Monday, June 2, 2008

School...To Go

I've put a couple of things together in the last few weeks that I am really excited about. The first is our "Homeschool to Go" bag. We occasionally have days where we are forced to be out and about for one reason or another. Those days have always tended to derail our learning. So I decided to get organized and prepare in advance for those days. Thus, the "Homeschool to Go" bag was born. I took a canvas bag that I had on hand and filled it with learning activities that could be done in the car, doctor's office, whatever. Here's what my bag contains:

  • Write on/wipe off math cards (1 addition, 1 multiplication, purchased at WalMart)
  • Kleen-slate Kwik-check paddle
  • Ziplock bag with baby wipes
  • Homemade game in a tin (explanation to follow in future post)
  • Game cards in a 3x5 card binder
  • CD's downloaded from (Some of our favorites: Wildlife in Woods & Fields, Burgess Bird Book, Just David, Our Island Story, Awakening of Europe, This Country of Ours)
  • Workbooks (Explode the Code, math, etc.)
  • Rush Hour Jr.

We've already had opportunities to use our new bag and it has been a hit with me and the boys. Not to mention the positive response we have received from the places we have visited, whose employees have commented on how nice it is to see children who will sit quietly and work or play a game together.

I carried the same concept over to our nature study days. We have been terribly inconsistent lately and I realized that it is simply due to lack of organization on my part. So I found an old backpack and filled it with everything we would need for an impromptu nature study. I was also inspired by Karen Andreola's chapter on picnics in A Charlotte Mason Companion, so I prepared a picnic basket that would be ready to go when we are. All it needs is some food and drink! Here's our list of items in our backpack:

  • Our field journals (see here for downloads and instructions to make your own)
  • Pocket field guides
  • Binoculars
  • Pencils (colored & regular) and sharpener
  • Plastic tweezers (for picking up bugs and other creepies)
  • Collection jar
  • Bug spray
  • Sunblock
  • Band-aids & antiseptic wipes
  • Baby wipes for cleaning dirty hands

Our picnic basket contains:

  • Paper plates
  • Fabric napkins
  • Plastic utensils
  • Plastic tumblers
  • Blanket (or table cloth)

I usually put the plastic utensils in a napkin, roll it up and tie with a ribbon. After the picnic, I bring them home, wash them and retie them for the next outing. We tested out our new "system" last Friday with smashing success! I just put together a few turkey sandwiches, a quick Italian pasta salad and cut up pieces of banana snack cake that I had made the day before. Water and tea was poured into mason jars and we were ready to roll.

I feel such a sense of satisfaction and peace knowing that two of our biggest school challenges have been dealt with. I hope that these ideas can be a blessing to someone and afford that same sense of peace. I would love to hear how others have implemented this type of system and what you might put in your bag!

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