Today you get to peek through my windows and see how we make 'school at home' fit inside.
But first a disclaimer. "I am a clean freak." Yes, I have been asked if my home is 'always this clean'. And I sheepishly reply, 'most of the time'. This is just the way I am wired. I like order. I can not think straight with messes in front of me. Seriously.
So, if a organized mom/home makes you feel less than perfectly made please feel welcome to vacate the premises.
Now in all honesty, I did take these pictures during rest/nap time. And the kids are required to clean up before rest. So, yes, there are toys on the floor, papers and crayons on the table, games and puzzles out, and other messes made in our home. But I have found, to preserve my sanity, that the trick is to have easy places for all of these items to be put away along with typical times for clean-up.
Without any further ado...
Our school room is the front room of our home. It could be called the living room, the formal living space, or whatever else you feel is appropriate. The previous owners of our home added on a family room in the rear of our home so the front room became the school and kid friendly playroom. However, guests and Ryan and I do spend a lot of time in here so we tried to raise the 'sophistication level' a bit by giving it a nautical theme and adding a framed world map.
If you walked in our front door this is what you would see:
The couch backs up to our front window and is where we often enjoy our storytime and read-alouds. We also practice the kid's reading there.
The side table on the near side of the couch houses our current read aloud on top (which happens to be Hans Brinker). In the bottom portion we keep all of the library books that the older three are reading. Typically the kids order the books from J's books in the front, T's in the middle and then Z's in the back (see, order is truly in the genes). Seeing as how it is rest time when I took the picture it is nearly empty.
My desk is on the far side in the corner.
On top there is the computer (which Ryan and I long ago decided will always be in a very conspicuous place in our home), a basket with writing utensils, a coaster, pencil sharpener, and a vertical file organizer.
This organizer is one of my best friends. It holds seven files so neatly and gives me quick spots to put papers so they won't be lost and my desk stays neater. I have files titled, "Booklists", "Household Budget", "Summer Activities", "Gardening", "Fall Curriculum", etc...Basically anything I typically research on the computer or need to keep notes handy on gets a file. In the front of this file I keep an academic year calender in a sheet protector as I find I need to refer to one often. Oh, and under this desk...a big stack of diapers and a tub of wipes. It keeps things handy and quick when an exciting storyline is abruptly interrupted by some foul odor.
Our school room adjoins our dining room, as you may have noticed above. If you were in our dining room looking toward the school room, this would be your view:
Here you see our school table and bookshelf.
The table was a beautiful, cheap craigslist find (as was the couch and chair!). It serves as our puzzle table, game table, as well as where I help the kids with their more workbook heavy subjects (writing, math, etc). On top there are also two 'old world' treasure chests where T and J keep their pencils and erasers and a lamp. Where are Z's you ask...well that will be for tomorrow!
Then there is our very large but amazingly awesome bookshelf. It is a bit daunting in size, but it was free. See, it used to be separating this room with the dining room. If you go back to the first picture you will see a 'jog' in the wood floor. Yep, it used to be there. We didn't have any extra carpet, but the previous owners did leave us wood! So, after some very noisy 'Sawz-all' work, sanding, and painting...voila! School bookshelf is now in a much better location.
Up close our bookshelf looks like this:
I will start from the top
Top left: Teachers guides and Abeka readers
Top right: Books for when the kids are older (Little Women, Tom Sawyer, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc.)
One shelf down L to R: Our fun read alouds for next year, Chronicles of Narnia, Scripture Memory file box, Storytime books for next year, Science books
Two shelves down, L to R: Books the kids all have access to, many we have already read aloud or plan to, a basket for book marks, Little House on the Prairie Series, History books
Shelf with flower in basket, L to R: A magazine holder for T's workbooks, picture books, large collections of picture books, the crayon basket, our summer music book (The Story of the Orchestra), our morning Bible materials, a magazine holder for J's workbooks
Bottom two shelves: Board books, toddler toys, puzzles (T and J each have a white bin on the bottom for their coloring books, stickers, and other papers that would otherwise drive me bonkers)
That about rounds out our school room. However, there is another place in our home which is becoming more and more used for school. But seeing as how this is plenty lengthy you will have to come back tomorrow to see the rest...