1. A clip board for each kid. I start panicking if I don't feel organized. If all the loose sheets for the day are clipped onto a clipboard, I am calmer. Also, if there is a page that needs to be held over until tomorrow, it is handy. Another advantage: The kids can write anywhere. They don't have to be at a desk.
2. Planning Software, particularly the ability to easily print out a custom daily assignment sheet to clip onto the clipboard. I could probably be creative and get the same result by making my own schedule in Excel or something, but I believe I would spend $65 worth in time to do it. The peace of mind that we are getting things done and can look back on our progress at any time is priceless. MWPD also includes an attendance calendar, which is handy since I now live in a state that requires 180 school days per year. I could just use a calendar on the wall, but it is sooo easy to see our total school days at the click of a button. I'll admit I was unsure about My Well Planned Day software in September, but now I am sure I will renew in August unless I find a better planning software.
3. Multiple library cards. A membership to a larger library, even if it costs, is wonderful. This year our history reading list included 200 books. With our two library memberships, we covered about two-thirds of them. On next year's list, there are 400 so far, and I am not finished listing them. (There are a whole lot more books for children on the middle ages than on ancient history.) All of our libraries have online catalogs, so I make a list of call numbers at home, and the trip to the library is painless. Honestly, the library is my favorite errand of the week.
4. Nice colored pencils. This one surprised me. I bought Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils for this year and regretted it at first because of the price. Without a doubt, I will buy another set for next year. Thing1 has become a colored pencil snob. He prefers using Prismacolors over crayons, markers, etc. Unlike crayons, they do not break, and they can be sharpened. Unlike cheap colored pencils, they make a nice smooth color without harsh lines and without scratching the paper.
5. A reliable pencil sharpener. We never knew how we depended on it until it quit working, especially since we used colored pencils every day.
P. S. It might make me look like a better mom if I add that "School Smarties" are practically the only candies they eat at home.
Next post: 2013-14 Wish List. :-)