Friday, November 21, 2008

Virtual Tour of the Schoolroom

The homeschool home tour was last Friday. I'm still not exactly sure why they asked me to be a part of it. I'm not a "typical homeschooler," if there is such a thing. In fact, I think I'm rather unorthodox in the way I do things. Perhaps I was a good one to throw in for an eclectic mix. ;-)

There were roughly 25 or 30 women who toured the five homes. The idea was to gain some understanding and insight into how this works for different families. There is no cookie cutter homeschool recipe that works for every family. One mother had a single child, another had 8. Some of us use schoolrooms, and others use the kitchen table. Some, like me, work outside whenever possible, and others stay in one room until all schoolwork is completed. No two of us are just alike, yet we have success in our homes, and with the children that God has given us. Isn't it awesome to know that God designed my children just for me; they are my perfect fit.

So, without further ado, here we enter the schoolroom/ playroom/ boys' room (also pantry/ laundry room/ converted garage):

Here is the entrance area to hang coats and put shoes away. It looks all neat & tidy in this picture, and I try to keep it like that...but the boys often just throw shoes towards the general area.

Above the coats, there is a board to pin all of our insect finds. We had a huge moth pinned up, but it was destroyed when we rearranged the room several weeks ago. :-(

Next to our entrance area, are the toddler/ science shelves.
The bottom shelf just holds toddler toys, balls.The middle shelf has board books and a softie nativity scene. For years, I had wanted one the kids could play with, and I found this at a yard sale for a quarter this past summer!!


The top shelf holds our new lockboard and the geoboard, wooden shapes.


Above that is puzzle/ science touchable area. They can touch, measure, weigh, examine anything on this tray, as long as it is put back.


The stuff on here rotates, whenever I think of rotating it...usually when The Nature Boy reminds me that he's been studying the same pinecone for a week.

Next to that bookcase is my new Mimi-made nature flap quilt!

Each square is a tent that opens to reveal adorable bug material!

The boys adore it!!

Around the corner, is our L-shaped reading area.

The books are sorted according to type. Yes, I may be slightly OCD, but it's really the only way I can find what I need when I need it. The kids are fairly good about returning each book after they look through it. We also keep our library tub of books in this area.

We have double windows right here, too, which I love. Our Noni-made monster dolls hold the curtains back for us.

There's nothing like sitting in a comfy chair, with sunlight streaming through the windows, while reading a good book!

On top of the reading bookcase is our science storage. This is where I keep my rotatable science stuff. If I gave it to them all at once, it would quickly be destroyed or they would lose interest. By rotating it, they cherish the time with "special stuff." In addition to our hiking-finds, I store some of the seashells from our Washington/ Canada trip here.

We also keep our butterfly house, net, small creature cage and ball, aquarium, flashlights, headlights, magnifying glasses, etc in this area. And I have a new book for this area, called Pets in Jars. Woo-hoo!!

Adjacent to this, we have the schoolroom table. I think it's self explanatory. We do keep our worksheets tubs underneath, and our most-used books on a small black shelf on the other side. Next to that shelf is a game cupboard, and next to that is the big art cabinet.


Okay, the art cabinet looks disorganized, but it's actually completely arranged & labeled, and took a lot of work!!
Some of our many games. When I took that picture, we still had Sequence, Apples to Apples, and a few others out on the kitchen table. Yes, this cupboard needs some help.

From there, the laundry area is straight ahead. Yep, this is a multi-use room!! I did a curtain mistreatment, by hanging a black sheet in front of the washer and dryer. I got sick of (and distracted by) the waiting laundry.
The Artist has a room across the hall from ours, and the baby's nursery is down the hall, but the middle boys share the schoolroom. The bunkbeds divide the room in half. I found awesome discarded signs, that I made into "Thing1" and "Thing2" labels for the boys' bunks. Heh heh. How appropriate.

We love Dr. Seuss, so I couldn't resist.

It gets rather cluttery looking against the back wall. That really can't be helped. I have too much stuff, but I refuse to get rid of most of it. This is good stuff!! We store our videos, toys, manipulatives, trucks, you-name-it on the shelves and in the tubs over here. There is also a table and chair against the back door. I keep it locked at all times, but it's still accessible as an emergency exit.

I have a bulletin board hanging on the bookcase (hiding videos and other cluttery stuff,) which has our chore chart, color chart, etc.


