There is nothing I like more than learning how other people live. When I need ideas for organization or tips for making life work with five children (or 6, 7 or however many we may have at one time), the only thing that inspires me is seeing how others get it done. I’m absolutely addicted to Pinterest and homeschool blogs!
My favorites are the ones who take pictures of everything…..the whole room, or the whole cabinet, or the whole system. There is nothing worse for my overactive imagination, then to be left guessing because the photographer only took 2 or 3 photos of an awesome space! Share it all people! We want to see! Or, at least I do 🙂
We just moved for the 4th time since our homeschooling journey began, and I have learned a lot of things. And now I’m old…….well, older……and homeschooling all over again. I have homeschool graduates, and a baby, a toddler, and a rising first grader. There are so many advantages to being older though, such as knowing what works for us and what totally doesn’t. What’s necessary and what we can and should live without. What is essential and what would be really nice to have. When packing to move, I overhauled everything based on our needs, sold and donated a ton of stuff, and only kept what would benefit our mission……homeschooling sweet babies who we have been sooooo blessed to have…….with the sole purpose of Raising Servants of Christ.
So, if tons of pictures are your thing too, and you love seeing how other people do it…….then hold on to your britches…….here are oodles of our newest room! Warning: If you are NOT that into a crazy amount of pictures and you like things that are streamlined, then you might want to run away screaming. This room is stuffed to the gills with learning, fun and gobs of great resources……and I took pictures of everything!
What was once a dining room, is now exclusively our homeschool room. Our kitchen has a large area for our big ole’ kitchen table, so it doesn’t have to pull double duty any longer. The table in this picture was purchased used for $100.
Aggie Baby is a year old, so she has to have a place that confines her curious little feet and fingers, yet still allows her to be where the action is. The white board is awesome for Aiden’s Math and JoJo’s obsession with magnetic letters, and my painting easel for large canvases works perfectly to hold it.
God willing, I will be able to show this sweet face to the world within 6 months or so. Hopefully and prayerfully Aggie Baby’s case will go into the adoptions unit next month! (Aggie Baby is not her legal name yet!)
Both bookshelves have nails that hold binder clips so that I have a place to hang posters. We have Bible verse memory posters, character posters, science posters, grammar posters, math fact posters, etc…….but, not enough wall space to hang them all. This way, I can clip only the ones we are working on in that moment.
The same corner when the posters and white board are put away. Aggie Baby’s “Mama Look What I Did Wall” can be seen now. It has blank sheets up so I could gauge where to hang the clips, but she hasn’t dabbled in art materials yet…..which will change when we start school back in July 🙂
Here are the top three shelves of that bookcase, which are dedicated to fiction. Ok……this is where you get to know the real us…….what we read for pleasure. Some people might question why a Christian woman lets Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Twilight series grace her shelves. The answer is simple to me……I believe in the ultimate quest for good to overcome evil, light to dominate dark, that Jesus will squash Satan in the end, and that God uses all sorts of things to inspire us to be good Soldiers of the Cross……and none of my children have gotten it in their head that they can cast a spell or talk to elves. Lots of Christians don’t agree that these books hold such inspiration, but we do 🙂 I love you for you, please love me for me!
If your still with me after seeing what’s on my fiction shelves :-), here is the next two shelves. The top one holds baby/toddler books, easy readers, poetry and a set of fairy tale books. The bottom shelf holds literature classics and American Girl books.
The bottom two shelves are the elective books, Spanish Language books, Sign Language books and DVDs, piano music, Hymnals (I’m obsessed!), and seasonal books (Christmas, Easter, etc.) There is a Casio keyboard for Aiden to practice on when he’s not on the piano in the living room, and for JoJo and Aggie Baby to fiddle with.
The other corner of the room holds the twin to the bookcase showcased in the above pictures. This is where Aiden’s “Mama Look What I Did Wall” is located, along with his chore chart and chore pack cards. Chore pack cards were introduced to us through Teri Maxwell’s book, Managers of Their Chores. Awesome book, and so beneficial to our special needs children who need more visual cues. Our wastebasket resides here too.
The top two shelves hold history, science labs, math curriculum and workbooks, science books, and lab equipment. I gave away and sold most of the curriculum that I used with DJ and Casey as they will be outdated by the time Aiden, JoJo and Aggie will be ready for them. We didn’t save their elementary curriculum, because at the time we thought we were done having children! Funny how God surprises us with His Will and all 🙂 As Aiden finishes with each of his new curriculum, we will save them for the next go-rounders.
The middle shelves hold our Character Sketches, character curriculum’s such as Character First, The Narrow Way, Plants Grown Up, Polished Cornerstones, and others. We also have a character series which outlines individual traits, the Bible Story series, and baby/toddler bibles. The bottom shelf in this picture holds various Bible translations, guides, concordances, atlas’ and dictionaries. There is also our adult character books and guides.
The last two shelves of this case holds a Rod and Staff Pathway Readers section, a homeschool resource section, a flash card series of skills based on age level and grade, and a Biblical literature section such as Pilgrim’s Progress, C.S. Lewis materials and missionary stories. There is also a section on personal growth for boys and girls as Christians and family devotion curriculum’s, a section of our Rod and Staff grammar series, our preschool curriculum, and finally our school reference section of dictionaries, thesaurus’, and such.
The black cabinet in between the twin bookcases used to be our china hutch. Not being in the habit of using my beautiful fine china with all these precious angels running around, the cabinet is of better service to us in our homeschool room :-). On these shelves resides Aiden, JoJo, and Aggie’s current year’s curriculum and materials. The top is a tribute to school libraries, whose displays invoke an interest in reading for children of all ages.
On the top shelves we have the math section.
The preschool educational toys, puzzles and book section.
