Monday, July 20, 2009

the homeschool

We've been homeschooling our children for the past seven months. And although I've been wanting to write about this topic since January, I've been at an absolute loss how to start this post. Or what to include in it.

I finally decided that there really is no simple way to disseminate everything that we have done over the past several months as we've embarked upon this homeschool adventure. So instead of trying to write everything in one post, I'm going to start out by simply writing how we've set up our "classroom."

As you read through this, I think it's very important to keep in mind that we live in a 1,600 square foot house. Space is at a premium. And although I would love (emphasis on the word love) to have a large room dedicated to educational materials - that are strategically placed on low shelves where children can easily access them - that wasn't an option for us. Unless, we got rid of our couch, dining room table and blocked off at least half of our kitchen cabinets.

Instead, we looked at the way our house was set up and we did a major rearrangement, while trying to use what we had, as much as possible.

We hired electricians who moved chandeliers and ceiling fans from one room to the next. What was once our family room, became our dining room. What had been our formal dining room became our computer area and what had been our living room became our family room. I moved small tables in to each of the rooms so that ultimately, every non-bedroom space in our house, became a space where learning could transpire. But our primary "learning" space is what we call our homeroom. Which was once our family room. But is now our dining room. And primary library.

And every so often, gymnasium.

Still with me?

The cabinet that once housed our television, stereo and associated equipment, was converted to a space that held many of our educational materials. Those materials that have a lot of pieces and/or could inflict significant damage on our furniture or walls if in the wrong small hands, were stored high in baskets.

On one shelf we have all of our wooden supplies including puzzles, beads and more puzzles. On another shelf we store all of our workbooks and worksheets. On another shelf there is space designated for our mats and clipboards, which we use extensively.

There are wicker baskets on several shelves that hold magnets, lacing cards, science equipment and assorted supplies that I have organized together. Roll-out drawers along the bottom of the wall unit hold play food supplies, wooden vehicles and a small portion of our children's library.

Using old CD holders, I organized other supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, flashcards, paints, brushes, Playdoh, rulers, triangles, scissors and compasses that can be safely tucked out of the way when not in use.

There is a children's sized table in our 'classroom.' As well as an easel, that I recently moved outdoors to our backyard because the kids love painting in the sun and I love having them outside.

Next to the garden hose.

Far, far away from our light-covered upholstery.

I will write about all of these things in more detail later, but for now, I just want to mention that in our classroom, there are wooden blocks. And a bookshelf filled with various books. There are comfortable spaces for the children to sit and read to their heart's content. We have a wooden doll house and a play kitchen. And Legos that I finally moved to an area that are readily accessible to the children, because thankfully, the triplets have outgrown the stage of scattering these small plastic blocks all over creation, and Henry never once has shown an interest in stuffing them inside Charlie's acoustic guitar.

My plan going forward is to begin posting, several times each week, homeschool activities that we do with the children. Tonight, I calculated that I have photographed at least 100 separate blog posts worth of information. Of course, turning those photographs in to actual posts is a whole different story. But I can rest easy knowing that if I'm suddenly struck with writer's block, I have enough material to last me until the New Year.

Wait a minute. Writer's block?

Something tells me that so long as I have small children in the house, that will never happen.


  1. I love the pics of your children with paint all over themselves. It is great that they are able to just have fun like that, something they Butt...the pic of Henry with the wings takes the prize;) Looking forward to your homeschooling post, although my children are all grown I do have a grandchild that I hope to help mold.

  2. I've been looking forward to this post -- and am now eager for more : )

    You really do a nice job organizing and making your space work. We have the same sort of situation over here (with 2 less kids) and I'm always trying to figure out the best way to have our house flow and to store materials/games/toys. I feel like when I'm not working with the girls I'm cleaning up after them or organizing again . . .

    Outside painting IS the best! And the butterfly-winged-bare-bottomed pic is just so cute : )


  3. Oh SO Cute! Sweet Henry.

    You have a great set up. I CAN ATTEST... YES! IT REALLY LOOKS LIKE THAT! (and now so does our school) ;-)

    The Organizational Queen (among other traits) aka Jen. Marg.

  4. PS I think you need to give tours. ;-) Marg

  5. That is a great organizational system. You are brave to let them paint all over themselves like that. I am just not that brave!

  6. I wonder if your children will become organized because you have gotten your place so organuized? I am amazed and a little envious of your organizational skills. Snce I believe that I was born disorganzied I am always in awe when I see someone to who(m) this comes naturally.... or is it learned?

  7. Priceless, totally priceless

  8. It looks like you're doing a fabulous job. I'm envious of your organizational skills.

  9. I can remember when you were 13 and your room never looked that organized---but that is another story. Great post. Love your little butterfly.

  10. I love your organization posts!

    However, I'd be more than happy to swap your 1600 sq ft house for my 1120 sq ft one. My four kids range in ages from infant up to age 12, making space sharing interesting, to say the least. ;-)

  11. Everything looks great :). I look forward to seeing some more of your homeschool posts. If I don't get busy with my summer planning, I won't have anything to post when school starts back..haha. I'll get it done...I always my own time :).