Showing posts with label school room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school room. Show all posts

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our School Space 2012-2013

This is it. Our first year of homeschooling to NOT have a dedicated homeschool room. *sniff sniff*

At the beginning of last year, we had a perfectly lovely room. In the past, we've had other lovely rooms. 

But now, we have a perfectly lovely new baby.
Photo by H-Mama.
Which necessitates using all of our bedrooms for sleeping instead of for school rooms. And that's OK. It's better than OK. We are blessed.

So this year...things will be a bit different. {UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR}

We have sort of a utility room on the way to the garage. If you look to the right, you would see our washer and dryer. If you look to the left, you have our new "homeschool room."

This used to be my sewing room. It's pretty small. 
The closet covered with a curtain now holds all my sewing stuff. The little desk in the nook is our bill paying desk.
And to the left of the cabinet is our All About Spelling board and shoe pockets full of supplies. That white door is the door to our cleaning closet--you know, the vacuum, broom, cleaners, etc.
Told you the room was kind of small. And hard to take pictures of. I was sort of leaning backwards over the dryer to get these shots!

Inside the cabinet...
Each girl has a shelf with their books and materials for the year. The bottom shelf holds teacher books and a basket of paper. Last year's work is archived in the black crate on top. Flash cards and stuff in the small baskets on top. 

I always lamented not having a shelf in this bottom section. Then I saw my exact same armoire on Pinterest loaded down with scrapbooking materials and they had used these drawers in the bottom. Genius!
So...I guess it's not so much a Homeschool Room as it is a Storage Space, huh?

I bet you're wondering, "But Brenda...where will you work?" Good question!

Just outside of the utility room is our dining room.

I know most folks who homeschool in their dining room use a hutch or china cabinet to store their homeschool stuff. However, our china cabinet belonged to my husband's great grandmother. It's small, it's a bit rickety, and it's crammed full of dishes and cloth napkins and place mats and tablecloths, etc.  I have no better place to put that stuff. And the utility room is just a few steps away.

We'll work in here some. But even better than the dining room... our new coffee table! We were blessed to get some new living room furniture a few weeks ago. It's the first new furniture we've bought in about 13 years. I'm so excited to have that coffee table! I can sit on the couch taking care of baby, while Little Bit (age 8), works here at the coffee table. Perfect!

It's so perfect that I set up a little area right by the couch just for school.

See how handy?

The black crate holds Little Bit's every day school stuff. No need to traipse back and forth to our storage area all the time. On top are our Bible books for school/family Bible time, hymnals and our globe. 
The last area of our homeschool is my oldest daughter's desk in her room. This picture is from last year but you can see the crazy-painted chair, the metal, sprayed with grey primer desk, and the mis-matched everything on top.

I am giving her desk a make-over as a 13th birthday surprise and that isn't done yet so I can't share pictures of it just now.

But it's going to be awesome!

And that is those are our homeschool spaces for this year. Hope you enjoyed the tour! Now hop on over and see some more awesome spaces!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Organizing Those Homeschool Books

Someone asked me in the comments the other day how I had organized our books on our black shelves.  I'll tell you, I searched and googled that topic earlier in the summer. If there is one thing you end up with a lot of when homeschooling, it's books. And after a while, they can start to take over the house. I know homeschoolers who have bookshelves in every room of their house including the hallway!

Moving all the children's books into one place was the best thing I ever did. They now have no books in their bedroom except the one they read at night before bed. It really helps their room stay neater.

Now we do have other books--S has a bookshelf of Bibles and other "religious" books in our bedroom. And we kind of need another. One day, we will turn the toy room into a study and have all the books and bookshelves in one place. But then, one day we won't be overrun with Berenstain Bear books either.

Aw.  Sorry. I was looking for the bookshelf picture and found this. Little Bit was so proud she climbed up in that chair. Today she sat in that same chair and wrote a story about Tinkerbell that I could mostly read. Sniff. Sniff. 

OK back on topic. The shelf S built for our bedroom.

