A little tour of our Home(school) ...

Friday, August 16, 2013

 I thought it'd be fun, in the spirit of "back to school", to give a little tour of our homeschool.  Although our learning takes place everywhere, here are the spaces I've tried to organize in hopes of maintaining some structure and order(ish) to our home.
 
We live in a really small 900 square foot, 100-year old country home.  I actually love the small spaces in our house and have grown to really enjoy the cozy feeling of our day to day.   The main area we use for storage and organization is a mud room we transformed into what we call our 'Discovery Room'.  It gives us a sunny, sweet place to organize the majority of our homeschool supplies and books.


The "Discovery Room"


It's amazing what you can do with a (very) tiny room.  We call it our Discovery Room because the idea of having a 'school room' didn't appeal to us.  I don't really want the children to think learning happens in one place at one time.  It is, however, a room we use to explore and discover, so the name is fitting!

Our "Discovery Room" in the bright midday sun.

Our Discovery Room book shelf with our Core books, research books, other curriculum, and living books for this year's studies.
 
Our shelf of Sonlight Core B books.

Art and Music Appreciation shelf.  (Yes, we love Usborne...)
 
Resource books and Encyclopedias.  The folders on the far right are divided into Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, and Medieval Times for our study of Core B (World History).

 
The other side of the Discovery Room.


Language Arts shelf.
 
Our Letter Drawers and Word Boxes.

LOVE this reading program, Very First Reading from Usborne.
 
Organization a la Ikea.  Very easy, cheap storage boxes.  These won't last forever, but they are very affective in organizing smaller items.  We've got boxes for Phonics and Reading Manipulatives, Strings and Ribbons, Art Supplies (x2), Math, Five in a Row, Science Stuff, etc.

Our Science shelf and box.

It's really important to me that the children have easy access to lots of different types of writing tools and a good supply of paper.  I try really hard to keep these writing tools well organized. This encourages them to engage with writing, drawing, and creating.  They do this ALL the time and very independently.
 
More writing tools.  I like having little notebooks and small pads of paper available for them to grab quickly and create projects.
 
Another writing/creating basket I put on the back table.
 
 
Our really simplified version of Workboxes.  Each child has their own row of bins (once again, thank you, Ikea).  Top bin is Math, middle bin is Language Arts, and bottom bin is their own little storage area for drawings, papers, etc.
 
 
 
What I really love about our Discovery Room is the peaceful, engaging place it provides for the children to just be.  They will go to that room to draw, to build Lego, to pull out Science experiments, to complete their assignments, and to just explore with their own creations.
 
Here's a peak at the kids, from 6:30am this morning... I woke up to them happily engaged in their drawings...  looking in through our old window on the back deck -
 


Early (VERY early) morning quiet creative time...




The Kitchen/Dining Room Area


Alright, so... this is our kitchen... it's slightly odd to photograph it for this, but it does make sense to include this space.  So much of our messy work is done in the kitchen - arts, crafts, Science experiments, cooking, baking, creating, you name it.  We use this space constantly.  (It also happens to be the biggest room in the house, so we gravitate here, I suppose!)

We do loads of reading at the kitchen table.  I organize all the day's reading on the country hutch in the background and we filter through the books as the day progresses.  There are also more markers, pencils, and art materials in the hutch available for the kids to use.

Our little country kitchen... so many memories are made here!


 

Our Reading and Rest Room (AKA Living Room)



And once again, sooo... this is our living room.  This is a part of our 'homeschool' because it is where our children land when they are looking for a time of rest.  Often times throughout the day, I'll glance in the living room and find one (or more!) of our children curled up with a book, enjoying a moment to themselves.


We have a LOT of books.  I've tried my best to organize them in a way that makes sense but is also engaging and appealing for the children.  Below I've shown two of our shelves that include fiction, bibles/bible story books, and poetry books.



 
 

And.... our outside learning space... the deck!  Love this...

 
 
I don't think there's anything better than doing our work and reading on a sunny, breezy deck... especially when we've been inside for 7 months of Winter!



