When we moved to the country a little over a year ago one of the first questions to cross my mind was, “Where will we do school?” While our last house had been miniature it did have four bedrooms which allowed us to have an entire room devoted to just school stuff, even if we didn't stay in there for the whole day. Now, I love our little farm house, and while bigger than our last home it certainly isn't huge either. While we have a sizeable living space (kitchen, dining & living room) on the main floor, all the bedrooms are upstairs and there are only three. Well, as you can imagine, a family of five who owns their own business can make quick work of three bedrooms- one for the boys, one for an office and Emmerson is in with us (for now).
Our only suitable option for school quickly became the dining room/kitchen table. Here is where I get really honest with you and sound like a bad mom, I'm sure, to some- this was unsettling for me. Let me tell you why. You see, I am just not a fan of tacking up school decor in my main living space. I like for my home to feel decorated and homey, not like a a glorified daycare. I'm all for cute little happy face clocks and my kids' artwork, but such things need to be displayed tastefully in my home or they make me batty! There- I said it.
Go ahead and judge.
Now, all the rest of you mamas who feel the same way and want some handy solutions (I hope), read on.
First of all, I designated an entire cabinet in our kitchen to our school supplies. This cabinet just so happens to be fairly large and on the backside of our peninsula, facing our table- pure luck (or God's provision- you choose). Now, I knew that we couldn't fit all of our school stuff in this cabinet, but I wanted to make the most of it, so this cabinet is exclusively reserved for our art supplies and any specific books we will be using this year.
I chose to get a large shower caddy for all of our daily supplies- things like pencils, crayons, scissors, etc… This caddy goes in the middle of the table each morning and everything is communal. Nobody has their own set- there isn't room enough or time in our day to hassle with that! So far, we haven't run into any problems… I'll let you know if that changes. 😉
In this cabinet I also have a milk crate (that is turquoise, of course!) that houses our work folders (that have all our printables for the year divided into our 4-7 week chunks) along with all of the main books we are working through in our curriculum that just don't happen to be in use that day. It is very simple for me to pull this crate out and plop it on the counter in the morning so that everything is at my fingertips and I can easily refill workboxes as we go (more on this in a second).
The bottom of the cabinet is devoted to mostly art supplies, art journals, nice art paper and a few select books and workbooks that I can easily access for Judah, should he get particularly bored during the day.
Awww, yes, you heard me mention workboxes. We do indeed use workboxes- the good old 10-drawer carts that so many homeschool moms rely on. They aren't the sturdiest things in the world but we managed to get ours half off at Shopko last spring and they have just about the perfect number of drawers that we need. I appreciate that they are fairly inconspicuous, and since they are on wheels we can easily move them to where they need to be during the course of the day.
I also have this adorable little dresser that my mother-in-law refinished for me last summer that houses a few school supplies (along its our kitchen linens) but mostly serves as a table surface for me to display our globe, book basket and pencil sharpener.
But what about all those prized little drawings and dot-paintings that my sweet ones want to have displayed for all the world to see? Well, the first stop is our rockin' magnetic chalkboard wall on which they get attached and surrounded by a picturesque hand-drawn frame (if you haven't checked out my latest webisode that features my lovely wall, you can see it here). Next, I'm planning in the very near future to have frames of some sort mounted on the wall above our workboxes that will allow me to easily display their awesome projects in an oh-so-classy way! (I'll be sure to post about it when it's up!)
Our plan is simple, uncluttered and contains just the essentials we need to make it through an entire homeschool day without running all over the house. We can easily pull things out to work with but we can just as easily slip them away and mostly out of site so we aren't heaped in homeschool paraphernalia 24/7… It's more like 12/5 since it typically does end up on the table until around dinner every school day, but hey, we're working on it!
Now, obviously, this isn't everything we own that is school-related. Over just the 2 years (this is our third) that we have been “officially” been homeschooling, we have amassed quite the plethora of supplies, books, printables and manipulatives, but I knew I didn't want these housed in any public area. So, one wall of our upstairs office became devoted to everything homeschool-storage related. (I cringe to show you this picture, but it's the truth- see, I told you I didn't get everything done! Obviously, little hands regularly enjoy dismantling this space… that isn't that well organized to begin with!)
So this is how we make homeschooling work without a separate space and I maintain my sense of style and un-daycare-like requirements! This week's Bold Turquoise On Live Webisode will take you on an extended tour of our space and also show you more realistically how it functions throughout the day, so check back soon or, even better, subscribe so you don't miss a moment of the action! (I can see you waiting with baited breath! The subscribe buttons are up in the header!)
How about you? Where do you do school? Do you have daycare-wall-phobia, much as myself? Tell me all about it! I'd even love a link to your own blog post on this topic!
Oh, and if you haven't already, then be sure to stop by iHomeschool Network's Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop to check out tons of other homeschooling spaces!
**AND, for anyone who viewed this post before the typo in the first paragraph was fixed, please accept my sincerest apologies! It truly was not intentional!!**