So after all my research on the best way to organize books, it came down to this:

You just have to go through and sort them. It's a messy process! First, we got rid of books. I held each book up and the girls said "yes" or "no." If the vote was split, we kept the book. We got rid of a nice stack of books that way. Some are listed on, many were just given away.

Then, we started putting like things together. Actually, this was where the girls wandered off to play and I finished. But they really did help for a long time.

Last, I had them carry stacks of books to me and I started putting them on the bookshelves where they would fit and not have to bust up a category.

Here is the end result:

Top shelves, L to R:
1. ABeka readers
2. boxed sets (Narnia, etc.)
3. Little Bit's Sonlight books
4. & 5. Sweetheart's Sonlight books

Next row:
1. Magic Tree House books/American Girl books
2. Health/Science/Social Studies books
3. Great Illustrated Classics
4. paperback series (Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen and other paperbacks)
5. Classics and some volume sets

Middle row:
1. Early readers (Step Into Reading, etc. ordered by numbers)
2. easy paperback picture books (no order--just by size)
3. Little Golden Books, Bible storybooks, and Berenstain Bears
4. easy hardback picture books
5. more easy hardback picture books

Next row:
1. the "extra shelf". These were all the books we uncovered that didn't make it into the original sort!
2. books on various countries from Highlights sets, some reading testing materials I use
3. reference books
4. Sonlight binders
5. library books and clay that has no home

Bottom row:
1. photo albums
2. my books that will one day go on a shelf in our bedroom
3. books listed on paperback
4. drawing paper
5. school supplies

That's it. We don't exactly have a library going on over here, but what we have we can find easily. Of course I put the books Little Bit would be interested in at her level and harder books up higher. One day I am sure there will be no room for the extra stuff on the bottom shelves. Especially if we stick with Sonlight!

How do you handle all the books?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our School Room 2011-2012

It's the same school room as last year--only with about 30-40% LESS STUFF! Big improvement!

And of course I had to rearrange. Because it was a day that ended in a "y."

Won't you come in?

Looking in from the hall. You can tell it's a new year because there is NOTHING ON THE FLOOR. Which  will never happen again.
Let's look to the right. Back in May I decided to put only books on the bookshelves. It just looks so much nicer! And now we can find our books easier too.
The boxes on top hold our archived (thrown in a box) stuff from previous years.  Notice that wrapping paper I used on the boxes.
Where the bookshelves end, there was just enough room to fit our printer. What a difference this has made! Oh it is so much easier to print and copy now! (It used to be in the living room in the bottom of the TV cabinet and you had to sit on the floor to use it.)
On the other side of the map is our All About Spelling board. I wish we had an easel or something but for now it just leans against the wall. I don't really have a plan for where we are going to do spelling either. Any AAS users out there? Where do you do spelling? Where do you put the board?

And see that cabinet there? The one that used to hold our TV, etc?

This is probably my favorite improvement in the whole room! Getting all this stuff off the bookshelves and off the table and not stacked everywhere and being able to CLOSE THE DOORS on it? Wondrous!
The top half is MINE! Can you see the wrapping paper covering the back wall of the cabinet?  The TV is for our Math U See lessons.

The bottom of the cabinet is the stuff the girls can get into. It's sort of not very organized but again--the doors close!

Beside our cabinet is the closet. Inside of the closet is a lot of stuff but that isn't the point of this post now is it? :) I used the doors to post our schedules.
There's our birds there. They add a lot of noise and feathers and bird seed to our room. And remember how I wanted bulletin boards to put above the girls' shelves? Only I really didn't have money for bulletin boards so I used some of the leftover wrapping paper to make "bulletin boards" for them! So cheap and easy!

Each of them have a shelf for their art (books, drawings, notebooks they doodle in), a shelf for school books, and another shelf for other school stuff and whatever else they need. And new pencil cans on top of their shelf that they can take wherever they are working in the house.

The room feels so much simpler than last year and like there is room to move and breathe. I am going to work hard to not have stuff hanging all over the walls and stacked all over the table.

But don't hold me to that.

