Ben's New School Bin System

Trying something new with Mr. Ben this week. He absolutely loves doing school, he has even woken me up standing on my bed asking me "Mommy, can we go do school now?" I love this, I am so thrilled that he has a love of learning, but there is one teeny, tiny problem.

His sister also needs to do school and since she is in 2nd grade, I have to work with her. That said, while homeschooling law is pretty minimal in Texas, 2nd grade is required and preschool actually isn't. So I have been trying to come up with a way that Ben can do school at the same time as us without asking for my assistance every 10 seconds.

So this week, Faith and I headed out to the Dollar Store and bought a series of bins for Ben. When we start school time, I put out the bins for him and put an activity in each bin that requires little to no help from Mommy. He's still busy doing school, he's still at the table with us, he has some ownership over what he does & in what order, and I can still work with Faith.

We have just started trying it and it has a lot of potential! Now all I need to do is stay on top of it to make sure each bin has activities for him. ;o)

Our bins, lined up in the dining room.; I really liked these ones because they stack on top of each other like shelves or invert to store:

A close up view of a few activities--a counting clothespin activity, number tracing and stickers for counting, and a new Spiderman puzzle:

The other three bins--foam animal beads and pipe cleaners to string them on, memory cards with rhyming words (to find the rhymes, not play memory today), and gems to spoon & sort into a Halloween tray:

Ben wanted to try the clothespin numbers first, but didn't like working on the table, so he took the whole thing to the floor by the window (I just realized the curtain has a thread hanging and stopped blogging to go cut it off):

All counted and arranged from 1 to 9!

A close up view of the clothespin numbers (original idea here)--the tags are beige cardstock and the numbers are leaf patterned paper from my scrapbook supplies, the ribbon is from my stash too and the gold glitter leaves are from Joann's. Each number tag has a length of ribbon stapled to it to fit on the same number of clothespins as the number says (hence #1 has the shortest ribbon and #9 has the longest). There are exactly 45 clothespins, just enough to do the counting correctly with no extras:

After that, Ben wanted the animal beads & pipe cleaners and headed back to the table. He made 3 strings--mommies, daddies & babies (there are two sizes of beads, big & little):

Then he wanted his gems to sort out, this is a favorite of his, so I need to find some other spoons & containers for variety:

He then discovered his new puzzle and insisted on doing it, twice:

Thankfully, said puzzle was from the Dollar Tree because I am pretty sure he did it twice in less than 5 minutes:

He took a break for a snack, then sat down on the couch to watch a show and fell asleep, so school ended with naptime. He was upset that he didn't finish his school things, so I promised him he could do it tomorrow. The writing cards are for his Halloween lapbook, so I'm sure we will have to do those too!

I cannot wait to see how this bin system continues to work. It has the makings of solving my "one of me, two of them" dilemma.


  1. I LOVE the clothespin idea! When I homeschooled I always had to have something for Sara to do too. She was the one who never wanted the school day to end!

  2. I love that Shannon!

  3. I really love what you did with the clothespins.

  4. great idea Shannon - thanks for sharing!

  5. I love your detailed description of your bins. I really need to get better with hands-on activities that Anna can do independently. She is so over me when I come home from work that I don't have a minute to myself until she goes to bed.

  6. That is a great idea! I am not sure if Kaden would "get" the bins at his age but I would love it if he did. Love the clothespins counting too!


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