After such a strong response to my Homeschool Morning Hack, I decided that I really needed to share the latest homeschool hack that I stumbled onto!
There are parts of homeschooling that make our lives so much easier – relaxed mornings, no lunches to pack, no homework, not being held to the school’s schedule, not teaching to a looming test, etc.
BUT there are definitely things about homeschooling that can be challenging, such as keeping kids engaged, figuring out what interests them and how to capitalize on that, keeping your house at least semi clean, and striking the balance of how much is “enough” for school work.
Well, anytime I can find something to make our lives a little smoother or easier, I jump on it!
You see, homeschool hacks aren’t just nice to have – they are necessary to help keep us sane!
My husband is taking masters classes at night, so our life is a bit crazy right now.
He works all day and comes home at night to watch lectures on his computer, work on homework, or study for tests.
One weekend, he came home with two small dry erase boards he had picked up for just the purpose of working through some statistics problems.
Now, I am a big believer in having a homeschool classroom space. So I was looking at these boards and thinking, “Um, we already own a huge dry erase board!”:
If you have been following me or my blog for any length of time – you know that I LOVE my dry erase board. I use it for so many things and even wrote a post about how my dry erase board is in my top 5 things I need to homeschool successfully.
My husband wasn’t interested though in standing at a white board and working out math problems.
He wanted to take the boards to his office and work them out from a chair while he watched math youtube videos.
Well, he was done using them and he told me that I could use them for school with the kids.
I said “Okay,” but I was really thinking, “Why would I use those tiny things when I have this big beautiful one mounted to the wall?!”
Live and learn people. Live and learn.
My oldest daughter wanted to do school in the dining room because my younger kids were being too “distracting” while they were doing their work.
I sighed and told her that if we leave the classroom she wouldn’t be able to work out her spelling words on the white board.
Then a lightbulb went off in my head and I told my daughter to grab one of the mini whiteboards in her dad’s office.
My daughter LOVED holding and using the white board!
We have been using them daily since then and it has changed so much of how and where we homeschool.
Before I started using the mini whiteboards, I was always reaching for a piece of white computer paper and a pencil.
I actually bought a recycling trashcan for our kitchen because we went through so much paper and I felt bad about it.
We used reams of it for:
We use an online math program (no workbooks), so my 3rd grader always needs a paper and pencil to work out her math problems.
With the mini white boards, she can just erase her work and there is no trash.
When I read with my girls, I always keep a piece of paper and pencil in my hand.
For some reason writing a word bigger on a piece of paper and marking it up with phonics symbols helps my kids so much!
Having the dry erase board ready to go lets me write the word even bigger (just erase and you have tons of space for the next word), saves paper, and it seems to be more engaging than a boring ol’ pencil and paper.
We are in the book 2 of All About Spelling and really loving it!
The curriculum requires us to use magnetic letter tiles to build words, so a magnetic white board is strongly encouraged (they also have an app for tablets now).
We have been using our large whiteboard for lessons, but with the mini boards – we can go anywhere in the house and have the same experience.
Plus there is no wasted paper at the end of the lesson!
I love having a classroom, but since we moved to a new house I have noticed that my kids like to spread out through the house to do their school work.
Sometimes they want to cuddle on the couch, stay warm by the fireplace, or spread things out on the dining room table.
Having the mini white boards (and these school supply carriers) has helped me make our classroom so much more mobile!
I have noticed that just moving to a different room has made things seem more fresh and also broken up any monotony as we switch from subject to subject.
We still use the classroom daily, but it is nice to have other options.
There is just something that kids love about using a marker and a whiteboard.
They get so excited to pick a marker color, take the cap off, and start writing! I have never seen a pencil and paper come even close to generating the same amount of enthusiasm.
My kids loved when it was their turn to write on the whiteboard for their lesson, but now they have their OWN whiteboards that goes with them.
I even came up with a reading game with my kindergartner. We put all her favorite stuffed animals in a circle around her whiteboard and I dictated words to her that she had to sound out and “teach” to her “class” of toys.
She loved it! And it was so much more fun and engaging than reading words off a piece of paper or even words I had on our large whiteboard. A huge win!
Whatever the task is, my kids are much quicker to get going with it IF there is a marker and mini whiteboard involved.
Absolutely. But we do use it a lot less now though.
I will always love that white board and be forever loyal to it.
My teaching style requires me to draw out things to explain them. I will always want that larger surface area to draw out history timelines, science lessons, and explain more complicated concepts.
Because it’s magnetic, it also holds our routine cards for the day and seems to be the central piece of our homeschool.
I just got what my husband picked up at a store, but I have since started looking at Amazon for a little upgrade.
I would definitely get each of your kids a mini white board that is about the same size as a piece of paper – no more scratch paper!
***There are cheaper whiteboards, but they do not have the plastic ring around the whiteboard. You want that plastic ring. It will keep your kids from accidentally drawing off the board and onto tablecloths, pillows, carpets, couches, etc.
I also have a slightly larger one that is nice to have when you need more space than a piece of paper. This one is the magnetic one I want to upgrade to so I’m not having to grab a marker from the school supply area.
Depending on what your knees are, I also really like this one that can stand up on a table:
To take full advantage of this homeschool hack, I would strongly recommend also picking up a school supply organizer that you can grab and go with:
There are so many things I am loving about these mini white boards and how they are impacting our homeschool.
Here are some ideas of how you can use them for your homeschool:
I am sure you (and your kid!) can come up with even more ideas.
Either way, I think you’ll be surprised to see how much a simple mini white board can shake things up in your homeschool.
I’m not giving my kids markers to “accidentally” get all over their hands, clothes, and the walls!!
I used to not allow my kids use my large white board in our classroom. I was tired of all the “accidents” that caused marks on the wall or ruined their clothes.
Thankfully, the geniuses that work at Crayola have solved this problem!
If you can’t see the tiny writing in the above image, there are now WASHABLE DRY ERASE MARKERS!!!
Do you hear angels singing too?!?!?
If you are looking for a homeschool hack that will get your kids more excited about school (therefore making your life infinitely easier!) you have to give this simple tip a try!
My kids have loved it and I know it will put a fun spin into any homeschool!
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