I don’t know about you, but something as seemingly simple as pencils, scissors, crayons, and glue can be surprisingly hard to organize and keep organized when homeschooling multiple ages.
After three years of trying different systems, I think we finally found one that works! Honestly, I don’t know if it’s because it’s an awesome idea (which I got from a veteran homeschooling mom), or if it’s because my kids are older and more mature. Either way, it is a sanity saver for this homeschool educator, and I hope it can help you, too! For reference, my children are ages 7, 6, and 3.
What’s in the Pencil Case?
- 2 sharpened pencils (ready for schoolwork!)
- crayons (about15 only)
- large eraser
- scissors (but not for the 3-year-old)
- glue stick (but not for the 3-year-old)
- pencil sharpener (but not for the 3-year-old)
For my 3-year-old, I keep her scissors and glue stick safely out of reach. I take them out for her when it’s time to work on scissors and glue skills for school time.
I purchased the pencil cases at Wal-Mart after our local schools started up; they were on clearance. The kids love having a pencil case to call their own.
Pencil Case Rules
- When it’s “school time,” the children use their personal pencil case.
- The pencil case must remain in the schoolroom.When it’s not school time, they are not allowed to use anything in their pencil case.
- The students are reminded to check their pencil case a few times per week to make sure supplies are still there. Supplies have a way of “disappearing,” despite Rule #2 and Rule #1.
- The pencil cases have a designated spot and should be placed there when school is done for the day.
Having a simple pencil case is one way to teach children responsibility. Since using Catholic Schoolhouse, we have become more aware of ways to incorporate virtues into day-to-day schooling at home. I try to encourage the children to grow in the virtue of responsibility. An important aspect of any classical approach is teaching virtues. As a family, I find it important to teach virtues at all hours, but during school, it’s a time where I can take extra notice to praise and encourage the virtue of responsibility. I can say, “You are a responsible boy! You are emptying out your pencil sharpener.” Or “You are a responsible girl. You are putting away your pencil case!”
Because there are times that we need a pencil to be sharpened and stopping to sharpen it can be too much of a distraction, I keep a box of pre-sharpened pencils in my school room. I don’t use it very much, but during those stressful times when we finally
sit down to buckle down and do schoolwork, it’s such a blessing to pull out pencils that are ready. Since we use Handwriting without Tears, I splurged and purchased a box of their pre-sharpened pencils
Outside of school time, I have one “art bin” for my children to use that has crayons in it. If I didn’t, they would want to use their pencil case outside of schooltime, and that’s not ok! I need their pencil case available during school, and not spread out throughout the house. To encourage the children to have creative time to draw and color outside of school time, I keep the “art bin” stocked with the basics. I include stencils, safety scissors, and tape. I rarely let them use markers unsupervised. My 6- & 7-year-olds could handle it, but my 3-year-old is still in the stage where she might decide to write on a wall, carpet, or anywhere. I think I purchased this red caddy at the Dollar Store several years ago.
There are many ways to organize basic school supplies while homeschooling. This certainly isn’t the only way. What works for you? What ages are your children?