-dough, construction paper, or the like. Needless to say, I have to be creative with this, so right now she has a coloring book and a package of crayons for today.

Bag 11 is for Nature Study, which will be done once or twice per week, and we’ll also reinforce that with science. Munchkin’s magnifying glass and bug kit will be kept in this bag, as well.

Bag 12 is for her handicrafts, which are to be done after everything else is done. Currently, I am teaching her how to crochet, so her instruction book, hook, yarn, and bag are in this last bag. Some day, we’ll probably even have lacing cars, beads and yarn, an embroidery project, or even a recipe to use in her Easy Bake Oven.

As I said before, this system seems to be working so far. She’s about to start Bag #5, since we didn’t start our work today until 11, and we took a break for lunch. #4, or Geography, took a lot longer for her to do. I didn’t realize she’s now at the the stage of development that she can draw what she sees in front of her, since she drew her dresser drawers facing the ceiling and taking up “half” of the room. 🙂

Oh! I forgot an important part! Each bag has a little laminated card in it with a number written on it. Plus, each girl has a 3-ring binder into which they put their paperwork once they’re finished working from the bags. Inside the binders, I placed 2 trading card protector sheets (also from DT, in a 10-pack for $1), and once they finish a bag, they take the number card out and place it in the protector sheets that are fastened in the binder. When they finish their bags for the day, they show me and I go over their paperwork in the binders, and at night, after they’re in bed (or during rest time in the afternoon), I restock where needed, add more copywork, coloring pages, paper, sharpen pencils, etc., and change activities where needed.

At least, this is the goal. I’ll let everyone know after a while how well things go.