Have you ever had one of those rooms that gets piled up and you end up just shutting the door on it for a while? You know, organizing it is more than you can take, and the rest of the family just keeps piling things in there? Time for a school room re-do! And to celebrate our fresh school room I have a free gift for you from Education.com! They have provided a fun, autumn multiplication worksheet (with answers) just for my readers! Check them out for more great printables. Download it here: multiplication_autumn_leaves (1) multiplication_autumn_leaves_answers (1)
My dear sister and her family lived with us for a few months during a job transition. I miss them now, but two additional adults and a two year old filled up all our extra space. Somehow our school room fell out of use. Which meant more assorted book and school supplies all over my living room – dining room. But when they moved out a few months ago we knew it was time for some changes. The first order of business was a big first: Vintage Doll was to get the former spare bedroom giving her her very own bedroom for the first time. Oh, the Pinterest boards that this one has created for this very purpose!
Sunshine Doll likes sharing a bedroom and misses her sister but is happy to redecorate her own room in her own ultra feminine style. And finally, the school room needed an update. For starters, our desk was a counter height kitchen island. It was great for big kids, but now we have Rainbow Baby running around and needing to be occupied during school hours. So it was time to bring everything down a little closer to the floor. Second, there are many more small toys that need homes. I have craft bins in both the school room and living room. I knew I needed to consolidate it all into the school room to make shelf room for blocks and balls.
I started by measuring my wall space and checking out dimensions of IKEA bookcases and shelving on-line. I knew adequate storage would fix many of my mess issues and IKEA is usually the cheapest way to get that done. Books are both the homeschool blessing and curse. Only so much can be done electronically. And I am not so inclined to do even what can be done that way. I love the brainwork that happens when a pencil hits paper and when a hand turns the pages of a book. But I need space for my ever growing collection. I had just started selling a giving away my early education books and curriculums when Rainbow Baby surprised us. Now I really feel like a one room school house!
I have one wall the entire length of which is a chalkboard on the bottom half and a bulletin board on the top half. It is wonderful, but does limit wall and shelf space. I knew I needed a desk and a cozy chair for two, for snuggly reading time. I had downsized the queen futon last year to a twin, but the little futon mattress was a pain. Our schoolroom already had a nice peg board system and very large shelves for my larger supplies.
I realized I would need to cover up a little bit of the wide window in order to give myself the storage I needed. One I reconciled myself to that, hubby and I settled on the Kallax IKEA shelving. He only has one purple fingernail to show for three sets of IKEA shelf assembly!
I purchased durable gray storage boxes from Zulily that would fit in the IKEA shelf cubbies because I need to hide my ample marker, pencil, glue, etc. supplies in buckets for easy clean-up. And to label these boxes I pulled out my Cricut (Boo to Cricut for closing Cricut Craft Room and snubbing all of us Cricut Expression owners) and used a faux leather and a cursive font to beautifully label my boxes. I used crates to loosely categorize my less frequently used items: science supplies, math manipulatives, stamp set, play dough, etc. Then each of my girls was assigned a cubby for everyday books. I tried hard to think of how each item was used before I assigned it a home. For instance: how often do we pull out a reference book? Not often, top shelf.
Since I use a four year chronological history cycle, I like to keep books and materials regarding ancient history on one shelf, medieval on the next, age of exploration on a third, and modern history on yet another separate shelf. If I acquire materials on clearance or given away throughout the year, I file them on the correct shelf and we are ready with supporting materials organized at the beginning of each year and cycle.
I needed a short table for a short “student” to grow into. I found a Little Tikes Adjust N Draw table used. My favorite feature is that it can convert to an easel and has two heights for growing kids. It is set on the lowest for my 16 month old right now. My lowest bins are for counting bears, magnetic letters, and such. I also put the paint down low and they have become baby’s favorite toy. I am going to need to re-think the art section!
The chalk board reaches almost to the floor which is perfect for little ones. Chalk is the most washable and least permanent of all of the things littles one could use to practice drawing.
You can find some of my must-haves for your school rooms’ shelves listed here.
A non-negotiable is a comfortable place to read. We prefer something that seats at least two. Cuddling and reading a book together is a family favorite around here. A bean bag chair fits the comfy bill, so we are using that while we keep our eyes open for a chair that fits both a small space, and a big plus a small person.
Cozy corners and chairs that invite reading seem like a no-brainer for homeschoolers. It helps make reading pleasant and who doesn’t want their kids to read more? If we build it, maybe they will come -into the school room!
Good lighting is essential for good reading. I placed the reading corner next to the French doors that let in lots of natural light. I also use the most natural bulb possible in the overhead fan and light combo. The “Look What I Did!” portion of our bulletin board is across from the natural light. It displays the latest artwork, certificates, and other things my girls are proud of and wish to display.
You may also notice from these photos that the schoolroom doubles as our gym. It was the only good wall space for stall bars and has worked out very well.
Now if we can keep it this nice and clean I will be a happy homeschool mama!
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