Aug 11, 2014

Where We Learn

Our school room is not fancy and it's not beautiful. It's not a large, airy, sun-drenched room. We don't even do school in our school room! It's too small and too dark for us to work in. So we mostly just store our supplies in there. But, don't think we aren't grateful. I remember well the days when our school stuff was in the main living area of our apartment, all up in my face every day. So never underestimate the delight of having a place for everything when that place is safely out of sight.

With that out of the way, here are our learning spaces. We'll start here, on your left as you step through the door. These books are for the kids' science explorations. These are the ones we own. Oh, and a history book. I am displaying these books in the hope that the kids will browse through them. At least the history book. The science ones will be assigned at one point or another whether they browse or not. This book display area is new and is a test. If it doesn't work, I'll do something else with this space.

Inside the cabinet is all the science "stuff". Magnets, Snap Circuit set, dinosaur games that we will use this year, sensory tubs, and a random collection of items that they are free to use to explore the world or to set up an experiment. When we have science kits, we keep them here.

Next is the art cabinet. On top we have crayons, markers, paintbrushes, rulers, pencils, pens, scissors, glue bottles... all in handy little cups or boxes that they can pick up and carry to the table when they want to use them.

In the top drawer we have stamps and ink pads, pencil sharpeners, erasers, glue sticks, sidewalk chalk, and a stash of foam pieces and pipe cleaners.

The second drawer is a bunch of random scraps... puff balls, stickers of all types, pieces of felt and foam, popsicle sticks, googly eyes... Kaytie has a much bigger collection of art/craft supplies in her room, but this is for everyone.

The bottom drawer holds painting supplies and (some) of our bubble toys. I don't know who took the rest of them nor when they plan to bring them back... possibly the same person who threw random scraps of paper in the paint bucket after I cleaned it out for pictures, {{sigh}}. Again, everything in these drawers is easily portable.

Next, comes our big white supply cabinet with the dinosaur skeleton on top. :)

Inside this cabinet I keep all of the manipulatives and cards that we might (or might not) use during the school year. I have everything from sign language flashcards to a Lite Bright to All About Spelling cards to little animals for Geography work.

In the bottom of the cabinet, I have a tub of P.E. supplies. We don't really worry about P.E. much these days. They have soccer in the spring and fall, and a trampoline and a lot of nearby parks to fill in the gaps, but sometimes, we just feel the need for games at home. I have jump-ropes, balls, ping pong paddles, etc. I even have our old alphabet exercise cards in here!

Down here, I also have puzzles, math manipulatives that we aren't currently interested in, some odds and ends, and files of paper games that I really need to sort through.

Next in the room is a wall of posters and our map that I actually kinda hate. I really want to get one that shows the countries. On the floor are Daniel and Abbie's book baskets. The blue one holds easy books for when they read alone, which they will do every day. And the green basket is harder books that they will read aloud to me, which they will also do every day. The black box holds our Math U See blocks.

Next is our math cabinet. On top is the cash register, Kaytie and Nate's Math U See fraction cards, and Newton. The yellow box holds all of Newton's innards. And also his brain. 

Inside the math cabinet are all the math "toys" that they are allowed to use whenever they like. The fraction stuff is new because Kaytie and Nate are starting fractions this year. Yea!

Then we have our globe (which often travels to the table), their science books that are library books (I don't like mixing our books with library books, it makes me twitchy), the Flip Flop Spanish flashcards that we haven't learned yet, math fact flashcards, and Logic of English flashcards. The drawers hold tiny supplies like paper clips, thumb tacks, sand timers, dry erase crayons, and much more. The white notebook is for Nate's STEM badge that he is working on for Cub Scouts. 

Now we come to the bookshelves. The top long bookshelf holds the kids' art creations (mostly Kaytie's) a broken scale that I'm holding out hope my husband can fix, and our collection of flags. Also a bear. The bottom long shelf holds Kaytie and Nate's book list of assigned fiction for next year. The short shelves on the right hold curriculum that we won't be using this year. The bottom shelf has history books for the year and all of our school-related DVDs and CDs.

