September 4, 2012

Our Homeschool Spaces


I've been dreaming of my someday schoolroom since before my kids were school aged.  It was going to have walls lined with beautiful books and a great big harvest table with benches on both sides.  I knew that there would need to be a big comfy chair for story time and a colourful rug to play on.

What I wanted for our schoolroom was a house!  Well, we don't have a school room, but we do have a house!

Most of our book work happens at our kitchen table.  Yesterday I hung my old mirror-turned-chalkboard on the pantry door as a place to write down the date, or our memory verse, or maybe to keep a countdown to Christmas once December arrives. I think I like it there more than I ever did on the mantle!



Last year we housed all of the school supplies on shelves in the kitchen, but now that space is used for the twins high chairs. I wasn't keen on adding another bookshelf to our living room, so I cleaned out most of my craft closet and made space for the homeschool supplies in there.





The kids gather around a chair in the living room with their storytime pillows and I read to them from their history book or a favourite story.   This year we are beginning to use The Mystery of History series, which I am really excited about.  It weaves biblical history and world history together seamlessly, telling the story of our world and our redemption at the same time. 


Last year I read of how Ann Voskamp's family lights a candle as they do school and I was touched by the ceremony of the matter.  I think our casual modern lives can so easily lack a certain sense of ceremony and tradition in the small everyday things.So this year we light a candle.  Not on the table, because there are a lot of little hands reaching and passing and playing, but on the stove instead.


I've posted a portion of Proverbs 16 on my window above the sink where I will see it a billion times a day. So often I need to be reminded it that it is not frustrated scoldings that will guide and teach my children's hearts, but gentle and loving instruction.  Sweetness of the lips increases learning.


Although curriculum and books are tools we enjoy as a family, I am leaning more and more towards exploring our whole world as a school room.  I want to raise kids who ask questions and create things with their hands and stand in wonder at the world God has made.  And I'm realizing that I don't need a schoolroom for any of those things.



 



Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking. 

31 comments:

  1. I love this post! After many years of homeschooling I have done much of the same reorganizing and repurposing to make "school" fit into our home without taking over. We do something similar to your pillow idea--my kids use their old baby blankets for "blanket time". I love the scripture and the candle idea. We often light a candle because it smells good, but I love the idea of lighting it to start the school day!

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  2. The chalkboard on the pantry door looks really nice! :)
    I'm just constantly amazed at how much you accomplish each day.
    I know, you've shared that you don't do it all, but still.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ieva

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  3. Love this! Could you share (sometime) your favorite homeschool toys/books/games? The look on your little man's face looking at the frog is just too cute! Thanks for sharing!
    -Sandy

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  4. loving the blog as always!
    just wondered if you think you will home school for the kids high school education?

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    1. Yes, I think we're in it for the long haul! (Although we reserve the right to change our minds...haha!)

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  5. Beautiful! I know I don't comment much but I sure do love your blog.

    Bobi
    http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

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  6. I greatly appreciate your blog. I've just recently been going through your "31 Days to an Organized Home". I'm camped out on the Laundry Room project. I absolutely LOVE your simplicity, beauty & organization when it comes to homemaking. The candle lighting is a great idea. Thank you for blessing us with your talent and gifts. :) I'm presently homeschooling my 1st grader & Kindergartener. My 3 year old daughter participates in whatever she finds interesting while my 2 year old naps. I look forward to more of your posts.

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  7. Love the basket that houses all your art/writing supplies...need to find me one of those.

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  8. Shelftrack Elite, for sure! I'd love for all of my closets to look like that :)

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    1. Hi Robbin! I had to Google "Shelftrack Elite" to know what you're talking about. I just have cheap shelf brackets from the hardware store, second hand shelves from the Restore, and a cubby style bookshelf I bought at Giant Tiger last year and crammed in the bottom of the closet! :)

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  9. I love...I mean LOVE the way newly sharpened pencils look!

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  10. I really like the verse you have above your sink. I'll need to remember that for myself. Today was a very trying day between me and my 4-year old! Our personalities clash when things get heated. Phew!

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  11. I love how organized you are (and a bit jealous I have to admit)! I'm also happy to see you haven't eliminated the story floor pillows with all of your "Year of Less" craziness! (I only say crazy because I honestly don't think I could do that!) And even though you have never claimed to be perfect, I really don't know how you can do SO much with such a big family. We have five children ourselves, but school was always a Godsend for me. I often thought it would be so much fun, and then realisation would hit and I'd back off...WAY OFF! So, hats off to you for taking on so much, and with so much joy and peace! I love your posts, they are great. In fact, I've started making a rag quilt. Can't wait to finish it. You inspire, so much that I'm even going to check out your new blog more often to see what changes I can make to live a simpler life. PS What on earth do the twins keep busy with while you're teaching the others?

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    1. hi Rachel! The twins still have a morning nap,so I've timed things so that they nap for most of the time we are doing book work. I have no idea how we'll make it all work once the twins grow out of their morning nap! But I'm sure we'll manage...somehow :)

      Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad to hear you're making a rag quilt. Enjoy!

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  12. Oh my goodness, that picture of your son's expression at the frog... so beyond cute!

