Carpool Diaries: Our On-the-Go Homework Station
(FYI…Carpool Diaries is a space in All Inspired Mom where I share those things that cross my mind while waiting in the carpool line.)
Don’t you love a good Twitterchat? I jumped into the #MotherhoodChat last Sunday hosted by these fabulous bloggers… The Mrs. Tee, Dayngr, TidbitsofExperi, Mrs_AOK, KrisNaturally & BlissandFaith. If you are a Mom this is a great chat to attend. You walk away with helpful tips & will be inspired by the variety of ways mothers are handling their mommy-game.
The topic of the chat I attended was “Back to School”. One of the questions that was given to the group was….
I thought it was such a good question because as my kiddos are getting older our school routine changes a bit. A tactic that I have been using and evolving each school year has been our On-the-Go Homework Station. If your schedule is like mine running from soccer, to piano, to gymnastics, to running club, to math enthrimchement…the list goes on and on. You find yourself having a lot of downtime in the car either before or in between practices. If you have multiple children (I have 3 lovelies) you always end up with one or two of them chillin’ & playing the waiting game with you. So, a couple of years ago I had to find away that we could still have a functional and quiet place to do homework even when we are relaxing in the van.
The rule in our house is “No Homework then No Sports/Activities.” I really try to stick to this rule that homework has to be completed before they hit their practice. Creating a mobile homework station was important for me to help keep my kids abiding to our rule. Let’s check it out…
A couple of years ago I bought this binder for coupon-clipping (big fail…gotta figure that coupon-thing out.) & transformed it into our On-the-Go Homework Station or the kiddos call it “The Big Ol’ Binder“.
(Who remembers when we use to call these Trapper Keepers? Remember the velcro flap?)
I keep the binder in the car to hold all the tools the kids need for everyday homework. I have 3 kids and this binder is big enough to hold materials for all of them including a few extra things.
There are 3 major sections of our On-the-Go Homework Station.
The first section is the “Kid’s Section” (each of my kiddos have their own section.)
A. Kid’s Sections:
1. Calendar listing their electivities, activities & any tests or projects for the week. Having visual reminders are very helpful to me & for my kids. Plus, it squashes the constant question, “What elective do I have tomorrow?”
2. Copy of their Daily Schedule Just in case we need to review what happened during the day.
3. A folder to hold worksheets, completed work or papers I have to sign. I can review each of these while I’m waiting for practice to end & then kids can send them in the next day.
4. Extra lined paper or graph paper.
Every good homework station or desk has to have tools to help get the work done.
The second section is the “Homework Tools Section”.
B. Homework Tools Section
1. Pencil Pouches Two pouches that hold mechanical pencils (so I don’t hear, “My pencil is broken. I can’t work.”), colored pencils, scissors, glue stick, stapler, staples, index cards, a big eraser, highlighter, markers, ruler & pencil sharpener. Did I miss anything?
The “Big Ol’ Binder” is big enough to hold everything we need.
The third section is the “Side Pocket Section”.
C. Side Pocket Sections
- “To Read Sleeve” Extra reading material when kids have finished or need to log in some reading time.
- “Spelling Sleeve” Holds copies of my youngest kiddo’s spelling words to review for his weekly tests.
- “Fun Sleeve” I try to keep a crossword puzzle or a small board game or cards in this section. This mainly used on rainy or cold days & when can’t sit outside during practice.
4. “Mom’s Sleeve” (Yup, I need to be entertained, too!) I usually have a small journal so I can make notes or to-do lists. Any fun magazines that don’t take up a lot of room and where I can sit and catch up on. I also keep extra school money envelopes so if checks need to be written for school I can do so & have them ready for the next day.
5. “Boogie Sleeve” This is where I keep the Boogie Board. As you can see in this pic. If you haven’t seen a Boogie Board it is similar to a dry erase board, but erases with the touch of a button. This is perfect for practice spelling practice test, math practice or just free drawing time.
I also keep an old clipboard tucked away in the binder when the kids need a flat surface to finish worksheets, etc.
The Math Bingo game pictured here is what I keep in the FUN section with the crossword puzzle book. Doesn’t sound like fun, but when you need to incorporate learning into a game this helps.
One more tool I need to mention…”The Internet“. There are many times my kiddos need to access websites, etc. on a daily basis. Until, my hubs buys me that hot spot I’ve been dying to have we use my cell phone for internet access. One of my kiddos has to log in to a program called Edmodo every evening. This is where they posts their homework & watch videos her teacher has posted. Very cool website!
So far, the On-the-Go Homework Station aka “Big Ol’ Binder” has worked for us. Carrying the binder and not having 3 backpacks blocking the aisle of the van has made our afternoon activities a little more manageable. However, I am still a strong supporter of homework being done at home in a quiet place. Occasionally we have these quiet nights, but having the “Big Ol’ Binder” on the other nights has been helpful.
What’s in your toolbox to help your kid’s manage their homework during the daily grind of afterschool activities?