Monday, August 15, 2016

Not-Back-to-School . . . Learning Spaces . . .

I'm continuing my own Not-Back-to-School Blog series with Learning Spaces week . . . We aren't "sit at desks (or the dining room table) and do school kind of homeschoolers. We have learning spaces throughout our house, so I thought I'd share, in no particular order, a few of the places we learn, or store learning stuff, in our house . . . 

Right now Little Bit's reading program requires a white board, so we've been using the easel, set up in the sun room. The reading program came with cardboard letter tiles, but Little Bit decided letter magnets are more fun, so we use them on the white board as well as writing the words. 
She wanted a way to keep her magnets organized, but when she had them all organized ON the easel, it didn't leave any room to actually use the white board, so we re-purposed an old cookie sheet to be her magnet tray. I didn't realize until I started editing pictures, that her hair had gotten in the picture of the magnet tray, and I'm too lazy to go take a new one. So there you have, proof that we really do use these learning spaces LOL.
I have maps hanging in the sunroom, so we can easily reference them if we want to.

In the living room, I have a basket for library books on the hearth. The extra supplies for Little Bit's reading program live under that basket, so I don't lose them. The little white board has the current items Lexie and Ashlyn are supposed to be adding to their book of centuries. And my temperature blanket knitting project sits next to it. One of our cats thinks the rocks under the gas log are her litter box, so for now I keep "stuff" blocking the whole fireplace to keep her out of it. 
My tote usually sits down beside my recliner, but you can't SEE it there, so I set it on the coffee table for the picture. It holds basic office supplies, my planner, scrap paper, new paper, the stuff I'm currently using for Little Bit's school, paper work I'm currently using, and a folder of "to be filed" paperwork waiting for me to take it down to the file cabinet. The basic idea is that, with only a few minutes "warning" I can add anything specific I need that day, and grab my tote and be ready to do school anywhere.
Ashlyn does most of her school in her room. She has her desk all set up for art, and has our old laptop up there so she can do Teaching Textbooks and ArtAchieve. She also uses the laptop to watch the Grammar of Poetry DVDs so she can watch them without all the distractions and interruptions she'd have in the living room. 

Little Bit is much more likely to want to "do school" when she sees it sitting out ready for her. And I'm more likely to find time to do it with her if everything is all together ready to go. So we set up some "work boxes" of sorts for her in the front entry. Which isn't an ideal spot, but it's where the little white shelving unit happened to be sitting, so I just went with it.

She has a plastic bin for each day of the week. The "apple basket" to the left is where she puts things she's done with. Then I can either put them back in the correct bin for next week, file them, or put books we're done with back on the shelf. The purple canvas bin on the bottom shelf is where I stash things I'm going to want to put in her bins soon, but not this week and the white canvas bin has her school supplies in it. The basket to the right has some games that I switch out randomly from the shelves in the sunroom, to try to catch her attention and get her choosing different games instead of playing the same ones over and over. On the shelves next to the Thursday & Friday bins are things like a container of salt/glitter that she can trace letters in, and some extra art supplies I think are what's in the blue basket next to the Friday bin.

Ashlyn's piano is in the living room. And the picture also shows the corner of the TV which does get quite a bit of use in our homeschooling. In addition to Little Bit watching shows like Wild Kratts and Magic Schoolbus, we watch some YouTube shows for history (LOVE Crash Course History), and use the DVD player to listen to audiobooks. I also cast mp3 files up onto the TV using Chromecast so we can use the volume on the TV instead of being limited to the volume on my laptop. Under the TV are DVDS, CDs, and some games.

There are also a couple bookcases in the living room, and some books on the living room windowsills, but I didn't take pictures of those.

The sunroom has more shelves with some of Little Bit's toys, more games, and educational things like the Globe and some manipulatives.

The big green chair in the sunroom is a favorite place to read and Lexie can generally be found there, or on the sofa in the living room when she's doing her school. She has a desk in her room too, but rarely wants to be alone. She does go to her room to practice violin, and sometimes has the sewing machine set up on her desk, but otherwise, it's more of a "storage surface". She wants people around even if she's reading and telling us not to talk to her LOL.

One thing I was very excited about when we got this house was the room in the basement to have all my books together and organized. This is only some of them, it turns a corner and goes along another wall, forming a guest bedroom space in behind all the shelves, but you get the idea! Lots and lots of books, and I can actually find what I'm looking for. We don't generally "do school" in the basement, but it's where the books live when we're not using them :)

The other half of the basement is for active play. We have the trampoline down there as well as things like bilibos, bean bags (the kind you sit in and the kind you toss), etc. It's where I can send Little Bit if the weather is bad and she's getting too hyper.  The gray couch thing behind her folds out to be a queen size foam mattress, so it can be additional sleeping space when needed and also sometimes gets folded out to be used as a tumbling mat. When it's folded into a couch it gets used for reading when someone goes down to choose a new book and can't wait till they're back upstairs to start reading it :)

Tucked into the corner by the electrical panel and such in the basement are my file cabinets. They're messy, but more organized than I've been able to be in our other houses.  This is where I have various kinds of art paper, the kids old school papers and Junior ranger books and such, as well as household files. On top are some extra school supplies, and stacked next to the cabinet are more stuff that I found while unpacking and need to get filed but haven't taken the time yet.

In our last house we didn't have a place for a kitchen table. We had a drop leaf table that could be set up when we needed a table, but there wasn't really room to keep it up all the time. I didn't think that would be a big problem, since we don't tend to eat our meals at the table anyway, but what I didn't think about was how much the kids like doing art, and how necessary a table is for that. It's nice to have our nice big table in this house, with a water proof table cloth on it, so messes don't matter, so Little Bit can paint pretty much whenever she wants. I have one small cupboard in the kitchen designated for painting stuff so it's convenient to get out when she wants it.

And finally, the cedar chest/coffee table in the sunroom, for a little bit of everything. We have it on a rug so it slides easily so that it can pull up to the sofa when needed, like right now, when Lexie's using it to build something or other. Or it can push out into the middle of the room, or all the way over against a wall if we want the open space.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some places, and today it's beastly hot out so I didn't include the outside spaces that are nice when the weather is good . . . like the garden that Ashlyn maintains and the porch swing on the front porch and the tree where Little Bit tucked a "bug hotel" to be able to watch for different kinds of bugs. But you get the idea . . . :)


TN Quiltbug said...

Loved your tour! Thanks for sharing! Maybe I will stop long enough to take some pictures of our school places!

Yellowwood School said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing your spaces.