Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When Homeschool is all over the home

I was ready to give up. I began thinking maybe I should just expect to eat at a table covered in math manipulatives and maps. Over a period of time and in a variety of ways, God lead us to homeschool our boys years ago. I've come to adore homeschooling my kids (most days), but we've never been able to make a "homeschool room" work for us. We somehow wind up on the living room couch or at the kitchen table. Every day.
Learning about atoms and molecules
Reviewing Latin
Oh how the math manipulatives take over the table. 
Are you getting the point that we use this room a lot?
I remember reading that God has made everything beautiful in his time and thinking that I LOVE that HE's made beautiful things and places and people. It's a cool reflection of Him. I really enjoy pretty spaces in people's homes. It feels welcoming to me. I'm fine with toys everywhere, but I also love welcoming others to a peaceful, homey space. So I began wondering if it's ok to want a pretty space even in this season of life with lots of little boys.

One helpful decision maker was that we like to house people who need a temporary home from time to time. We've lived with mostly singles, but one family of four (It was chaotic, but I so miss them)! I decided there must be a way to embrace the school room invasion, but attempt to "hide" the primary color themed preschool/ white board look. So our living room and kitchen are now a fully functioning schoolhouse yet (hopefully) welcoming to anyone who comes to our house. I don't have before pictures, but here's a glimpse at it now:

Our living room 
In the living room, we hung maps for geography. I saw something similar on the mychildiloveyou blog. They are $6 at Barnes and Noble and Andy made frames from some left over trim we had in the garage.  Don't they look great?

I love that it's pretty, but still very functional
 On the mantle is a small clock to help my preschooler learn to tell time. Sneaky Mommy;)

All our memory work is from the Classical Conversations Foundations Guide
Next to our US map, we put in these cute Ikea picture frame shelves with cheap picture frames. I got the idea from something that blogger did and a pin I saw on pinterest. I used scrapbook paper so it will look pretty, but our main use is to write the weekly memory work with dry erase marker and use it in various ways to help with retention.

How did I just learn that you can use dry erase markers on picture frames?
Right above our kitchen table is our new "preschool board" to help learn days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and weather. I could not find anything I liked online, so I repurposed a pretty picture frame collage. It came with the flip calendar. I just added day of the week stickers and cut out some of the kid's worksheets for weather and seasons.
The boys LOVE flipping the calendar
Close up of the whole collage
We live in Florida, so it's exciting when we circle anything besides "sunny"

I just put clip art on key chains to hook on the board

Days of the week stickers and a dry erase marker
This is the not-so-pretty part: I have to store our stuff out of eye sight. So I sacrificed a few kitchen cabinets to shove put our stuff away after the school day ends:

It's not pretty, but we can easily find what we need and it's hidden from sight
All the kids books, pencil boxes, school games, and manipulatives fill this space quickly

When we have art work or science or anything that is large, I've found that my kids would prefer to hang it/display it in their room. The only danger for them is if they hang it too low and their little brothers get ahold of it.
One leg on this project lost to our surprisingly strong one year old.