It's Back to School time, or as us Homeschoolers like to call it, NOT Back to School time and the school room is a huge topic every where I look. On blogs, homeschool groups and boards, Twitter and Facebook, the classroom and it's organization are being discussed. It's interesting to see how everyone has their personal space organized.
Personally, we use our entire home for homeschooling. We do not have one set room for this but mostly use our main living spaces. Every day, I add in other areas since storage is limited in our home.
We have a normal home with a Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, Laundry Room, three Bedrooms and three Bathrooms. A few years ago, I decided to move our dining table out of our Dining Room and into the back of our rather large Living Room. This allowed me to open a full room for storage.
I quickly turned our Dining Room into a personal pantry and library for our home. We bought tall bookshelves from Walmart and lined both side walls with them. These bookshelves house a lot of our food, our homeschooling library, crafts, projects and games for homeschooling.
This room is also home to our large chest freezer which I plan to cover with chalkboard contact paper for extra writing space. Since it's large it also makes a great magnet board for my children to use their Leap Frog word learning systems. The area in front of the freezer has to stay cleared so that I can get to our stored food, so this allows the kids easy access for it.
We have a small children's table in our Dining Room right now so that the kids can color, play games and store projects out of the way. The walls that aren't covered with bookcases hold colorful posters, mostly for the younger kids. Our file cabinet is also in this room which gives me a ton of extra storage and additionally works as another magnet area.
We use our Living Room/New Dining room for the majority of our schoolwork. Our kitchen table is in this room. We lay around on the couches and watch movies on our large screen tv, discussing topics we are working on. Our DVD/Video collection is stored on an old gas station snack rack near the TV so everything is together. The baby toys are also in the corner of this room so that he can play while we work on school things during the day.
One thing I love is that I can attach my laptop to our TV and use it as a projector for lessons. It attaches through an HDMI cable and works as a second screen for lessons that we cannot view on DVD, Netflix, YouTube or some other resource. We use it to view websites like the History Channel online, Discovery Streaming and many, many other sites for learning. The kids really enjoy that too and they can see it well from our dining table when we need to sit at it for certain lessons.
Our dining table, as you've probably guessed, doubles as a place to eat and a place to work. It's currently a round table which allows everyone to see one another and allows me to work with the kids from any angle. I'd really like to replace this table but for now it works!
The walls around the table are surrounded by homeschooling posters and reminders for every day learning. Our computer desk is on one wall. It's a sturdy piece I purchased for $15 at a local thrift store. It holds our two old desktop computers for online lessons and fun school extras. This desk also allows a little storage for desk items. Underneath, I placed a cube shelf with bins for extra storage. I'm still determining what to put in them but I'm thinking class things we don't need daily.
Beside the desk sits a cabinet with our very large LaserJet Printer. I love my printer. The thing has paid for itself. Ink costs a lot less than our old standard printer. It's probably the best investment I've made for our homeschool, next to bookshelves and curriculum. The little cabinet underneath holds one of the desktop towers and the drawers hold extra cords and such for our electronics.
On the back wall of our classroom is our dry erase board. I put this up using 3M Velcro strips so I can move it around as need. I have a set of these strips in the Library room (old Dining Room) so that I can move it in there if we are doing schoolwork. I could also stick some on the front of the large freezer and stick it on there if I wanted but haven't done that at this time. I love our Dry Erase board. Got it at Sam's Club, a while back. It's dry erase on one side and bulletin board on the other but I rarely use that side.
We have a little table on the same wall as the dry erase board that holds our Crab's home. We have a small aquarium they live in and the kids really enjoy having them as pets. It's been interesting for us all.
The last corner of our Living Room is a space underneath and next to our bar. I have the baby's toy box tucked under it storing some of his and Laycie's toys. Behind it sits a tall table and stool for Emmalee's art area. Since this is a little higher, it keeps the smaller kids out of things. Underneath it, I have shelves that allow for storage of Emma's stuff. She is organizationally challenged, like her Momma, so we work hard to keep this area straight.
We have other areas we use in our home for school too. The kids rooms are one. They have their own TV's with Netflix so they can view personal videos for their lessons as needed. I often use my room as a time out for my high energy 5 year old, where I allow her to watch videos interesting to her or read books on my bed while I'm working with her older brother and sister on lessons. The classroom also works well for this.
Other things they do in their rooms are read, build with Legos, interactive play, and dress up. I use their rooms for imaginative play. They also have to get along while in their room which helps build socialization skills.
I use the doors of my bedroom to store flash cards, extra craft things, etc storing them in over the door shoe holders. I plan to add some of these to the kids rooms so they can store stuffed animals or various other small things. They help a lot for storage in our small home.
My personal desk is in our kitchen. I have a cube storage organizer underneath a small table in there. I like to keep my laptop, pens, and my personal items at this table. I also keep my review items here so they don't get lost in the main parts of the house.
We also like to do school outside and last year we added a rather large back porch on the house. This is going to be a great area to let the little kids play when it's too hot or too wet outside. We've already put hopscotch mats and other fun things out there for play. This area is going to be great for watching nature, doing lessons and reading in the future. I'm working on finding just the right furniture for it so that we can use it best for us!
That's our Homeschool. School doesn't have to be done in one room. It's meant to be done everywhere and your home can easily organize around it without having a classroom. Homeschooling is more of a life style, then anything. Make the space you have work for you!
I am adding this post to the 5th annual NOT Back To School Blog Hop from the iHomeschool Network!