Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to (home)School: Where Do You Homeschool?

"Where in your house do you homeschool?"

I'm often asked this question by my non-homeschooling friends.  I understand their inquiry.  Most of my friends, like myself, were educated in the public school system.  We're used to brightly colored bulletin boards and inspirational posters on the wall, wood and metal desks lined up in rows, and a big green or black chalk board at the front of the room.  One must duplicate this setting in order to properly teach children, right?  Not at all!

Many homeschoolers do school on the kitchen table.  A friend of mine does most of her teaching with her kids seated comfortably on her large L-shaped couch in the living room.  On nice Spring/Fall days, we've done school in the playhouse in the backyard.  Since I have a preschooler at home, I've found that the best place for us to do school is in our playroom.  You don't need to spend a ton of money to have a special place to do school - ours was done on a budget and most items were purchased over time at Target or Ikea.  The room has sort of evolved over the years and now has a personality of its own.

My daughter can sit at the child-sized table (Ikea) and work while my son plays.  We'll probably have to upgrade it soon since she's almost too big for it.  When she's working on an assignment that doesn't require me, I can switch gears and teach my preschooler using manipulatives and puzzles that we keep in the room.  Another benefit to our playroom is that it is adjacent to the kitchen, where we do science experiments and arts and crafts.

This was the first couch my husband and I owned (Ikea still sells it if you just have to have one).  It's found its home in the playroom and is our 'reading couch'.  The alphabet cards on the wall are made by Eeboo.  I LOVE them!  And we actually use them.  They make several other designs as well.  Buy your own here.

All my books, files and school supplies used to sit on one of my kitchen counters.  It was a tight space, for sure.  Due to an incident involving my son putting all of our flash cards and school supplies in the fish tank, my husband agreed that it was time to get a TALL bookshelf (ours is from Target) to store our homeschool stuff in.  That's why there is so much stuff on the very top shelf, in case you were wondering :o)

I love this file box (also from Target).  It was only $14.99 and came with super cute file folders - score!  You can't teach school without cute file folders...well, maybe you can but it's just not quite as fun.  This is where I store worksheets, completed work, info, school materials receipts, etc.  'Educational' toys are stored on the bottom shelves so my son can reach them.

Storage, Sweet, Storage!  Yes, I even printed and laminated labels for the bins...I'm a dork, I know.  We got this storage system from Ikea when I was pregnant with my son.  In fact, my water broke and I went into labor shortly after sorting the toys into their bins (how's that Too Much Information!)  If you need to organize your toys, run to Ikea and get this.  It's inexpensive, sturdy and practical.  You'd pay several hundred dollars more for a similar system from Pottery Barn Kids. I'm not knocking PBK.  I love PBK.  But they can be $$pricey$$.  However, the art cable above the storage system was purchased on clearance from PBK.  It was marked down to $12 - a steal!

Easel.  $25 from Ikea.  Can't beat that.  We pull it out into the kitchen when it's time to paint.

Maps!  Another Eeboo design.  I purchased mine from Genius Babies.  We use the maps a lot.  The US map came with stickers so we could mark where Gram and Mimi and Poppy live.

Under the Mexican blanket is a plastic play structure that my daughter got for Christmas when she was a toddler.  It's a big hit when kids come over to play.  Right now, the blanket turns it into a 'house'.  We don't use this during school...unless you count my son hiding inside and peeking at me while I help my daughter with her math :o)  My daughter likes to stand inside it so she can get a better view of the maps and the 100 chart.

That's our homeschool/play room.  We love it.  It works for us.

A special thanks to my Hubby for letting me paint it robin egg blue, even though he can't stand that color on the wall :o)

1 comment:

Gabrielle said...

Looks fabulous! How in the world did you know I'm in the market for some alphabet cards?!?