Our Homeschool Space

There are days when I wish that I had a space in my home that could solely be used for a classroom. I regularly go back and forth with myself about it. There is something appealing about having everything related to school tucked away so that my entire house doesn’t feel like it is being swallowed alive by our schooling, but then I think about how terribly inconvenient it would be to have everything we need away from our actual living space. Our school day just seems to flow throughout our home naturally these days, with something happening at any given time, whether it be in the living room, the kitchen or out in the yard.

The majority of our school things live in our kitchen/dining room. I use 2 small bookshelves that hold misc. curriculum, activities, manipulatives, arts and craft supplies, and other frequently used items. My desk and computer live here and I pretty much use up any spare wall/door space I have for school related hangings.

Our living room is fairly saturated with kid items too. No one walking into my house would ever doubt that I have children. 😛 I have 2 tall bookshelves + a sofa table in the living room, that are used for organizing our things. We keep many of our recreational, educational & current library books in the living room. Toys that fall into the educational variety are kept downstairs like building toys, games and musical instruments.

I love my workboxes! They have become essential in keeping myself organized, and I have just recently had to change the way we are using them. Using them as a visual way of marking off what we have accomplished and seeing what we have left wasn’t really working for us. I was getting tired of reminding Haden EVERY SINGLE time, to move his drawer stickers over after he had completed his work. Maybe we will reach a point in time where doing them that way will work, but that time is not now. So, instead, I just made subject labels to organize what we need for each day. Anything we need for Language Arts will be put in it’s drawer tonight, etc. I’m not sure I love the new labels I made, but I guess they will work for now. Especially, since there is always the chance I will need to make another change on how we use our workboxes anyways.

Then, of course there is storage! I use a section of the closet in Michael’s office (right off of the kitchen) for homeschool storage. 🙂 Anything that I don’t need quite as handy goes here.

You can read about this year’s curriculum plans @ my blog, Next Homeschool Year: The Plan.

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TaDa! – My Workboxes

It may have taken me a few weeks, but I now officially have my workbox system in place! Whew. I am hoping this baby will see me through years of homeschooling, and make my life easier. At this point I am just really happy to no longer have all my crap for the day spread all of my kitchen counters.

I originally read about the workbox system on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. She made it really easy for me to pull this off, because I even used her free downloads. If you really want to know how it all works, you should read her blog. i really don’t feel up to being that thorough!

So I ended up buying THIS craft storage cart from Joann’s. I like all the pretty colors. 😛 I could have gone with something smaller, because at this point we don’t quite need so many drawers, but I wanted to get something that would grow with us, so I am not having to expand later down the road. I also got the double-sided one, so that Addison could have her own drawers, as well. Not that she really needs them yet.

So everything we are doing on any given day goes in a drawer. Once we have finished a drawer Haden can move his stickers to his “done” chart, and then he has a visual representation of the work he has gotten done, and how much he has left for the day. Or a semi-visual anyways, since we tend to DO many things that don’t involve putting anything inside of a workbox.

The rest of our drawers are holding notebooks and other things that we may not be using on that specific day, but that will fairly often be making an appearance in a drawer. Addison has even been having a good time with hers. She has taken to doing “school” with her brother, so I’ve put things in her drawers for her to work on, like lacing cards, puzzles, sticker books, etc.

She is even keeping her own yoga book now. 🙂 How did she suddenly become a little girl and not a baby??!!

Addison couldn’t quite get a hold of her ankles during our seahorse pose, but she tried REAL hard!

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In anticipation of our LONG road trip for vacation last month, I knew I had to do SOMETHING and get creative about things to do with my children in our car. Road tripping with 2 young children sounded like this mama’s version of a nightmare. So, I am probably a bit behind the curve here, but my car isn’t terribly kid-friendly. We rarely have anything interesting to do while we are in it, and on the rare occasion that I remember to remind the kids to bring something with them, they don’t do it most of the time.

With the trip looming right ahead of me, I took the plunge and finally bought a book I had been eyeballing for a while called Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time. It is written by Diane Flynn Keith, who runs, of which I am a big fan, and the book hasn’t disappointed me even a tiny bit!

I bought car organizers! How on earth have I not done this before??!! I am seriously behind the curve, like 6 YEARS behind. In preparation for our future adventures in carschooling, as we tend to spend a fair amount of time in the car (trucking back and forth to park days, play dates, co-op classes, or field trips), we now have some of our basic essentials in place, ready to use whenever we need them.

My teeny tiny car now harbors…Notebooks, lapdesks, colored pencils, pencils, a pencil sharpener, magazines, coloring books, flashcards, audio books, music CDs, a camera, binoculars, a magnifying glass, a critter keeper, a picnic blanket, and spare clothes.

The book has so many great ideas, and some of them require materials preparation ahead of time, while others you can do without much forethought. Anyone who read my blogs about our vacation, knows that our road trip with the kids was not “fun times” all around, but I honestly hate to think of what it would have been like if I had been completely unprepared. :/

We seemed to have better success on our shorter  1.5 hours road trip to Lake  Jackson this past weekend. 😛