More than you ever wanted to know about our dry erase board

One of my favorite tools for this stage in our homeschooling is our dry erase board. It covers the wall directly behind our kitchen table, and we use it every day, if not several times a day. I happen to be a very visual learner, so usually when I'm explaining something I reach for a pen and paper- or, if it's handier- the dry erase marker.

Some things we've done on the dry erase board:

:: Play hangman!

:: Word lists
For the past few weeks, we've had two running lists on our board:

One list was for palindromes, which are words that read the same in both directions, such as madam, toot, Ava, pop and tot.

Our other list was for homophones, words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, such as:

, etc.

I am amazed at how many times our children, on their own, have added to our lists! They are constantly alert to words that could fit into one of those two lists. Isaias, at 4, even tries- but mostly he comes up with rhyming words ("Billy and silly, mama! Those can go on our list!"), so we're simply going to have to start a new list for rhyming words.

:: Geography quizzes (And this is where Mark comes in handy, since I would never, ever think of this as fun, but somehow he's tricked the kids into thinking this is really exciting stuff.)

:: The Where-Was-it-Made? game (A game that Mark made up but I have just-this-very-second named.)

A few days ago Mark picked something up and noted, aloud- where that particular object was made. Once our children discovered this fun fact (most items list where they are made on them!), they were off- running around, finding things, and asking (Isaac and Isaias) or reading (Ella) where it had come from. Mark began listing the countries on the dry erase board. A world map hangs on the opposite wall, so each time they have added a country, they find it on the map, too.

Other ways we've used our dry erase board:

:: Several times we have drawn a calendar on the board, especially when it's a particularly busy month or we are looking forward to something and want to count down the days (this month: swimming lessons!)

:: When I was pregnant with Audra, each time I read in my pregnancy book that the baby had grown (for example, "your baby is now 5 inches, from head to rump"), I would measure out five inches and draw a baby on the board. We kept sizing it up as the baby grew.

:: The morning after Mark and I had watched a documentary on Darfur, we were discussing it together at the table. The kids wanted to know what we were talking about, so we picked up the marker, and drew it out for them. We wrote up the names of the places involved, drew a map of the area, and showed where the people were fleeing from and to. They were completely intrigued, and still remember what we talked about that morning.

:: We have done math problems, drawn the face of a clock and talked about how to tell time, and colored goofy pictures (Like the morning we were eating muffins for breakfast and I was singing the "Oh, do you know the Muffin Man?" song. Isaac asked if there really WAS a Muffin Man. I replied, "Of course! Haven't you seen this guy?" And I promptly drew a muffin on the board with arms, legs and a face. The kids all still giggle about that silly picture.)

I think my favorite part is that it fully engages us all. We're all talking; adding thoughts, words and drawings. We can all see it and refer to it and use it.

Oh. Mark would like to add that he has also used the dry erase board to write up the NFL playoff bracket, so that -and I quote: "we could all see the glorious road taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Superbowl." Yes, sweetheart. That, too.


  1. I love this post, Stacy.

    A. Because it is about an organizational tool and I love organizational tools. I just bought a set of many colored white board pens to use on ours.

    B. Because I love the learning that is going on in the visual way that you mentioned. Having those lists up there for everyone to see and be thinking about... I just love that idea.

    C.Because look at all those fun memories and conversations and activities you have done as a family!

    Thanks for sharing this little piece of your daily life with us.

    Oh, and Bob's favorite palindrome is "racecar", I think.

  2. I can attest to the "power" of dry erase board!! During my visits to your house, the things I have loved most:
    1) Seeing "Erica and Michelle" written on the little calendar you drew, marking the days we were there to visit...complete with little drawings plane, car, etc. !!

    2) Seeing little Audra's size drawn up there when she was just a few inches long(back in October!)

    3) Erica quizzing herself on your South America map (by the way, she passed her geography test on that map with flying was right after we had visited!)

    I love how it is in your visible and easily shared by all! I also love your world map being right there! What a GREAT way to help your kids develop a much bigger "world view" of life!!!

    You inspire me!


  3. That is one loved dry-erase board you have there! ;-)

  4. I have often wished we had space for one near our table too. Especially after being at your house.

    And that was cute you added Ava even though Mark says it doesn't exactly follow the rules. ;)

  5. Oh, Mark. What a wonderful husband! I think he and my Kevin would get along famously!

    I am currently on the lookout for a long chalkboard to go in our dining room- I long to do this very thing- write ideas, illustrate something we're discussing, post prayer requests, welcome dinner guests to our home- I have the perfect spot!

    Love this peek into your home, sweet friend!

    Love to you all!

  6. Rebecca,
    Thank you!

    You've made our board quite a few times! :)

    YES. :)

    I know! I made sure to add Ava just for you. :) Goofy Mark, thinking it doesn't count.

    I've thought that before, too- that our husbands would hit it off. :)

    I hope you find *just* the size chalkboard you're looking for! :)

    Blessings to you all,

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