Over the years we’ve had many different methods to our madness,
we’ve actually moved three times in the past 5 years so with each
move, came an entirely different setup.
But we’ve NEVER had an actual ClassROOM.
It’s always been school in our Kitchen and Living Room
which isn’t exactly ideal,
but with a few tips and tricks it’s definitely doable!
First let me say that while I’m thoroughly
impressed with all the amazing photographs of homeschool classrooms I see online,
I simply cannot do that to our Living Room.
(I want to. I DO. but I think in the long run I’d go insane)
So, since our living room cannot LOOK like a classroom 24 hours a day,
I try to keep things tucked away, or disguised, or even integrated
into our living space.
And it took me a while to find a method that I liked,
with things hidden but not so tucked away that it takes a ridiculous
amount of time to get through the day.
So our setup is a bit different then what you might expect,
but it works for us!
Oh! And as I take you through our classroom,
I also thought I’d include a few TIPS to share with you.
Small, Handy little things to keep in mind as you’re planning
out your own school space. Nothing magical….take em’ or leave em’.
(Feel free to leave me your Living Room School tips too, I love new ideas!)
So anyway, without any further ado,
Here is where it all goes down:
The kitchen table.
I put One big kid on each side.
with Mom and Monkey in the middle :)
Baby is on my lap, in a walker, or just maybe even napping!
TIP: Keep kid who needs the most help to the right side. Left if you’re left handed
And here is how I
hide organize all of our different resources
Current workbooks and projects are stored in this amazing “Apprentice” desk organizer. I first saw this over on Educating Layton and Delightful Learning and I rushed right out to buy one. (Note: Staples as since discontinued this product).
It was well worth the money. This thing holds everything Sissy and Bubba are doing for the day, as well as basic supplies and tools. It Spins, and has handles on the sides so you can pick it up and throw it in your closet when you’re having people over.
Which is exactly where I put it:
TIP: Spend a few moments during the first week of school teaching children where to put their new things back. Do NOT clean up for them…..teach a man to fish is a much better concept. Break time doesn’t start, Lunch isn’t served, and the school day isn’t over until every last paper and pen is put in it’s PROPER place. Eventually it becomes second nature.
(Okay, that’s a TIP for me….wonder how long my house will stay this clean…hmmmm)
Okay on to the school closet:
This is the closet that I recently cleaned out, remember the before pictures? Yup, still clean….Yea me!! And Yea children!!
Our school closet has quite a bit to it:
The bottom levels are dedicated to Monkey (2) who has lots of themed “Big Boy Boxes” I suppose these are like Workbokes, except they have LIDS. Do workboxes have LIDS? I dunno. But these are not really workboxes. They are FUN boxes! These are boxes he can pull out (one at a time of course) and work on while the kids are busy with their school work. Monkey LOVES his Big Boy Boxes, and he is being taught to clean up before he “trades” for another. Yes. A Two-year old boy can be taught to clean up after himself. I didn’t believe it at first, but it’s true.
Some of the different themes I have for him are:
Puff balls w/Ice Cube Tray
File Folder Games
See & Spell
Counting Bears & Cups
Alphabet Matching Game
Wooden Puzzle Pieces
TIP: One trick I only recently learned was to keep his wooden puzzle pieces all together in one box. Then I can easily just slide the boards into the side spaces and not have to worry about the pieces falling out or getting lost or causing mass confusing in the closet area.
Above all of Monkey’s Big Boy Boxes are Sissy and Bubba’s boxes. Some of the different resources I have in those are:
Leveled File Folder Games
Base 10 blocks
Rocks and Minerals
Dry Erase Cards
Table Top Pocket Chart
TIP: When organizing buy enough containers that you can all of the same color/size. They fit together better, the look nicer, it will give you peace. Got mine from Walmart, $1 each, big ones were $3. $30 makeover.
And let me just say that I love having things organized this way.
It makes it SO simple to grab the necessary tools as we need them.
I labeled each container with laminated flashcards
(Using my awesome new laminator)
and it takes me all of two seconds to find just what I’m looking for.
Okay, that’s all nice and pretty, but now
I’m sure you’re wondering a few things:
Where does she keep all her Teacher Supply books?
Isn’t this THE CRAFTY CLASSROOM….Where are all the craft supplies?
What about all the resources that will be used later in the year?
Where do the children do their online activities?
Where are all the children’s BIG projects, ones that don’t fit into anything.
And for the Love of Peanut Butter what about blogging?
And Here’s the short answer to all of the above: In the Living Room
Okay, that’s sort of a cop out eh?
So Here’s the long answer:
This is my desk. MINE.
Don’t sit in my chair, Don’t mess with my papers,
Don’t put your toys, your books, your trash or your sippy cups
anywhere near my computer and NEVER EVER NEVER play hide and seek
anywhere near this entire corner of the living room.
My desk is not only where I work, but it’s also where I keep upcoming
projects and resources for our homeschool.
It’s also where I blog.
Picture me ignoring that my desk is a mess,
Picture me paying no attention to the gigantic pile of books
that have accumulated across the top
Picture me sipping a homemade Iced Vanilla Latte,
and conjuring up all sorts of funny, inspirational things to tell you about.
Picture me Rollin’
(Sorry, that was a Shout Out to my Bomb-Diggity friend Erica ;)
Sometimes I just can’t help myself.
My children also have their own desk. To share.
(that makes two desks in our living room are you keeping track here?
I swear we have regular furniture too)
This is a smaller desk where the kiddos can do all things on the computer.
Their own computer. (i.e. Not Mine)
They’re happy, I’m happy, Happy computer using family.
TIP: Having a second workstation can do wonders for quieting down your classroom and keeping people happy.
Next to the desk is a
junk drawer file cabnient which has become my “catch all” for things
that don’t exactly have a place yet. I repeat this is a “Catch all”, and NOT a Junk Drawer.
Catch – ALL
Come along now…
Most of the current Teacher books that I have are piled on my desk or hidden in this handy little cupboard next the the kitchen table.
TIP: When shopping for furniture, look for things that can double as hidden school storage!
Next to the cupboard is our Kitchen hutch. When my kids do good work on a lesson, I display it on a shelf inside, which has plenty of room for all their craft projects.
They LOVE having their projects displayed this way, like cherished keepsakes….and whenever Grandma comes she knows where to look to see what her little stinkers have been up too.
I love that my fridge looks like a fridge.
I cannot stand watching art projects slowly slide down the fridge door with each successive slam.
Like nails on a chalkboard.
Is that OCD?
Do you think I’m crazy?
Hmmm….Maybe I should delete that last paragraph before I publish.
(TIP: Keep past projects in a rubbermaid, great to revisit for upcoming lessons…but only keep a few choice items. YOU Seriously don’t need to keep every little dried up corn kernel your kid glued to a empty yogurt container. You’ve got to chuck some of that stuff….lest your neighbor submit your homeschool classroom to A&E’s Hoarders or something.
(I do not speak from experience.)
And finally on to the Crafts. Craft Resources are strategically kept out of the house. I’m so over trusting my children NOT to get into the finger paint, glitter, glue, colored sand, fill-in-the blank with any other craft material you don’t want logged in your carpet, toilet, pillowcase fill-in-the blank with anything that belongs to you and was expensive.
This method ensures harmony and an overall feeling that Life is good.
Okay so that is our entire classroom this year folks!
Hope you found these tips helpful,
or easy to ignore if you didn’t.