A few months back, Family Fun Magazine had a project to create the “Ultimate Homework Station“, using a tri-fold display board (often used for presentations, found in office supply stores). Thier version was designed to actually store all the supplies needed for homework, and then to fold up for easy storage.
I don’t really need it for its original purpose. I have an inexpensive short tower of drawers that I use to keep all our homework and learning materials together. But I am always juggling reference items when he is doing his homework and practicing academic skills. Since we are working so hard on his handwriting, having the handwriting card easily visable during work time is vital to us. Horizonally on the table, it would get shuffled under other papers, mislaid, and beat up.
So I altered the idea of the homework station to provide a space for reference materials. A few things are permanently affixed (the plastic sleeve the handwriting card is in, but the card can be switched to something else, the large paper clips holding the cards on Oregon, Washington and California, but of course the cards can be changed, the red envellope on the right that currently holds parts of speech cards, the “blackboard” paper with the sight word post it notes) but the majority of things are attached with repositionable adhesive so that I can easily change things out as he masters whatever topic is highlighted on the board at the moment.
When our formal learning time is over (and he is only five, and in Kindergarten from 8 until 2. Formal “homework” and academic time is limited to what he can tolerate, often only 10-15 minutes), I can fold the board up and tuck it behind the tower of drawers for storage.
In addition to making the information easy to spot, I am hoping that the board will help shield him from distraction. I *just* made this and haven’t had a chance to see how well it works with the Kidlet, so we shall see!
On a side note, Kidlet is really *really* struggling with his handwriting. We practice every day. I have three different books that I use for worksheets, I create my own on wide ruled paper that tie into to whatever phonic sounds they are learning that week, and outside of formal learning time I have him helping with making shopping lists, writing letters for grandparents, etc and I have offered lots of fun fine motor activities. At this point, I’m not sure it is those fine motor skills that are lacking. He has no difficulty manipulating small items, using tongs to sort marbles, doing puzzles, operating eye droppers for eye dropper art, cutting with scissors, or any of the plethora of “fun” activities I have contrived in our pursuit of legible penmanship. He is a whiz with a keyboard and mouse, or with game controllers. He can also *trace* letters just fine, with very little wavering or going off the lines.
He brought home the class ‘pet” (a stuffed animal in a dog carrier LOL) and with him came a journal that each child writes in to record the happenings with the pup. It really hit home how truly atrocious my son’s writing is seeing it side by side with the other children’s entries. He has no trouble composing his thoughts on what to write. He spells things correctly (when you can read it to tell!). He just has a terrible scrawl. Letter formation, sizing, spaces between words, and line-alignment are all off. I’m at a bit of a loss and would welcome any suggestions!