(Last Updated on December 17, 2020)
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Never Bored with Your Board
My apologies to any chalkboard aficionados out there, but now that we’ve used whiteboards, I’ll never go back to chalkboards. Just imagine…..
- No chalk-covered toddlers
- No chalk dust in the air and in the carpet
- No ear-piercing, goose-bump-causing SKREEEEEECH from wandering nails
Don’t get me wrong – I like a cute & trendy menu chalkboard in the kitchen just as much as the next Pinterest-perusing mom. And, of course, chalk still has its place for some activities (that place being outside). But for our day-to-day schoolwork we needed a different solution.
We originally bought a large, 2’x3’ magnetic whiteboard, as recommended by the All About Spelling (AAS) Teacher’s Manuals, to hold the AAS magnetic letter tiles. After a short time, like upon opening the package, it became apparent that setting up the magnet tiles each lesson was not going to work for us. Although I’m generally averse to single-function tools (especially ones that take up this much space), this white board needed to be permanently dedicated to spelling.
So back to the store we went for another magnetic whiteboard.
This time I settled on a more manageable size (16”x22”). I haven’t mounted it permanently on the wall since we don’t have a lot of wall space. Plus, the kids can (and do) use it anywhere – even outside.
Quick Tip: If you take yours outside, the white surface is blinding in direct sunlight, so you may want to keep it in the shade.
We’ve used our whiteboard for writing quick drafts, dictating narrations, working out math problems, sketching diagrams, and occupying the toddler by tracing her body outline 150,492 times and letting her erase it.
I specifically recommend a MAGNETIC whiteboard since that essentially doubles the uses of the board. Actually, I’d say it more than doubles the potential uses since you can use magnets and dry erase markers at the same time.
For example, you could:
- Draw a game of hangman on the board with markers and use ABC magnets to fill in the answer letters.
- Draw outlines of large shapes on the board and have your toddler or preschooler place matching shaped Magna-Tiles or other magnetic shape toys in the outlines. If you lay the board flat, the shapes don’t even need to be magnetic; you could just cut some out of colored paper.
- Write the alphabet on the white board and have your child put an animal (or other object) magnet by its matching starting letter (putting a doll magnet by the letter D or a ball magnet by the letter B, for example). We’ve liked using this 60 Objects Foam Magnets set for activities like this one.
- Put up various magnets and ask your kids to use a dry erase marker to circle the magnet that answers different questions (like “which one starts with P” or “which one doesn’t belong”).
Get creative – there are so many possibilities!
And remember, even a small change in your methods can make similar lessons seem like a whole new activity. Your son might loathe handwriting worksheets but maybe he’ll tolerate practicing letter formation on a whiteboard in the backyard.
Same idea. Different implementation.
If you don’t have the space or budget for a large whiteboard, consider getting the 9”x12” cardboard (non-magnetic) whiteboards from your local dollar store. We use those several times a week for practicing spelling words and making DIY mazes, among other things. We find them a little harder to erase and not as long-lasting, but they’re so versatile and inexpensive I’d say they’re definitely worth it. They work great for car-schooling or road trips, too!
Especially if you have a student who doesn’t like seeing their mistakes glaring back at them from the paper, whiteboards provide an easy way to erase quickly and try again. It seems to alleviate some of the pressure for little perfectionists when it’s so easy to undo.
I could go on, but you might get bored. 😉
These are clearly a must-have item in my book and I’d recommend one (or several) in every homeschool!
Check out the first post in this series here and follow the links there to find out more about the other supplies that made the Top 5 list!
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