Saturday, January 16, 2021

1001 Uses for White Boards

I am a Whiteboardaholic

There.  I said it.

For homeschooling work, weekly calendars, and running to-do lists

My "big kids" will tell you:  when they move away from home I push on them a few essential must-haves for adulting in today's world.  Crock pot:  check.  Flashlight and backup batteries:  check.  White board with plethora of dry erase markers in different colors and widths:  check, check.

Why, you ask?  You can hang them, carry them, erase them; some are magnetic (double plus good!).  You can use them for schoolwork, household organization, random doodling, taking phone messages.....the list goes on and on.

One year, after Christmas, there was a ginormous sale on whiteboards in the way back of an office supply store.  (Don't ask me what I was doing back there.  I may or may not have been hiding from family obligations and seeking some me time.)  On a whim, I bought three big whiteboards, and have never looked back.


This is one example of using a magnetic whiteboard for schoolwork.  Below is my version of a Montessori work called the Logical Adjective Game, a lesson often given to 4.5-year-olds who are familiar with the grammar symbols for nouns and adjectives.

Starting with the nouns, place each magnetic word in a vertical column to the right of center.  Say, "We have some words here that are the names of things," and ask the child to read each aloud.  (Since a black triangle represents a noun, you could draw that at the top of the column.)

Next, tell the child, "Now we have some words that describe things.  Remember adjectives?"   To the left of center, ask the child to read each word as you place each in a vertical column.  You could draw a  blue triangle at the top of this column if you'd like, since that's the symbol for adjectives.  

When you are done, each noun should have a descriptive word in front of it.  Ask the child to read each pair aloud.  Some will sound funny.  Ask, "Are there any that you want to change?"  It's fun to load the word magnets in such a way that the first pairings don't make much sense.  Help the child to match logical pairs of nouns and adjectives so that they make sense together.

Lastly, you can use grammar symbols to mark the words.  You may ask, "Which one tells you the name?" and "Which one tells you which one?"  In this way you reinforce that adjectives describe nouns.  There are some extensions of this work, such as combining multiple adjectives to describe a single noun.

Family Weekly Calendar

When you have six kids and complicated schedules to combine, seeing it all together helps immensely.  If you take after the perky, highly-organized Brady Bunch (we don't), I guess you could even have a family meeting every week where you discuss what's ahead.  Or you could just force yourself to cross-check every school calendar and class e-mail until you're relatively certain you've got a handle on the chaos ahead.

These vinyl letters, which I'm using here for each day of the week, were left over from some kid's school project.  We ended up re-using those in many ways!

Individual Homeschool List of Work for the Day

Even though our curriculum (Kolbe) included a printed list of assignments our daughter needed to do each week, she preferred to see what she had to do in each subject each day.  It also was super helpful for her to copy her assignments onto the board herself, so she could get a sense of how much of a workload she had in front of her.  The black letters to the left are just abbreviations made from the leftover vinyl letters (mentioned above).  I think they stood for Math, Science, Religion, Grammar, Reading, Vocab and Spelling, Phonics, Composition, History, and ..... hmmmmm.....not sure what "SR" was.....!

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