We've hung our Word Wall on the back door. The maps & weather signs are on the other wall, but I didn't get a picture of that.

So there you have it. This is where we do school every day. Dash works with the big kids at the table off and on, and then does his stations. Little Lad is put into stations, but doesn't always stay. He usually wanders between three, and joins us at the table when he wants extra attention.

During read alouds, I sit on the floor and the kids draw at the table. For their independent reading and chapter summaries, they are usually sprawled on the couch, on their beds, or in a closet. There's no telling. :-) We spend afternoons, after book work, doing art and correspondence... or playing with friends, or spending time outside.

So, now I need some brave people to tell me about their schedule, crafts, field trips, schoolroom. The great thing about most homeschool families I know is that they rarely critique lifestyle or methods. :-) Generally, they just want to gain insight, and they come forth with respect and geniuine interest in how things work for others.

By the way, it's late and I'm tired, but decided to finish up this post...since I just get to work occasionally on the computer, I work rather quickly. Forgive any typos or other mistakes! Heh.

Also, here is some recommended reading, if you are interested in how different schooling methods work for various families:

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling.... by Lisa Welchel

*EDIT* Thanks for this suggestion, Suzanne...
Take a look at these Heart of the Matter School Room links, to see how other homeschool families work!

11 comments:

MemoryMaker said...

Your home schooling looks a LOT like my family childcare in this post!
http://debbiemays.blogspot.com/2008/08/first-day-of-preschool.html

I like to think I am a homeschooler with a twist!

Great ideas you have ... keep them coming.

Jerri Dalrymple said...

Oh, girlie. You are one of those moms who have it all together in so many ways....I could never dream of having "centers" among the other many wonderful ideas and implementations you have. We do good to find places to stash everything so we can use our kitchen table for meals! LOL
Maybe it's because my kids are a little older than yours, or maybe just because I'm not as organized as I'd like to be, but we seem to spend the majority of our days just trying to get the work done. I'm still trying to find ways to make it fun! :0)
You are doing AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing the pics and ideas.

Jerri Dalrymple said...

Oh, girlie. You are one of those moms who have it all together in so many ways....I could never dream of having "centers" among the other many wonderful ideas and implementations you have. We do good to find places to stash everything so we can use our kitchen table for meals! LOL
Maybe it's because my kids are a little older than yours, or maybe just because I'm not as organized as I'd like to be, but we seem to spend the majority of our days just trying to get the work done. I'm still trying to find ways to make it fun! :0)
You are doing AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing the pics and ideas.

Baby Nursery said...

Is that quilt home made? Where did you get it? Do you have a pattern? What a great idea!!!

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Debbie, I love your link!
We also have a costume area, in both the boys' room and in The Artist's room. In fact, she has a tub and a rack just for costumes.

Jerri, I think it does come from having toddlers, preschoolers, and younger elementary. And I do what I think I would have enjoyed. You know...with me it's all about learning fun, nature and ART!! ;-)

Baby Nursery,
Yes, my grandmother made that for my kids. Isn't it amazing?! I'll ask her where she got the pattern. She sure is a remarkable lady!

suzanne said...

Oh, I LOVE this!

I just started a post about where I keep all of our stuff that I'm plannin' on postin' wednesday.

I think that there was a school room meme a couple weeks back on heart of the matter - you ought to post this there!

suzanne said...

oh, and I loved that lisa welchel book.

Dionna said...

Wow - look at all of those books! What a wonderful little library for your kids. :)

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Suzanne, I can't wait to see yours! It's so fun to get new ideas!! And thank you for suggesting Heart of the Matter. I did link my site. I'll also edit this post to include a link to them, so others can check it out.

Dionna, We L-O-V-E books!!

Shan said...

As a non-practicing home school advocate, I found this post to be quite riveting. Boy, did that ever sound sarcastic when really it was....well, not. I love to read about how each h.s.ing household goes about their days. And I too liked that L. Welchel book - it did have a great sampling of different home schooling families.

I am also amazed with the way you've got everything so organized as that would be my greatest challenge if ever I were to practice my advocacy ;).

p.s. I saw your little group today at the med center. I would have called out but my voice was croaky and I didn't want to call attention to myself. Hope your babes are well! :}

Just what are those Woods up to? said...

Look great Wenders!

Can't wait for tomorrow!