Do you have much time to organize and prep your homeschool lessons each day? If you are like me, you just said “Heck, no!”. I like to do as much organization as I can during summer or school breaks so that I can just ‘grab and go’ on school days.
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If you use the All About Reading (AAR) Curriculum, which I wrote about here, then you know that there are about 5-7 different materials you need for each lesson. The first year I used this program with my oldest, I set up the flashcards in boxes as recommended and I pulled the other materials together the day of the lesson.
Once I had both of my boys using two different levels of AAR, I realized I needed a better way to organize the materials at the beginning of the school year so that I could just ‘grab and go’ all year. I found a great way to do that, which has worked for over two years now, and I want to share the system with you.
Second, you need a white board for your letter tiles. The company recommends one that is 2 feet by 3 feet. I prefer one that is 24 inches by 18 inches. It gets very crowded by the end of the levels, but the size is easier to manage day to day. In the later levels, we just use a small 8 inch by 12 inch whiteboard to place the tiles on as we build words and then return them to the main whiteboard that holds all of the letter tiles.
Third, a TV show that you want to binge watch while organizing the materials!
Note: I have had two children going through the AAR program (and the All About Spelling program) at the same time, a few levels apart. I have found it best to have two separate tile boards for them.
Set Up the Notebook
In each page protector, I put each item needed for one lesson. These include:
- Yellow sound flashcards (Lesson # is noted in bottom left corner.)
- Green word flashcards (Lesson # is noted in bottom left corner.)
- Games/activities/worksheets for each lesson, cut and paper clipped together and ready to use.
- Fluency practice pages
- Warm-up sheets for days there is a story.
I place each page protector in the notebook as I go. I use a sticky note to mark what page of the lesson we are on throughout the year. Real high-tech, I know!
Set Up the Letter Tile Board
As far as setting up the letter tiles on your board, you should have the vowel and consonant tiles at the top in alphabetical order. Then, group your other letter tiles in sections around the edges of the board like shown in the picture below. I add the tiles to the board as they are introduced in each lesson. Before they are introduced, I keep them sorted in sandwich bags by group (e.g., vowel teams, consonant teams, etc.) and then put all those bags into a big zip-loc bag.
As we sit down in front of our letter tile whiteboard each day to do our lesson, I pull out the teacher’s manual, the materials from the page protector that day and the story book if needed. If we finish the lesson, but there are a few flashcards that need review at the beginning of the next lesson, I just slide them into the teacher’s manual at the beginning of the next lesson to remind myself to review them.
When it is time to review the yellow sound flashcards, I typically just use the tiles on the board. If I need the cues on the back of the cards, I can easily just flip through each page of my notebook and pull out the yellow cards and review.
Have you found other ways to organize your AAR materials? Please share with us below. To learn more about the All About Reading Program, you can check out: