I’m loving our At-A-Glance Day Charts. I’d seen these around on some homeschooling blogs and thought they seemed more doable for my family than traditional workboxes. I do like the workbox idea and may implement it down the road, but for now this quick and easy chart is the perfect way for my young kids to quickly glance and get a sense of the direction of our school day.
Chelli over at Planted Trees created a 16 square grid (if you’re looking for more squares you can check Donna Young’s site for more options) and Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations has generously shared her Workbox Tags. Since we don’t use a “workbox” the girls and I call these tags “subject squares“.
Next, I added some minor personalized trimmings to the chart by adding some color and stickers my girls would enjoy. Then I added the abrasive side of Velcro dots to my chart and the soft side on the individual laminated subject squares. I only filled 8 of the squares right now because I don’t need more than that for our current daily subjects, and I wanted to conserve my precious Velcro for future projects. The chart leaves me with enough room to grow for when, and if, we need more spaces.
I don’t know what it is about Velcro but kids LOVE the stuff. I don’t know if it’s the feel of it or the loud ripping noise it makes- or maybe it’s a combination of these things. In any event, it makes my girls ridiculously happy to take off their subject squares. After we finish a subject they run excitedly to their charts yelling, “I’m going to take my subject square off!” and repeatedly take it off, put it on, take it off, and put it on before finally putting the square away with the rest.
I got the idea to store these charts on binders from Pam over at Everyday Snapshots. I liked the idea of it being stored so compactly, and considering I had recently splurged on Better Binders during Staples back-to-school sale, I had more than enough options to choose from. (Word of warning- once you go Better Binders, you never go back.) Considering their wide assortment of colors, prints, and designs you’re bound to find the perfect binder for even the pickiest student.
Mira loves “tiny” things so the subject squares are a BIG hit.
Stella is thrilled with anything pink.
Lyra, although happy with her yellow binder, was a bit disappointed that she couldn’t peel off her fairy sticker.
Our school day starts every morning with Morning Circle. During Circle I hand them their binders and they look over the subjects we’ll be doing that day.
So what’s in these colorful binders, you might ask . . . Sadly, last week it was nothing- just a glamorized chart holder. I planned on going to Staples to have the binding cut off some of our workbooks [Kinko's offers this service as well] which will allow me to easily take out each day’s lessons and place them inside with color dividers broken up by subject. At this point, I won’t be breaking my binder into the days of the week because I really just want my girls to stay focused on the current day. That’s about as much foresight as they need at this point; and honestly I can’t be bothered to plan a whole week ahead of time. We work much better in a day-by-day basis here.
I wake up at least an hour or two before my children every morning. This allows me to work on my blog, catch up on emails, have some coffee with the news, and now, add the compilation of our day charts to my morning chores. I check our schedule on Homeschool Skedtrack to see what’s lined up for the day and add the corresponding subject squares to the chart. By next week, I plan to place their daily dividers and include any worksheets or workable material into the binder.
They instantly “got” their charts and knew what they implied. The second day of using them I caught Stella scrutinizing Lyra’s chart. She looked up at me and said, “I think Lyra is supposed to do a puzzle for school today.” I said, yes she was going to do a puzzle and I would work with her after I finished up Mira’s math lesson. When I looked back again I saw Miss Stella doing this:
She went and picked out a puzzle and somehow got Lyra to follow her without complaint. And no fighting or arguing ensued!! For these two in particular that’s a big deal. Normally, left to their own devices, they inevitably fight like cats. Yet this exercise went off without complaint from anyone and when Lyra finished both she and Stella came running over to proudly show off the work.
There’s nothing like watching some homeschooling resource add a spring to your child’s step. Sure I like the Day Chart, but I love that my girls LOVE them!
UPDATE – I had an email asking how we store our subject squares and realized I should have mentioned it here. I picked up three ring pencil cases (color-coordinated, of course) similar to these and they fit perfectly into the binders themselves. I also printed each of my girls their own set of subject squares but only laminated the ones that we will be using this year. The rest I am storing for use at a future time with the rest of my supplies.
Edited - Check out my latest update on our Day Charts here.
If you like the idea of the At-A-Glance Day Chart but think you’re kids would benefit with something a little meatier, I suggest you check out Homeschool Creations’ WorkFolders.