Thursday, August 26, 2010

School Days - Tools of the Trade

We have officially started preschool in our house. And it's been a fun three days so far. I was worried that I wasn't going to be ready, but as my friend Sue said, "It's only preschool - it's not college." And another friend said if you don't go ahead and start because "you're not ready" you never will. So the next few posts will be a "series" on my favorite tools, the curriculum/books I'm using this year, the workbox system, and extras (file folder games, activity bags, printables, and more).

I've been having fun with all my tools - new and old re-purposed. Here are some of my favorites and most-used:

Label-Maker - Brother P-Touch Electronic Labeling System
I got this from my husband for my birthday several years ago. And I love it. I've labeled lots of things in my house and now a ton of school things - file folders, pencil boxes, books, storage containers, binders, and the list goes on and on. I do have pretty nice penmanship but the label makes everything look so uniform and I really like that.

Laminator - Scotch Thermal Laminator (up to 9in wide)
Again, this is my new favorite. I've really had fun creating with this. There are lot of free resources online and when printed on card stock and then laminated they're pretty much childproof. And it's really a neccessity when you're using workboxes - for the labels at least. It's been fun.

This has been so helpful. I used to use this for scrapbooking but since I have too many "helpers" to really scrapbook (and no time) I've re-purposed it and am so glad I have it. Cutting all those labels (before and after laminating) would've taken me so long with a scissors and they wouldn't all be the same width (I know, I'm a little crazy). So this tool has saved me a lot of time and frustration.

Sheet Protectors
This is a great thing to use with workbook pages that you want to use over and over again. You can just use a dry erase marker and then you have a re-usable workbook. I've only done this with a few workbook pages and some printouts that I've made. But it saves on paper.

Computer Printer
This is definitely a necessity. And colored ink - you can't forget that. It's been great to print my own materials and with colored ink I don't have to take all the time to color things in to make them more exciting. Our printer has been getting quite a workout.

I came across the workbox idea when I was browsing blogs about homeschooling. It's a wonderful system and already my four-year-old is doing a lot of work on his own. I was surprised at how quickly he picked up the system. Sue Patrick started workboxes and has a great book that explains it all. And there are a ton of free workbox resources online (I'll be sharing more of those in another post). It's been a great system for us and I'm sure we'll continue to use it through the years.

Paint Chips
This has been a great free resource. We've used them in many games and there's a great post about word families where paint chips are the main resource - that and a Sharpie. Again, this is another wonderful free resource. Just make sure you're spending money other places in the store if you use these a lot. ;)

Again, one of my most faithful assets. What would I do without the internet? free resources? inspiring ideas? free printables? good advice? great encouragement? I would be lost. Thank you to all of you out there with blogs that share your wonderful ideas with the world. I'm so glad you did.

Stay tuned for my next post on our "curriculum" for this year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo for all those tools you have, especially the laminator! Tis a sad day when we get excited over paper cutters and laminators! :)