Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our School Room {2012-2013}


When we first started homeschooling, I daydreamed about a beautiful room with desks, and pencil cups, and loads of books that were alphabetized.  We would start promptly at 8:30 and each child would be ready and eager to learn.  They would be calm and respectful, helpful and of corse, brilliant.

Then a big brick called reality hit me. 

We were lucky to start by 9:00 and almost always that first year dressed in PJs for half the day.  There were piles of books, papers, and crafts.  Toys and game pieces littered the floor, and we never could seem to locate any of the new sharpened pencils that were supposed to be in the pencil cup.  We had attitude problems, motivation issues, and several cases a day of Antsinthepants that prohibited any sort of calm learning environment, let alone the dreamy picture of homeschool that I had envisioned for our family.

We lived through the messes and ended up loving our first year.  The next year was much better with the addition of a couple of storage shelves and a bookcase, but I still dreamt of having a real school room.  When we moved, we found a house with a fantastic school room, but sadly had to move just 4 months later due to a severe mold problem.  That puts us to our current home.

So do you want a look at where we hang out?

Welcome to our school room! Though, to be honest, it almost never looks this clean. Like any other room in our house that really gets used, it gets messy often.

I love having this school room!  It’s a great place to gather and learn together and store all of our schoolish things.  Though we start off our days here, we usually end up schooling all over the place.  Some at the dinning room table, some in the family room, some in the kitchen.  And that’s okay too.  We use it because we have it, but if you're new to homeschooling don’t think for a minute that you need a fancy set up or formal area for school.  The kitchen table suited us fine for our first few years.

So here’s our basic layout.  It isn’t perfect, but it works for us.  Nearly all of the furniture was handed down to us or bought second hand.  Someday I would love to furnish a brand new setup with separate desks for each student


The infamous Big Red Sofa, a hand-me-down from a friend of a friend.  This is where we read a lot of books.  The chest is full of dress-up clothes, shoes, and purses that the girls change in and out of a minimum of 4 times daily.  It’s totally normal for the floor in this room to be covered in them too.  Probably because it’s just too hard to put them back, you know when you’re in a hurry to meet Prince Charming.


The back wall holds storage cabinets, the kids T.V. hidden in the armoir, and the table we use instead of desks.  It’s folded down here for more room to play.  You can see the Solar System  is still up from our fun Outer Space Unit.


The Circle Time corner is next to our comfy reading sofa.  Above that you can see our Wall-of-Fame courtesy of  IKEA.  Elaina is still waiting on me to buy more white paper so she can finish her ABC wall.  Jeepers…you know I really planned on getting that done this summer….Next to that is a ladder shelf with frequently used books.  The rest of our books are stored on a big bookshelf in the playroom which is next to our school room, and is currently, and normally, impossible to navigate through due to a huge mess.


I’ve thought off and on about changing this table for separate desks.  I like having it for art projects and group lessons like our Character Building Unit


The Circle Time corner is the most used part of the school room.  We start every school day here for basic calendar skills, a sharing time, and almost always a story or two.  There is a basket of puppets and story prompts on the floor and storage of school supplies above it.  This year we are adding a new element to our Circle Time: Spanish Circle Time!  Isaac is the most excited about this I think because he is hoping to be able to de-code our secret language.


Our flip chart has various songs for learning days of the week, the months of the year, family names, etc.  There is also a section for color of the day and 100 day count down.  A pocket chart that we use for lots of activities, but is loaded now with numbers ready to teach skip counting to my Kindergartner.  A basic calendar, our new Spanish Flip Chart, and a clock flip chart is here too.  Each of the kids has their own job in the morning, even the baby who can’t seem to keep her hands off all the little pieces.


This storage system from IKEA is brilliant for school rooms.  It’s hung just high enough to be out of reach of little hands.  The cups are easily removed to set on the table for crafts.


I don’t think I could live with out these storage cabinets.  The middle shelf is full of toddler toys in the bins.  On top of that are File Folder Games by subject and magazine folders that hold the kids’ assignments for the day.  The little shelf is full of various manipulatives and craft supplies.


The white cabinet on the left holds school books for each kid, their Calendar Journals, Book Report Journals, and a few unit studies that we will do later in the year.  The right cabinet is mostly craft supplies like paint, play-doh, and stamps.  I also store our sensory bin stuff in here.


The ladder shelf has more toddler toys, Color Discovery Boxes, Knobless Cylinders, early readers, and board books.


Since it’s technically part of our school, I’ve included the closets.  This one is under the stairs and has a big toy box full of Little People sets and Weebles that get rotated out.  All the rest is puzzles.  Yep.  That’s right.  An entire closet full of puzzles.  Kind of ridiculous, I know but they all get used often.  And to be fair, nearly all them were bought at thrift stores for $1 or $2.


I know this looks crazy but there is an organization system here.  Various games on the top shelf, felt board and story prompts, preschool toys, marble towers, blocks, Lego's, and lots of other active games.  The white cabinet has more preschool/early education tools like teddy bear counters, practice clocks, and magnetic numbers.  The colorful drawers are full of papers and the shelf above that holds math games.

These shelves are the Language Arts shelves.  Below those are lots more toys.  The rolling shelf and black box are where we store our preschool packs and theme units.  The dresser holds science tools, lacing/beading/stringing activities, and older math manipulative's like Cuisinair Rods, Place Value Cubes, and play money.

We feel so incredibly blessed to have this school room and all of these fun tools to learn with!

Homeschool Curriculum 2012-13



Deborah said...

Wow. I love your school room and stuff. Way cool.

Laura said...

I love your school room, especially that red couch! The one thing we didn't have space for was a couch for reading and lounging.

You have twice as many kiddos as I do and they are younger too, so I think you are doing an amazing job to be able to get that much stuff organized and looking so cute. I also like that even though it has schoolish elements, it still looks like home. Many blessings to you and your kiddos as you learn and play!

Sara said...

So pretty!!! Love your cabinets!!!

Kim said...

That's a fantastic space! It looks so warm and inviting. And, I love all the organization. Blessings for a great school year!

Jamie @ The Unlikely Homeschool said...

Wow! I'd like to come learn at your house! So many games and manipulatives! That's great. I like your circle time corner. What a nice way to start your day. Thanks for visiting my place.

Jenny K said...

Love your homeschool room! Looks so cozy!

Jackie said...

Lovely room...I would like to know where you got the solar system items on the wall?

Sarah said...

Thank you! I bought it at a local teacher supply store. I having a hard time locating it now sorry I'm not much help!

Jennifer said...

Such a wonderful space for learning!

Where did you find the flip chart in Espanol? {I had to laugh at your son's motivation for learning husband and I talk in Spanish when we don't want them to be able to understand too!}

Sarah said...

Thank Jennifer! I made the flip chart. I'll be sharing the printables here next week for free so be sure to check back! My husband and I used to spell everything for our code language, but now that the boys spell so well, we've resorted to Spanish. It is funny that's his motivation for learning.....hahah! Thanks for stopping by!

Nicole Walter said...

I love your school room!!! It looks so organized, I agree with you our floor is trashed every day for school to. We even have to have deep clean Fridays in the class to get things all back where they belong!! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a great week!!

LEENA7 said...

I cant believe how wonderful your room is...I am not even able to pick a favorite as they are so wonderful. So many cool ways to store such a wonderful variety of things. There is only one really big problem with all of is not mine....sad. Congrats on all the work you put into this, I know your year is going to be grand.