This is the most used part of my home school tool box at the moment. Very high tech hey!
But you'd be amazed what they can be used for!
I have several envelopes filled with words Erin knows how to read written on index cards. We compose sentences together after lunch, dishes pushed to the other end of the table. While "The cat sat on the mat" can lose it's narrative pull after the thousandth read, "Erin sat on Mummy" or "Billy will hop on the cat" never gets old for a four year old. I find these cards so much better than shop bought pre-prepared cards because a child will learn words as they MEAN something to them more often than those words they are technically phonetically ready for. For example, Erin has been able to read "Christopher" by sight for months now, but I doubt that word will be in any shop bought beginning phonetics flash card set.
I have a set of picture cards that we drew with simple outline figures. We compose sentences to match them. A sentence like "The fat fish sat on the red mat in a big hat" takes ages for a child with developing fine motor skills to write, but with the cards they can compose in less than a minute! Plus, they always set us off giggling (I am no Picasso!).
We have the parts of the body written on index cards and one of our favourite games is to take them out and stick them all over themselves and each other. It's hilarious! It is easy to forget how much we are learning. We also have the same for furniture and other household items, stuffed animals (cow, dog, tiger etc), and things in the backyard.
I have a set of cards labeled one to ten and Erin sets these out with the appropriate number of pasta pieces, buttons or counters on top of them.
And there are many more plans for the future! I just need to get to Office Works to get myself some more index cards.
One of my favourite future projects is the re-organisation of our scripture memory. I will organise a set of cards into sections for 'daily', 'odd', 'even', one for each day of the week and sections labeled 1-31. Then we will read the scriptures according to the day and the date. For example, on Wednesday the 2nd we will read the scriptures that each child is memorising in the 'daily' section and review the scriptures in 'even', 'Wednesday' and '2', the next day we will do 'daily', 'odd', 'Thursday' and '3' and so on. Review will just be a quick read through or getting one of the kids to say it for me, not a big test, and all up it will probably take 10 - 15 minutes a day at the most. I will rotate the scriptures as they get memorised or I think we need to review them. This is an adaption (OK, shameless copy) of a product I saw on the website Simply Charlotte Mason (please go to the site to assuage my guilt for copying! It is a very good site) and I love the way it constantly reviews and reinforces the scriptures we've memorised.
So the humble index card is a brilliant schooling tool!