    I'm taking the plunge to homeschool and trying to get myself organized right now, so this was helpful, as always.

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  13. Thanks for this! I am starting my oldest this week homeschooling (half-time, but still). One of my disappointments/fears was the space issue...we don't have a schoolroom either, and I am bummed about it. I have some plans for the 'back half' of our living room, but I can see that if it never comes to fruition, it will be okay! I like the sounds of that history curriculum.

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  14. I love this post! We homeschool too, and we don't have a formal homeschool space. In fact, our homeschool looks a lot like yours -- lots of work at the kitchen table, reading on the couch, sometimes we spread out on the kitchen floor or living room floor. We also use Mystery of History, and my 2nd grade daughter loves the timeline more than anything else we do. I love to see how you've organized your space! It looks like a very comfortable, functional space, the perfect combination of family & school life.

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  15. Hey! Gotta be honest, I skimmed your post yesterday and saw "God" a few times, rolled my eyes and didn't read it. But the reason I subscribe to your blog is for the home ideas, not the religious stuff, so I just read it now. So glad I did. I love the photo of your little guy with the frog haha. Also read about your craft closet cleanout and I totally hear you on that! hanging over my head is an understatement. I also had to chuckle seeing a picture with those damn ikea baskets with the toys in them. I have those too, been dragging them around for a decade now. I hate them! But once I buy a basket, I never get rid of it, why oh why! I find they're never big enough to hold anything substantial, but maybe i'll try some items I see in your blog. On a down-note, I'm way more confused by your mystery of history mention. Kind of seems like hijacking science with fantastic stories to confuse kids out of believing in evolution, but I will read more about it in a second. Just seems like a suspicious title! Thanks for your blog, it keeps me interested in all things home, family, and well, religious peeps.

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    1. Ha! I love your honesty. I'm not Kelly, but if I may....I was always a good student, with the exception being History. I stuggled to place random events in a timeline in my mind. There was no fluidity, or continuity between random (seemingly to me) memorization. Then I took an African History class in college and I loved it. The difference was that it used Literature rather than a classic textbook. Having real world context and stories greatly increased my ability to synthesize the parts into a meaningful whole, that I could remember and understand.

      Whether or not you believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, it is still an amazing History book!

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    2. Yes, I like what Catherine had to say. History, for some of us, is easier when presented as a fluid story. And, from our families point of view, since we believe the bible to be true and the events to be historical, it just makes sense to us that biblical history and world history would be presented intertwined with one another....because, according to our belief, they are intertwined!

      Also, I can totally relate to your comment about those IKEA baskets being almost too small to be useful. They've been floating around my house for ages....I bought them because they are so cute, but never really found a good use for them until now!

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  16. Oh, I love the pic of your son and the frog. Priceless!

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  17. In the 5th picture - where'd you get that great paper holder/organizer???

    Our son will be starting pre-school next fall and your blog has been very helpful and I've gotten some great ideas of things to do with him! THANK YOU!!

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    1. Hi Jessie! It's a puzzle organizer that was given to us by a former school teacher (it was full of old board puzzles when she gave it to us.) It was brown...I painted it teal!

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  18. Hi Kelly, I just recently started following your blog and really enjoy it! I loved the verse over your sink, I don't homeschool (my kids are still too young for school) but I could definitely use that reminder myself lately. I have been trying to start a from home business and have been a little distracted and probably a little short with the kids when they present with a bad mood. I need to remember that patients will make things go much smoother! Although I'm not teaching them ciriculum, it would definitely still apply to the attitude, manners, and values I am trying to teach. Thanks for the reminder!

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  19. Stubled upon your blog today...LOVE. All I can say. I love you, I love your family, I love your home, & I love love love your philosophy! Jesus Rocks! I have spent All day going thru every post, thank your for your inspiration. Love you girl!

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  20. Love this site! What beautiful pictures and family you have. Thank you for sharing your tips.

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  21. Another nice post!

    I learned when my kids were little that they tune out yelling or raised voices, but they REALLY listen when we whisper. Tried it out on a LOT of daycare and Sunday School classes, and it works every time. I would just calmly say (sometimes in a whisper, sometimes in a very quiet voice) "If you can hear me, raise your hand," over and over until before long every little trusting eye was on me, hands were raised and silence had been achieved. It's a great system! I think it's important to remember that their little hearts trust us, and need us to be gentle. I learned this a little too late for my children I'm afraid, but the most painful lessons usually stick best.

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  22. I know that this is an old post, but I keep coming back to it!!! I love it so much!!! Your little boy and the frog are so adorable, (well, all of your children are, but that is just perfect!) and I love that he's only in a tshirt which is how my children want to run around most of the time!! Pants or shorts are an undesired clothing item in this house!!! lol Can't wait to start "officially" homeschooling mine!!! <3

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  23. I just stumbled across your blog and I love it!!! We homeschool as well and I've been perusing your archives and want to say thank you for what you've written! It's been a great encouragement! Also - 2 observations - 1. cute tattoo and 2. I love that your toddler son also runs around outside in his diaper :) My son is 2 and really only wears clothes to the store and church! :) Blessings and I can't wait to read more!

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  24. Great job! Your spaces look a lot like ours. We don't have a ton of space, but we make it work.

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