Now you may be wondering how we all plan to sit at that table together and do 2nd and 6th grades when the girls aren't doing a single subject together this year.

Funny, I was wondering the same thing!

No, really. I have a plan. We'll see how it plays out tomorrow--our first day of school!

Now go check out some other great homeschool rooms at the Not Back to School Blog Hop!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Have a Classroom--And I Am OK With That

I know a lot of homeschoolers are very....

...anti anything that looks like formal education.

And when I read posts or articles by those kinds of homeschoolers, I start to doubt myself just a bit. And then I read that their children are (usually) in preschool and I relax.

I completely agree that you need to do nothing that looks like school when your kids are that little. Unless you want to! That's the beauty of homeschooling.
Sigh. I miss preschool. 
So I'm not writing this to make anyone doubt themselves. Or to make anyone feel badly. But I would just like to write a little bit in favor of those who do a little "school at home."

You have to understand, I taught public school for 11 years. I grew up in public school. So when we started homeschooling....I did this:
L to R:  Sweetheart's desk, my chair, and Little Bit's preschool desk. 
I'm sorry, OK? We didn't have a table! And I had no idea what I was doing! Well, that set-up lasted 2 weeks and then we ended up at the dining room table the rest of the year.
Apple Unit. Three year old Little Bit and 8 year old Sweetheart. (2nd grade)
Which was fine. But we had this perfectly good room at the front of our house where we COULD do school AND store all our school stuff. That was really the part that got to me about using the dining room table--I wanted everything in one place! I NEEDED everything in one place.

So I prayed for a table. And the Lord provided! Twenty dollars later, we were in business and our first school room was born.

And when we used that room those few years, Little Bit would play/do school-y stuff in the hallway by the front door. She didn't want to be in the living room "all by herself." And in Kindergarten when she did join us for school more formally, I found out our little school room was CROWDED!

Kindergarten. Took about an hour every day. 
So we moved. I switched the toy room and homeschool room. We are still in there and it works great for us right now. It has everything I have wanted in a homeschool room:

1. Room!
2. A table.
3. A place to keep all our school stuff.
4. Walls to hang up school stuff where we don't have to look at it in the main part of our house.
5. The ability to close the door and leave school behind on our weeks off--and weekends.

I have found that the older my children get, the more we really look like we are doing school work. There are more subjects. There is more work. They have more responsibility.

That's not to say we don't have fun. That's not to say we don't leave the "classroom". I'll be writing more about this.

But now you know how we came to have a classroom, which I'll be showing you around soon too. The "new and improved" version that is!
Where do you do the main part of school? Don't you think so much depends on the floor plan of your house?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Need a Little Help Here

I like our school room to look different from year to year. (No duh...I like every room to look different, huh?) I couldn't stand to have this space look the exact same way every single school year.

This next year will already be different in several ways (new furniture moved in here), but I want a way to make a space of their own for each girl. Now that we are housing all books on our big black IKEA shelves, the girls no longer needed bookshelves in their bedrooms. So, they got moved in here and will be used for storing their school stuff. Kind of like lockers but without doors or locks.

The only part of the room I'm through with. LOVE it. 

The shelves are pretty special. Sweetheart's (below, on the right) was built by her dad and used to be in his bedroom in high school. When we made a nursery for her, that shelf became hers. Then when we were expecting Little Bit I was sad she didn't have a special shelf made by her dad when my sister-in-law offered the smaller one on the left. It was built by my father-in-law a long time ago. He passed away in 1994 and obviously the girls never met him. So I think it's neat they each have a family-built shelf.

I'm cleaning these off today.  Those are some planets from our solar system hanging there. 
I may let them decide what to put on top of their shelves. I was also thinking of putting bulletin boards above their shelves with some of their favorite things on them and also some helpful school things. I was inspired by Masto Mama. Just look at her children's cute boards! (And their whole classroom!)

So I looked online and there are some cheap ones at Target but according to the reviews....not worth it. Too cheap. I hate to put big holes in the wall anyway.

 Any ideas for what I can do above their bookshelves to give each girl a little "space of her own"?