I just checked my comments and authorised and answered them. Erk.
Also, this morning I went out and bought box files and file boxes and little ring binder things for index cards, and this evening I organised the HELL out of a lot of the formal educational supplies.
We have something like eight inches of shelfspace of workbooks, mainly literacy and numeracy type things, and almost all presents for the children from relations. They do bits of them occasionally, but in general the sheer quantity available overwhelms them. So I sorted them into a box by owner and subject, and chose a very few for a separate box of Stuff We Might Use, along with the FIAR manuals. (L8 fell on the History workout I bought her AGES ago with cries of glee and couldn’t speak for the next 20 minutes except to tell me I was wrong about Henry VIII being the kind of guy who liked fast cars and BBQ pool parties).
I went through a big stack of old newspaper pullouts we were given by a friend a few years ago – wallcharts about Clouds and Fungi and Invertebrates from the Guardian, and a lot of things about birds from the Independent – and clearly labelled each one, ready to find without unfolding them all, and then in a stroke of mad organisational genius I got a sharpie and wrote the inventory on the outside of the plastic envelope they’re stored in.
I went through the Five in a Row books and manuals and started making an index card for each one we have, and a list of the books we don’t have, with the manual page number; later I will add go-along books and summaries of suggested activities to the cards. Index cards are the right size for that, the manuals are huge floppy A4 things. Now when a child chooses a book I can flick through and get a bunch of information about what we might do with it, even if I’m tired or busy, and go from there.
In my index card file I also made up some lists of our core subjects; the children and I sort of brainstormed these on Friday, and I made a big A1 poster of them, but a smaller list is handy.
I need to create a section for “practical activities and experiments for doing with adult guidance” too, I keep remembering things I did as a child which I need to do with them.
I really was fairly heftily home-educated myself, when I think about it.