Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where We Do School . . .
We moved into this house in January. There are lots of things we LOVE about this house, but one of the challenges, I knew we would have was finding room for all our my books. We finally decided to use the larger upstairs bedroom as a "school room" and keep at least most of the books in there (we also have some bookcases in our room, the girls' bedroom, and replaced the banister with a bookcase.  I MIGHT have an itty bitty addition to books . . .maybe . . . ).

When we moved in, I had grand ideas about getting everything all unpacked and organized right away, but that kinda sorta didn't happen . . . and STILL hasn't happened, sigh . . . but the school room has pretty much come together to at least be usable. So, come on in and take a tour with us:

I intentionally keep the center of the room clear so we can use it however we need to, whether that's building with legos, or getting wiggles out on a rainy day. So I'm sure professional decorators would balk at how everything is against the walls, and EVERY wall is full, but it works for us. . . Because of that, the pictures that are of large sections of the room just kind of look cluttered, so I'm going to show one of those and then move on to close-ups of specific elements of the room. First the "big picture"

The door into the room is to the immediate left of this picture. Right inside the door is our nature table. Right now one thing we're learning about is frogs, so we have our nature table set up with frogs and other "pond life" type items. As we move into our autumn unit, I'll probably switch it to a more typical "nature table" with acutal items from nature on it.

Our house is a cape cod, so the upstairs rooms have sloped ceilings, which has been something of a challenge when it comes to "wall space". One way I've worked around that is by hanging things like our US map on bookcases instead. There are books behind that map, but ones that I don't access daily. I just used the poster "tacky" stuff to hang the map up there, so it's easy to take down if I DO need to access the books.

I also hang things on the sloped ceilings, like our current "weather leaves": As part of circle time, the little kids take turns saying what kind of weather it is outside today, and we hang an appropriately colored leaf on our "vine".

The kind of messy corner in the above picture is where I sit for circle time. I have our circle time book basket there, and the paper and punch for the weather leaves, our basket of crayons and pencils, a bucket of scissors and glue sticks. The printer in that corner isn't currently working, we have another one downstairs, so it's become another "shelf". On the shelves under the printer I keep my laminator, proclick binding machine, paper cutter, etc). The short little door goes into an attic space that stores additional art supplies and, at the moment, boxes I need to unpack.

Moving on around our room, you'll find our "school cubbies". This was an idea the big girls came up with soon after our neighbors, E & J started joining us for school.  They set it all up one day while I was gone. The 5 same-size plastic crates are the 5 kids' individual cubbies. That's where their individual school books and supplies are kept. E & J's mom had the canvas bins, and offered them to the kids. Only E and MiniMe took her up on the offer. The smaller pink crate on top holds some of my "specialty papers" (construction paper, page protectors, etc). The green and white bucket next to it, I want to cover with cute paper or fabric eventually. It actually has rhythm instruments for if/when we want to use them in circle time or other "supervised" activities. I have to admit, I intentionally have them "hidden" in that bucket, since the noise level in our house tends to be through the roof without that added noise.  The big white roll of paper lives there for lack of a  better place. The red basket has some misc things I want to make sure I don't lose  LOL. Sassy and MiniMe's backpacks (that they carry school stuff in when we travel) are on the floor next to the cubbies.  One evening recently while the big girls and I were doing bedtime Bible in the school room, Little Bit's cat, Joy, came in and headed straight for J's cubby and sat in it. I had to snap a picture LOL.

 The area under the windows, and what you see when you first walk in the room, is our reading area. My great grandmother's cedar chest, with pillows on top, makes a nice window seat. Next to it is our beanbag. I bought a bean bag "cover" and filled it with some of our "extra" stuffed animals, It works great, teh animals are there if we NEED them, but not scattered all over the house, I LOVE it!! Lest you worry that my children are lacking for accessible stuffed animals, there's a whole hamper-full in their bedroom BESIDES the ones in the beanbag  

My photocopier gets lots of use! It sits right inside the door, and has copy paper, file folders, etc. stored under it. Our chart of wild herbs from hangs on the wall over it. I didn't plan it that way, but it works well for me to work on learning more about the herbs while I wait for the copier to do it's thing, hee hee. My plan for the slanted ceiling on this side of the room is to cover it with fabric-covered cork board (anyone know of a cheap source for corkboard?), that's going to be where we display all the girls' Junior Ranger badges and patches.  The little blue fabric shelf has preschool toys on/in it.  Little Bit loves having her stuff where she can reach and find it. When I have time to do some much-needed organizing in the girls' bedroom, I want to find a couple other preschool toy sets for the other 2 openings of that shelf. 

One final piece of shelf. This sits by the window (hence the weird lighting). On top is the pompom jars that the kids made. Whenever someone does something kind or unselfish (and I remember *blush*), I put a pom pom in their jar. I'm trying to encourage the kids to put pom poms in EACH OTHER's jars too, but they don't remember either.

The bottom part of this shelf is some of our more active toys. The beanbags, bilibos, and the bottom bin actually has balls and such in it, but I'm hoping the kids don't figure that out for awhile LOL. The other white bin is actually empty at the moment, but I'm sure it will find something to live in it soon.

While the books don't look especially organized they are mostly organized by topic. I also have a basket that holds Bible reference materials (concordance, atlases, etc) so that those are easy for any of us to find and use as needed.

Much of our school takes place in other parts of the house . . . we do lots of read aloud time in the living room, crafts and other messiness happen at the kitchen table. We spend time outside most days, riding bikes, swinging, playing basketball . . .

School happens everywhere in our house, but our schoolroom space gives us a good place to organize things. Because it's an inviting space, the girls also often go there to do independent school work, lounging on the bean bag or floor, or sitting on the cedar chest. It's also a favorite place for building with legos, wedgits or blocks.

1 comment:

Jackie Gallagher said...

Such a great space!!
I too have an addiction of books!!