A couple of weeks ago I posted a day in the life of our school and promised a tour at a later date. Brace yourselves the time has come!!! Let me just say, before I get started, that every home schooler I have ever met has had a problem with stuff – school materials that is… and the sheer volume of school materials can be quite formidable. I have been in homes where I have been totally overwhelmed by the amount of educational materials on every available surface, every available shelf and every available wall. It is quite daunting!!! I try to keep our school stuff to a minimum. If we don’t use it then out it goes, no matter what it is seriously if we don’t use it we just don’t have the space to keep it.
Before we get going I have to pose the question: How do we get from being boxed:
To ordered chaos:
To actual school…
Well I had to tackle our School To Do list – that was no problem and every other to do list that I could come up with in order to avoid tackling: “The Lab” which is our room of organized chaos; the family dumping ground; the put it somewhere I just can’t face it place… Well in order to get ready for school I had to finally knuckle down and face “The Lab” … and it wasn’t so bad!!! Really I had to clear out some empty boxes, ditch some ancient computers that were being kept for ‘spares’ and toss the stuff off the shelves that we no longer needed/wanted. You won’t believe it if I said the whole process took about three lots of half an hour. And now it isn’t the perfect room and no I am not inviting anyone over to see it, that’s another post all together!!! But the floor is clear, everything for school has a place and we can find it… the father person’s belongings are contained and I am content… as it is no longer threatening to spill over into our lives… That being said – you are actually here for a school tour, so here is exactly how we organize our school goodies…
Just like a real school we have our resources in a number of centers – Here you go: Se7en’s Centers:
- The Book Center: We read a lot of books for school. And the school books take up a wall of space in our Book Nook. The books are organized by grade. A shelf per grade… and each grade is organized from left to right: Bible books, History books, Read Alouds, Readers and finally Science books on the right hand side. Each book is marked with a colored sticker on the spine, a different color for each grade and if the book is history or science etc. This makes it really easy to pack away roaming books. Each child, that is busy with school this year has a pile of books that lie on their side. These are their books for the week. I did have a plan to box and put away the books we weren’t using but there was a public outcry – who could possibly think of boxing away Sonlight books.
- The Exercise Center: Almost all our school materials are kept in “The Lab” and not least are the exercise books. This is where you see a bit of organized chaos come into play. I used to keep their books in box files like these black ones – but their books exceed the files… so I used to keep them on their own shelf – not enough room… so now they are all on one shelf in between the boxfiles. The box-files contain nearly nothing of importance and if I were moving house I would toss them, but right now they serve the purpose of not letting anyone’s books “touch” anyone else’s… this is vital to the smooth running of our home and a small price to pay for peace and stability!!! Now everybody has their journals, their math books and their language books in one spot. (The shelf above is for pending workbooks or workbooks that we re-use).
- The Music Center: We have a couple of musicians and we haven’t had a spot for their music before – it was floating around. But with a cleaned out our “lab” there is floor space and instrument space and stand space and a dedicated music book space on the shelf!!!
- The Art Center: Our day to day art materials all live on the dresser. But this year we have been playing with Artistic Pursuits and the materials need a dedicated space on the shelf. We are loving it – this is everyone’s favorite part of school this year!!!
- The Reference Center: Most of our reference books, that we use almost daily stay together on a shelf in “lab.” The dictionaries we use every day and at almost every meal, so they stay alongside us at the dresser.
- The Science Center: Now Sonlight sends all their kits in these fabulous cardboard boxes that are so useful for only about a million things around the home. We have to have our science stuff in carefully labeled transparent boxes, with the list of contents stuck on the lid of the box. If I can see what is inside the box I am more likely to do the experiment and a child is more likely to ask: “Can we use this? Can we use that?” Yes, I want them to use their science goodies and not think of science materials as off limits and something they have to be so careful with that it’s no fun. Seriously it is mostly straws and paperclips and so on why have I been so precious in the past!!! So there are their science kits and their really kid friendly microscope in the big white box, that lives on our tumble dryer when we are not in a sewing frenzy!!!
- The Guidance Center: Finally, this is the chair that drives me mad… it came with our couch and doesn’t fit in our house… It blocks half a bookshelf, it blocks a doorway, because of it I am jammed at my computer. And everyone loves it… this is where my kids come to think, to talk and to find out things from the mother person. The funny thing about these photos is they are not posed at all, except mr se7en + 1, who was plonked there. I just sat on the couch opposite with my camera and clicked away. Within a short space of time everybody had been there and sat there and my photos were taken. Proves a point – some furniture, while not aesthetically pleasing is still essential to life!!!
I keep a supply of books stacked near it so that I always have something on hand to read to whoever collapses there. Many an idle page read, and many an idle ramble has led to long conversations about all the things you might forget to teach your kids if they didn’t have a place to find you. Here is our stack of books right now, something for everyone to have one on one time with me…
That’s it – our school tour… not to mention curbing the chaos of homeschool supplies!!!