Welcome to my HOMEschool. Emphasis on HOME. Yes, we use our home to SCHOOL our children. But, the fact is...it is a home, first and foremost.
While I know some opt to create a homeschool classroom...a room dedicated strictly to homeschooling that mirrors that of a traditional school, the Hubs and I have chosen to invite school into our entire home. Because, in truth, learning happens where LIFE happens. Neither LIFE nor LEARNING can be boxed up between four little walls.
In addition, we have a desire to foster sibling relationships and as two of the "sibs" of the house are not technically of school age, we want to provide a schooling space that is FAMILY friendly...and that includes everyone in the family. Just as I would not expect my one-year-old to feel all that excited about spending 5-6 hours meandering around a traditional fifth grade classroom, I would not expect him to be all that thrilled about spending the same amount of time in a homeschool "classroom."
If three of my five children are cooped up in a room all day, they will either miss out on living life with their younger brothers OR they would force their younger brothers to be cooped up with them. Similarly, I would have a difficult time wearing the wife/mom/teacher hat if I, too, was penned inside one room of the house for the majority of the day. By spreading school all around, I am affording myself the opportunity to participate in school, but not be chained to it. I can be baking bread for supper WHILE listening to a reading lesson, or folding laundry WHILE practicing math facts.
So, on any given homeschool day, you can find my Littles and me sitting at the dining room table, lounging on the couch, lying on a bed, sprawled out on the floor...anywhere and everywhere...learning and living life together.
That being said, I do recognize the need to organize all the STUFF that quickly accumulates when you begin to homeschool. For the most part, we store our IN USE materials in the dining room and our NOT IN USE materials in the basement.
Come take a peek...
As I've mentioned before, the Hubs moonlights as a picker...a junker who loves giving new life to old treasures. While we may have the finances to buy NEW...we almost always opt to refurb the old. Apart from our couches, mattresses, and one set of bunk beds, everything in our house is a one-of-a kind original, including this beloved china hutch.
Purchased at a thrift shop, this little lovely came to us in really rough shape. But with a coat of paint and some sand paper, the Hubs created a homeschooling cabinet to hold the CORE of our curriculum. When we first started homeschooling, this was all the storage we needed. But, as the years flew by, it quickly became MY primary homeschool storage space, and the kid's materials were moved elsewhere.
The hutch holds
- curriculum guides, lesson plan binders, preschool readers, science kits, basic art paper
- larger math manipulatives, record-keeping file folders
- drawers full of office supplies
- drawers full of extra school supplies and stickers
After two years of homeschooling, we assigned Super Boy the task of painting my grandmother's childhood dresser in order to provide more storage space for EXTRAS.
The dresser holds
- magazine boxes for each child's workbooks and notebooks, a wrack of board puzzles
- extra flashcards
- small manipulatives mostly used for math
- learning games (our family board games are stored elsewhere)
- bags of regular puzzles (I cut the top off of puzzle boxes oand store the top and pieces in a Ziplock bag to save space), and more board puzzles
The newest addition to our homeschooling space is this table. We have a very small formal dining room that holds A LOOOOOOT of furniture. So, when faced with the task of replacing our table of six for a table of eight to fit our family of SEVEN, I was a little skeptical that we'd find one long enough but also narrow enough to fit the space.
This past spring while buying and selling at a flea-market style junk show, I found this table. Like all our furniture, it came with an interesting story...it was salvaged from the library of a closed school and still smelled of old books (or maybe the smell was just my imagination). It was both long and narrow...my two IMPOSSIBLE requirements...and had been the hub of countless literary adventures for decades. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect table for our family.
We are in the processes of salvaging unique chairs of all shapes and sizes. Once we have found eight chairs, we plan to paint them all a mustard yellow color to add some POP to the room.
I recently found this antique, wooden milk carrier at a flea market. I brought it home, filled it with commonly used art supplies, and now have a portable art caddy to bring out and set in the middle of the table anytime someone feels creative. It is very rustic, so I have no worries about spilled paint or glue blobs making it look dirty.
On one wall in the dining room, we hang our Task Cards and a laminated world map. (The Task Cards help keep me sane, and the world map helps us keep track of all the countries we are learning about in our geography club.)
And then there are baskets!
And still more baskets!
Currenly, we have baskets sitting in nearly every corner of the main level of our house.
Our baskets hold
In addition, I have two plastic bins in a closet. One holds art supplies and one holds clean "trash" to be used in art/projects such as empty oatmeal cylinders, egg cartons, jars, etc.
That's what our space looks like. How about yours?
Linking up with the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop at iHomeschool Network.