On the built-in desk is a map of the USA. It's free-floating so that we can take it to the table if needed. It also has a world map on the back. There is also a pocket chart, a scale that works, my cutting tools, and two sets of drawers and a basket that hold my supplies. Stuff like tape, index cards, super glue... basically anything the kids are absolutely not supposed to touch. And finally we have teacher guides that I will need but not on a daily basis.

Underneath the built in desk we have the kids' boxes. These will eventually contain everything they need each day: pencil boxes, books, notebooks, and worksheets. They can either carry the entire box to the table to just pull out what they need. But they usually prefer to just take the box. Behind their boxes is a telescope and microscope set. Next is a file box of paper: printer paper, notebook paper, construction paper, photo paper, etc. Then a little basket of clipboards and small dry erase boards. The pink basket has file folder games for Daniel and Abbie, although they rarely use them anymore. 

The blue backpack is our Nature Study bag. The stack of books are history books for the school year 2015/2016 that really should be in the garage, but haven't made it there yet. The CD player is here because we rarely use it, we usually just pop the CDs into my laptop. The books are the start of our "reference library" this shelf has Bibles, Bible story books and science books.

This is the rest of our reference books. These are poetry collections, geography books, atlases, dictionaries, a thesaurus, and some "how to draw" books. On top are puzzle books that Abbie hasn't quite out-grown and a book about knot tying for our Scouts.

Finally, we have the art cards we studied last year, a magnetic calendar, and a poster of the ecological system of the prairie.

Between the school room and the rest of the house is our awesome laundry room. I use it for storage. This shelf contains: holiday stuff in the box on top; extra school supplies; playdough toys; beads and strings; the kids' piano music collection; cookie cutters that the kids use for playdough; my laminator; and some empty boxes and containers. You can also see our needs-to-be-emptied-trash can.

On the other side of the laundry room is a long counter with a sink. I love that sink! The kids use it for "grubby" work, pet care, science experiments, bathing baby dolls, and washing their hands when the kitchen sink is busy. And probably a lot of other things that I'd just as soon not know about.

In the far corner is our "nature table". The bottle is a vase for flowers. 

The tray holds old seashells, nuts, and just whatever the kids find that they think is cool... rocks, feathers, a funny little fuzzy ball that we think is a seed...

On the other end of the counter is the collection of books we use every day. The sewing machine lives here and on top of it is our Creche Conference basket. The big basket is full of the Teacher Guides I use daily. The blue basket holds the kids' Bibles for Creche Conference. You can also see our Math U See DVDs, a three hole punch, and a pencil sharpener. I adore this pencil sharpener! It works every day and we've had it over a year and the kids haven't torn it up. They can use it, too, so I am no longer responsible for sharpening pencils. It's amazing.

So now we come to where we actually "do" school! The dining room table. The majority of our work is done here because there is plenty of room for all four kids to spread out. I usually sit on one end, between Daniel and Abbie, but can move to the other end if Kaytie and Nate need me. In the foreground of the picture, you can see the bar: there are stools on the dining room side, so a kid can sit here and work if needed. And there on the right you can just see our newest pets: the goldfish Lox and Keys. 

This little corner is new. I finally got tired of juggling the white board and just hung it over here. It can be taken down if needed. And the desk we just recently bought from a fellow homeschooling family. The top lifts and there is a storage space where the boxes that hold our All About Spelling tiles perfectly fit. 

When we aren't at the table, we are working here. This is where I read aloud and where the two little kids read to me. Reading is more fun when you are snuggling, too! I can see the table from here, so I can keep an eye on the kids working there. Sometimes the big kids grab a clipboard and curl up on the couch to work. When it gets colder, the love seat will move to right about where the Dreaded Jungle Basset is lying so we can use the fireplace.

And finally, here is my desk. It doesn't usually look this tidy. I cleaned it up in your honor! 


This post is linked up to the 6th Annual Not Back to School Bloghop

1 comment:

Sherry Hayes said...

Thank you for inviting me in--I think my favorite is your nature sharing area--I just might steal that one!


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