Sunday, August 8, 2010

School Room Week

Not Back to School Blog HopThis week's topic on the Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop is School Rooms. As I've mentioned before, I originally planned on doing school at the kitchen table. When we got to this house (which we had rented sight-unseen) though, I immediately thought the little loft room upstairs would be perfect for school. So far, the only problem with that has been that we chose to start school "early" and we don't have an A/C. Even in Montana, the upstairs of a house gets mighty hot in August when there's no A/C. So the temperatures have dictated that our seat work take place in the morning before it warms up. Here are some pictures of how I've set the room up: We have two desks we got from my parents...my old desk I always used and an actual school desk (which the kids think is the neatest thing ever). The built-in cabinet is great for holding the things the kids aren't allowed to get into without asking. The bottom shelf has a big stack of paper and notebooks and my pens/highlighters/post-its. The middle shelf holds the workbooks, and the top shelf has the more bulky things like math manipulatives. The US map on the wall is down at their height and I've marked each state that they've been to. Whenever we're planning a trip, I have them find the place on the map. We also often review where in the country each of our relatives live.
From the other corner of the room, you can see the bigger desk and the shelves they ARE allowed to get into. There's a globe to look up countries and time zones, a jar of various coins for practicing money values or just counting, one shelf of books my 3 year old can keep herself entertained with, and several small boxes (one for crayons, one for markers, one for colored pencils, one for pencils/pens). I have the calendar up because my oldest was having trouble understanding days of the week, but now she's got it down and just gets a kick out of being able to see everything clearly and changing the signs saying what the current weather is. The easel is just for them to draw or paint, or to keep my younger one happy while we're busy.
This picture is from standing by the calendar. There are more shelves here that are "my" things again (some boxes with extra scissors and glue, blank paper, etc...). Our printer/scanner/copier is on top (it's wireless, which is helpful when I'm on the computer downstairs and find something I want to print). The little table is set up with all of their play-doh. Again, this helps keep the 3 year old happy when we're working. Since we are renting and I didn't want to risk messing up the carpet, I put an old rug we don't care about in the room. It's big enough to take the brunt of any play-doh or paint that falls and I plan to throw it away when we move.
That's it for the room, but this last picture just shows something that's been invaluable for me. I've decided to copy pages from workbooks instead of writing in them and buying new each year. I bought a one-inch binder and started out by copying about 5 weeks worth of worksheets and separating them by subject in the binder. Whenever both kids happen to be working independently, I'll quickly copy a week or two from one workbook and add it to the binder, so I always have what I need already printed out and no one's having to wait, nor am I up late the night before copying things.

You might notice there aren't many books. Because our stairs aren't exactly kid-safe, they aren't allowed upstairs alone. Since I want them to have access to a lot of books all the time, all of the kid books live downstairs. There are plenty of things my 5 year old can easily read independently, plus some more challenging books that she can get through if she takes her time, and some non-fiction things that I hope will grab her attention soon just by being there. Also plenty of books my 3 year old can flip through and "read" as well as the regular pre-K books that we read to her.

There are plenty of other "school rooms" we use too: we've been visiting a lot of National Parks this summer, sometimes we will sit at the kitchen table during the younger child's naptime (in the afternoon, when it's hot) to work on those subjects where my daughter needs more help, and I've decided to utilize my younger daughter's speech therapy time as school time too (I pack up the worksheets my oldest would normally do independently in a vinyl folder along with a pencil and she sits at the kid's size table in the therapist's room to work while I pay attention to what's going on with the therapy). Using that therapy time has been really great because we are going several days a week and it keeps my oldest occupied so she's not interfering, and also gives her time to get her work done on a day when she would be rushed to finish it at home.

And one last note: obviously they both picked their own outfits that you see in these pictures. I put a few limits on what gets worn outside the house, but they get free reign at home--sometimes the results are....well, interesting.

8 comments:

Samantha said...

I have been using dry erase markers and sheet protectors for math instead of copying. If I want to save a page for my files, I just scan it into the computer. For Grammar, I just have them write the answers in a notebook. Fun little schoolroom!

The Hills said...

Also a great idea, and I've just started using some dry erase handwriting books for my younger child! Unfortunately, my oldest is a lefty and I found she got extremely frustrated because as she wrote, her hand would wipe off what she had already completed. I've thought about using wet-erase markers instead and doing a similar thing, but for now she likes having her worksheets to look back at.

Theresa said...

Just stopping by from the blog hop!! This is my first year homeschooling. I learned so much from your blog! thank you!!

Mrs. C said...

A little of everything in this room. I like the desk, too. :)

Branch Of Wisdom said...

Great room set up! Thanks for sharing.

Kysha said...

What an adorable space! My daughter loves her easel too. They are so handy.

rawbanana said...

What a great space! thanks for sharing!

Our Village is a Little Different said...

That's definitely a great room! I also think the outfits are precious. =) I hope that your school year is fun and full of blessings.

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