Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tricks of the Trade: The Time Filler

In the past three years of homeschooling my kiddos - I've learned a few tricks of the trade.  I'm going to share a few here and there that I think other moms and dads might find helpful.  This first one, "the time filler" is the one I find I use every day, and is most important to me.  As all homeschooling parents know, one of your goals is to keep everyone on task, all the time.  Things fall apart quickly if you have an "escapee" while you are doing math with another child.   I had to remedy this in my own classroom, so I quickly became a fan of time fillers.  For all those times during the day that your child has spare time... while waiting for you to correct their work, or if they've finished their current assignment and are waiting for their next, etc. 

Each week or so, I find a craft project that my children can do on their own, that is tedious.  It either has a million parts to cut out and glue, or lots of tiny spaces to color.  They know they have a certain time frame to finish it in (usually a week for us), so they work on it daily, but aren't expected to finish it all at once. I leave the materials they need to do it by their work area, and whenever they have a "down" moment, they are to pull it out and work quietly on it until I am ready for them.  This works, I promise. 

Here is a good example of a time filler, the one I choose for this week.  When I choose a time filler, it is always something that I don't have to put too much preparation into. For example, with this craft, I was able to print off the sheets necessary, and give them minimal directions. I believe I drew a green line on the tree page to show where the grass and sky should meet, and told them that was the only part to use crayon. The rest was to be done in marker.   I reminded them of I what I considered to be appropriate times to work on it, and left them to it.  Today, they are finally finished. Here is how they came out:

I will start posting links to our time fillers, in case you want to try them too.  Let me know how they work out for you, and if they make a difference in your homeschooling day!

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