Organization - the Weekly File Box


Alright... so, once again, I feel a little silly sharing this kind of thing, but I know how helpful it could potentially be for those of us that struggle with organization.  Here is an idea I got from somewhere at some point in time from some other blogger out there... vague enough

 
This is my 'Weekly File Box' that I use to organize all our print-outs, lapbook work, unit study-related work, and any other copywork that isn't in our Language Arts binders.  This would include our Five in a Row work as well. 

I have found this system SO helpful in keeping me organized.  At the beginning of the month/year I make most of the photocopies I'll need of reproducibles, etc.  For the month, I will pull the needed material and put it in this file box in the 'print outs' section.  Then, I can filter through the days as I go on a weekly rotation.  I know exactly what we will be doing Monday-Friday because all the copies are already separated by day.  It's so easy!

I know Wednesday we will be working on the "This is the Life" page in relation to our study of Charlotte's Web.  I write in in our schedule and on the Wednesday, I pull it from the file, ready to go.  Easy peasy!








 
 
 
Well, I think that's about it!  Thanks for coming along on the little 'tour'.  
 
Can't wait to share more memories with you this year, friends!
 
 
 
 
 
 


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18 comments:

  1. Loved your tour! What an amazing system you have for your kids, so fun!

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  2. I love it! My kids also love to draw and create so I keep a box of white paper, colors, scissors, tape and stickers available and man do they go to town... at all hours like yours! I loce how creative they are. What a great idea to call it the dicovery room and yes, we also do most of our schooling at the kitchen table too! I'm looking forward to following your year. :)

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  3. Hey Cassandra, thanks for visiting my blog! I couldn't agree more about the cozy small spaces! And whatever would we do without all those great Ikea finds! Best wishes for a fantastic year!

    Carrie
    http://homeschoolbelle.blogspot.com

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  4. Beautiful discovery room and it just feels so wonderful and such a rich environment for learning!

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  5. You have such a lovely home and it's perfect for encouraging learning! Drawing at 6:30 in the morning? Your children and my son are kindred spirits. ; )

    Have a wonderful year!

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  6. WHOA!!! I'm in love with your organization! I am a very organized person and I just gained some ideas from you! Loving the beauty of your learning room. All of the colors and learning areas are wonderful!

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  7. I dream of having a Discovery room like yours some day. Thanks so much for a peek inside.

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  8. oh how I find this so helpful! you have a beautiful home and you have organized it well... thank you for sharing!... and for giving me some ideas ;-)

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  9. Loved the tour! And your space is enormous compared to ours! I have a question... I know you're using Sonlight core b this year but I also saw Story of the World on your shelf. Do you do them simultaneously with the same child or different children? I'm asking because I had originally planned to do SOTW vol. 1 with my 1st grade daughter, then I saw A Child's History of the World at a used curricula sale and loved the way it was written. However, I don't think there's any activities to go along with it like SOTW, unless they have them in the Instructor's Guide for History and Geography. Trying to decide if it's even possible to do both. I'd appreciate any advice. My 1st grader is my oldest then I have a 3yr old preschooler and a 7 month old. Thanks in advance! =)

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  10. I love using the whole house for school! Keeps creativity flowing doesn't it? I think that file box idea was from Jolanthe, or else someone else also wrote about it! haha I think it's GREAT wherever it is from, but I don't know if I could make it work since we don't use a boxed curriculum or something I can easily pull pages from....maybe I should just give it a try anyway :D I'm sure it would help solve some of my last minute organization and printing scramble!

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  11. Your home is just beautiful. I love your Discovery room. What a wonderful name!! I think all homeschoolers need to attend book horders anonymous, lol!! Enjoy a wonderful week and thank you for sharing!

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  12. Great tour, your home is lovely and so inviting.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your home! Stopping by from the blog hop!

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  14. Love your tour! Such a wonderful home.

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  15. I love your Discovery Room - and all your supplies and organization - and the BIG window. What an awesome place to learn!

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  16. I absolutely love your homeschool room, it is so quaint and cozy. The way you use the whole house for different areas of learning is so cool. I would have never thought of that. You have definitely inspired me to change a few things in our homeschool. Thank you so much sharing.
    www.thehealthyandfithomeschoolmom.com

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  17. I love the idea of a Discovery Room! You think of creativity and excitement vs the idea of work. I would love to have some shelving units like the ones pictured...definitely on my "want" list.

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