I have a serious issue with adding in hands-on activities into our daily school schedule. If I don’t have all of the supplies in one place, I just know it will not get done. We have made some HUGE changes to our homeschool this year, and incorporating hands-on projects is one priority I have for each day. I knew I needed to do something to help me stay organized and have less of a reason to say “no.” While shopping at our local craft store, I noticed they had 12”x12” clear scrapbook storage on sale for $4 each (plus my 20% educator discount). I came up with the idea of creating Project Bins for the areas we do a lot of hands-on work in.
Dancing Queen has one each for history, art, and math, as well as a bigger container for science. Both history and art bins house all of the art supplies and instructions for the current art projects we are working on. The math bin holds the manipulatives and game supplies we need for the week (Dancing Queen requested a math bin this year). The science one is a bit larger, because it holds supplies for any labs we will be working on. The Hulk has only one bin for now, and it is his Preschool Bin, otherwise known as his Letter of the Week bin. I toss in all of the activities and supplies we need. He really enjoys doing school with his big sister, so it is imperative that I have fun activities he can be working on near me while I help Dancing Queen with lessons. His bin also holds a list of the different activities I put in there (otherwise I tend to forget about all I wanted to do).
Putting the bins together is not hard work, either. Friday, after our school day is complete, I go through our materials for the next week and make a list of any supplies we may not have in stock. When I run errands on Saturday, I make sure I pick those supplies up. Sunday night, I sit down and put together the bins. The assembly takes me anywhere from 20-45 minutes. Those minutes are time well-spent when we are able to simply pull out a bin and easily start a project. I keep the bins in our school closet, and Dancing Queen knows that if she has free time (normally when The Hulk is napping), she can grab a bin and start working on a project. I have tried to make the bins as independent as possible so she has that opportunity.