The "School" Room

We have moved around quite a bit since we began homeschooling.  Our family has also doubled in size- quite a lot to think about!  When we first began, I set aside one of our "extra" bedrooms as a work room, complete with centers, shelves, workspaces, etc.  Everything!


Then our family grew and we needed more bedroom space, so we pushed the school room to a smaller bedroom and generally used the kitchen and living room for doing work but had everything set aside in a special space.

Then we moved to a new state and lived in an apartment.  With no room for a special space for materials, they were creatively stored and organized right in the middle of all of our living room.


Then we moved again and had new outdoor spaces, better storage spaces, but even less living and sleeping spaces so we again squished and squeezed and found a way to dedicate half of one bedroom as storage for school materials.

Now, to a certain extent all of these scenarios worked.  One thing I noticed, however, is that when the materials were in common space and always in sight they weren't appreciated and cared for in the same way.  Even though Montessori materials were "closed"and "open"at certain time they weren't special because they were always there.  The kids walked by them so much and ignored them, they became common place.  If I put together a new tray, everyone knew it and had either tried it already or at least seen it before the next work period.  The wondering and amazement of a special space was lost.

Over fall break last week, I started talking to Tim about if there was a way to rearrange the kids to create such a space here.  Putting 3 kids (Logan is still in our room) in 1 bedroom when there were 2 available probably doesn't seem logical to most people, but one of the main floor bedrooms is actually large enough for 2 sets of bunk beds.  We figured maybe we could rearrange a little, use closet spaces better, and come up with a dedicated space.

Above:  1,000 chain is to the left of the work table there, behind the door.  New easel from IKEA- chalkboard underneath & whiteboard on backside.  I figured out by happy accident that our work rugs fit perfectly underneath the bookshelf.

Below:  Elementary math materials and geography maps in lower section of cabinet, art supplies above.  Those puzzles are still looking for a new home and I am adding language materials to the counter area.  You can see I forgot to take down Aidan's artwork before moving his bed!

Below:  Rocky the gecko, his crickets, Kylee's beta fish, and many of the early childhood materials.  We got the metal display line and clips from IKEA as well.  I don't really intend to leave that geometry chart up there, I just wanted to try it out!

I'm obviously still working on organizing and things, but so far we are all pleased with it!  I'm also thrilled with the closets.  Before we had all our extra materials in the basement which made finding things kind of a pain.  Now everything is in the closet in this room so it is close by.

In the spirit of using spaces well, we were also able to put all of the games on the other side of the closet.  Believe it or not ALL of these games used to be just on that top section in a hallway closet that Logan had access too.  They were, needless to say, always a mess!

So the real question is not How does it look?, but rather How does it work?

So far, so good.  My only real concern is that there isn't a floor workspace.  We have a low table for sitting on the floor, but not room for rugs.  Those still have to go in the living room, but otherwise it seems to be working.

Kylee's favorite thing to do is puzzles on the bigger table, although the easel is a close second.

Caleb was instantly drawn to the chalkboard.

Aidan likes having a Logan free zone to lay out his materials that isn't the kitchen table.

He also likes the nice quiet, comfy reading spot.

And Logan?  Well, Logan has been evicted.  This is officially a Logan free zone.  I still don't know where the top to the green knobless cylinder box is and if I have to pick up the sorting beans one more time I might have to wring my own neck!  There will come a time, but for now his work will stay in the living room and we will do big kid lessons in the school room during nap time!  He's not too keen on it, but he's learning.

Homeschooling is the ultimate lesson in making changes until you find what works.  For us, I now know that having dedicated space for school is very important to the kids even though it might not be as much of a priority for me.

I can work with that!


Angie said...

Interesting post. I am particularly struck by the line- "Homeschooling is the ultimate lesson in making changes until you find what works."
I am certainly learning this truth. One of these days I'm going to shoot you an email and ask for your perspective on our new 'homeschool dynamic'.
Thanks for the great post.

Heidi said...

Email me anytime Angie! Although my thoughts will probably be along the same lines. If it's working then it's good :)

Angie said...

Well some of it's not working. ;-)

Angie said...

Well some of it's not working. ;-)

Heidi said...

Well in that case I would be happy to help you brainstorm and encourage you in any way that I can :)

Kylie said...

oh I couldn't agree more. The number of times we have changed things up here too!
I am just waiting on a lock to be put on our room before I start to really make it special again.
I simply can't leave things out either, all for the reasons you mentioned :-)

Discovering Montessori said...

Nice post! I like the way you set everything up. I still lose things that I put away so I won't lose them:) Thank you for sharing.