We desire to homeschool at our dining room table. That means that all of our homeschool materials in use need to be able to be stored in the kitchen area.
We don't want our main living area to look like a classroom. We want our house to look and feel like a home while also meeting the educational needs of our children.
We are aspiring minimalists - well, truly simplicilists - we don't like having lots of stuff everywhere. White space is very important to stress reduction to those of us who live in this house (and, I'm guessing, for most people!).
These three things combined have guided us as we developed our homeschooling area. It's simple and minimal. While I believe young children learn best when they can manipulate their learning we don't have space upstairs to have a large number of supplies. I have found a simple solution to this that Meghan LOVES!
These velcro activity mats are a hit with Meghan. She asks for them even if I don't mention them!!
They allow her to manipulate her learning of core, rote skills. They take up slightly more space than two pieces of paper and we can store all of the mats in our homeschooling notebook. We can fit several activities and learning content in a small amount of space - win!
I simply laminated the mat, laminated the pieces and used clear velcro to attach them together. So far, we have mats for the following activities:
- fruit & vegetable picture matching
- continent matching
- US state matching
- numbers 0-20 in order
- upper/lowercase letter matching
- color & color word matching
I'm sure I could look through an educational catalog and find all sorts of games and manipulatives that could teach theses same skills - but they would cost more money and take up more space for the same learning task as this simple, inexpensive activity.