The science and monthly celebration section.
And finally, the Bible and Little Contenders section.
The bottom shelf holds Aiden’s reading and phonics section.
JoJo’s 2-Year Old curriculum section.
And Aiden’s History section.
The bottom cabinet holds the rest of our Hooked on Phonics series and the drawer pulls serve as hooks for the children’s library tote and Aiden’s Nature Study tote.
Inside the first drawer is our Calendar Center pieces that I made myself from card stock, construction paper, things I printed off of my computer and a laminator. (Calendar Center picture is coming up).
Inside the second drawer is our bulletin board supplies and the labels and chalk pens I use to organize our bins. (A picture of our bulletin board is coming up).
The top of the buffet and our ‘Library Tribute’. Here we display a framed painting of an absolutely adorable one-room school house, and books that inspire us. We have the Bible, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, and Old Mother West Wind.
The other side of the room holds our black board and educational, fun materials. You can also see JoJo’s ‘Mama Look What I Did Wall’, his chore chart and chore cards.
Right now, at the age of 2, his only chores are ‘letting’ me brush his teeth, putting toys into a basket, putting on his clothes, etc.
The chalk board is probably the most used thing we have in our homeschool room. I cannot imagine teaching without it! The cabinet beneath it holds the CD Player/ Tape Player/Radio combo……and it took me a while to find a working tape player but several of our music selections are on tape and I don’t want to waste money converting them to the CD verson 🙂 It also houses our electric pencil sharpener, magnetic letters and wipe off markers. Here you see the Calendar Center I made.
I used a tri-fold cardboard science display that I got from Walmart. I used a sharpie to outline the calendar I wanted, based on the numbers I designed, printed and laminated. Self-stick velcro was applied to the board and each removable cutout I made. The categories are calendar (obviously), letter of the week, number of the week, weather for the day, and Bible verse for the week.
Each day Aiden adds that days number and we recite the month, the day, the number, and then the year. We talk about what season it is and what special day it is or a special day that is coming up. I have ‘special’ day squares to coordinate with our family’s calendar, such as birthdays, holidays, etc. and each Sunday has a special Church/Biblical square. We even have one of our Pastor so that Aiden can better associate with him.
Then Aiden puts on the appropriate weather square and we recite the weeks Bible verse (he actually has many verses he memorizes, but this is for his Little Contenders verses).
Aiden knows his numbers and letters……and by a weird twist of JoJo’s autism, JoJo knows all of them too! So, this section isn’t being used this year, as it will wait until Aggie is ready.
I also use the cabinet to display Aiden’s sight words as well. JoJo’s Autism again……he knows all of Aiden’s sight words…..even the ones Aiden doesn’t know yet. He has no idea what the words mean, he just has an incredible memory. Gosh, to be only 2 1/2 and have a memory like that!
In the corner I store the white board, the Calendar Center and the sight words board when not in use.
This is the fun shelf. It houses all of our bins that we use for educational fun stuff, art supplies, music, etc.
Each bin is labeled clearly and organized into categories.
Acquiring these supplies, toys, games, puzzles and music took 15 years. In that amount of time we were able to get an excellent sense of what works, what keeps kids interests, and what they like. One of the perks of being older and starting all over again after having 2 children already finished with homeschool, is the valuable knowledge obtained and already having the kinks worked out.
The shelving unit only has baby to 2nd grade items. The older children and teen things are stored elsewhere throughout the house. As the little children grow, I will change things out as appropriate.
Hanging beside the chalk board is our ‘The Blessing Chart’ and ‘If-Then Chart’. They are discipline tools from Doorposts. Aiden is just now old enough to understand some of them, but a lot of it goes over his head still.
Another child-training tool is hung just below the other charts. This one is called ‘The Brother-Offended Chart’, also sold by Doorposts.
In the middle of the table we have two supply caddies. The one on the bottom is mine, with all of my teacher supplies. The one on top is the children’s school and basic art supplies.
I gave up buying homeschool planners a few years ago, as they are never exactly what I needed. Instead, I make my own customized forms each year and simply organize them in a binder, which is on the right……I did love the cover of one of the books I had purchased years ago, so I cut it off and its been in the front flap of my binder ever since 🙂 The book on the left is a very basic planner with blank grids inside. I found this book extremely useful for high school homeschooling, so I used it for Casey.
The last little corner of the room has our bulletin board, which we use for upcoming field trip ads, seasonal activities within our community, or anything else we need to ‘post’. The drawer units hold school and craft supplies. On top of those is our reward box and our Pledges and Prayers Center.
Every morning before our Calendar Center, we complete our Pledge and Prayer Center time. I made this center with a table top painting easel, to which I taped an American Flag, a Christian Flag, and a laminated picture of our current President. We go through our country’s pledge, the pledge to our Bible, and the pledge to our Christian faith. Then we have our morning prayer time. I found an old beautiful children’s prayer book in a thrift store and it teaches the sweetest ways and words for children to pray.
Our sticker and reward box.
This is the first drawer tower, numbered so that the youngest children who aren’t yet reading, but know their numbers, can easily go to the drawer that I tell them to go to.
The second numbered tower.
Our adoption worker assures us that in only a few short weeks JoJo will officially be all ours, and we will be able to show our precious baby’s face. He is our delight, our dumplin’, our darling. We can’t wait to share his very first homeschool year in P-3 (starting a year early)……and Aiden’s first grade year, and Aggie Baby’s year of just being a cutie patootie.
Well, that’s all folks! It is a great room, filled with God’s blessings, both eternal and material. We are so thankful, not only to have a room with which to conduct our homeschooling days……but, for the blessings of being entrusted with 5 amazing children to teach God’s promises, His laws and values, and His incredible love to. Praise God and Happy Homeschooling!