I'd had hopes that my 2014-2015 homeschool "tour" would be in a NEW space and a NEW place. But alas, our house still hasn't sold yet. So, we'll press on and be content with cottage-schooling for another year.
As I've mentioned many times before, we live in a teensy-weensy little home (One bathroom...seven people...'nough said!). But, we are so grateful to have a lovely, memory-filled place to call our own and have learned to use every square inch of it.
In our pursuit to keep the HOME part of homeschool a top priority, we choose not to have a "classroom", but opt instead to mesh learning with life by spilling school time into every area of the house. We do, however, need a place to store all our books, tools, paper, books, books...and did I mention, books?! Our dining room has defaulted to our school-time catchall.
In addition, we have gotten pretty creative over the years and have learned to camouflage our learning so that it blends into our eclectic, early-American decor.
Come on in and take a tour!
Our celery green homeschool hutch is our primary storage space. Salvaged from a second-hand shop, this little beauty was a gift of time and love from The Hubs to me in preparation of my first "official" homeschool year over eight years ago. (Oddly enough, I get a TON of questions about how he refurbed this piece. Sadly, we can't recall the exact color of paint that he used. But, I can tell you there is one pre-coat of off white, one coat of crackle varnish, and one coat of some kind of celery green paint. The hardware is all original and the inside of each drawer and cupboard is untreated.)
On the buffet table of the hutch, you'll find a long, skinny basket that holds all of my currently-in-use flash cards, a magnetic calendar, all of my personal notebooks and binders, and the Bible we use for family devotions (not pictured).
Inside the hutch, are my parent/teacher resources, a few of the kids' books that will not fit in their personal storage bins, art paper, science kits, and larger odds-and-ends learning manipulatives.
The top four drawers are mine to store stationary supplies. And the children have claimed the bottom three for their non-art related supplies.
Our next big work-horse is this antique dresser that has passed through three generations of women in my family. I always sit at our dining room table within arms reach of both this upright dresser and the green hutch so that if I need something while I'm teaching a lesson, I don't even have to get up. (Call it lazy, if you must. I call it efficient!) Underneath the dresser is a cardboard box lid full of scrap paper. And behind it, between the dresser and the wall, you'll find our collection of large, white project boards...a MUST HAVE for project-based learning in a small space.
Each drawer of the dresser holds enrichment items as follows:
- Drawer 1: flashcards...lots and lots of them
- Drawer 2: small math counters, dice, dot-a-dot blotters, learning magnets, etc.
- Drawer 3: phonics games for my little guys
- Drawer 4: board puzzles for The Newbie that don't fit in our puzzle rack
On top of the dresser, you'll find the kids' book bins. This is where they keep the majority of their personal workbooks, journals, folders, current mom-assigned library books, and task cards.
Baskets & Crates
Over the years, I've found it much more efficient to keep our living-literature books that we use for specific subjects near the places in our home where we actually DO that subject. Using baskets and antique crates has been a great way to control the chaos while still keeping true to our comfy-cottage decor.
Our four most-used baskets/crates are as follows:
Formerly an old milk crate, this little wooden bin is the center of our passion-directed learning. Three out of my four oldest kids never stray too far from this art caddy that houses all our basic art supplies. We also have one plastic tub that holds our more professional grade art supplies and another one that holds clean junk like old oatmeal canisters, egg cartons, mint tins, magazines, cardboard, etc. that can be up-cycled into any number of fantastic creations. These two tubs are stored at the bottom of a closet.
And lastly, you'll find my wall-of-sanity...I mean, the wall that holds the base charts to our Task Card system. This coming year, our wall will be without pink as Sweetie Pea will be using the same concept in a school planner and will no longer need a base chart and cards.
And that completes our tour!
In case you're curious, all our currently-not-in-use books and curriculum are stored in a large cupboard and a few plastic tubs in the basement. I'd invite you down the steps to see, but you'd have to pass through the boys' room along the way and well...you might just end up tripping over a mound of Legos. For your safety, I think you'll just have to use your imagination.
Thanks for swinging in for a look-see.
While you're preparing for the upcoming school year, don't forget to grab your copy of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas, a must-have resource form 55 seasoned homeschool mommas. This is a book that will grow with ALL your ages and stages of learning!
Be sure to visit the Not-Back-to-School Hop hosted by iHomeschool Network to see other homeschool places and spaces.