Classroom or Kitchen? Where are we supposed to do all of this?

Like I’ve mentioned before, because homeschooling is so individual it is hard to generalize very much. But one thing that always came up for me in the very beginning (I am by no means a veteran, just in my 3rd year actually) was where we were supposed to DO all this learning? Did I need special labeled bins and cubbies like my son’s kindergarten classroom had? stations set up around the room? cute little desk with name tag and a flag in the corner for the Pledge of Allegiance every morning? That actually sounded really appealing! But a book I had read made it sound like when you start homeschooling you should just expect your house to look like the kids had thrown up all their schoolwork in every nook and cranny and corner (and table top and counter) in every room of your house! That sounded absolutely UNappealing to me. Some homeschool moms had set up little classrooms, some just had their kids do their schoolwork in their own bedrooms, and many, many, many (it seemed) just ended up doing the schoolwork in the kitchen. It really is the most comfortable room in the house. But the comfort level in my house goes way down REAL fast if the kitchen is a total mess made of pencils and paper and books that aren’t supposed to get breakfast and lunch on them and it’s already time for dinner! (what’s for dinner?!)

Last year, it was a hard year generally not for homeschool, we did do much of our school work in the kitchen. It was warmer and brighter. But I didn’t like lugging everything up and down the stairs all the time and we have this nice big room downstairs that is perfectly usable. So this year we have just stayed downstairs, with the exception of “afternoon school” which is Latin, Science, and History. Those are in the kitchen (science) and living room (soft couches for reading!)

THIS is what our “school room” looks like. I purposely didn’t move or clean up anything when I took these pictures so you could get an accurate look at how WE did it. And then you can look critically at our mess and decide how you would like to make YOUR mess (or neatly organized, labeled bins and cubbies. And I will envy you. 🙂 )

OK so your first look from the hallway is like this… and I would have turned on the light fixture for you if I could but we’re having technical difficulties (for 2 years!!) and I can’t. Projects, projects. You know how it goes.

DSC03101

Here is our toy cupboard – an old hand me down dresser whose doors have been ripped off by my children. I myself opted to take out the bottom drawers when I saw the bins on sale at Costco. Sorry, no labels on the bins. Anyway, here are ALL the toys.DSC03102

Posters of things the kids have made (Revolutionary war slogans “Little Strokes fell Great Oaks”, “I have not yet begun to fight!”, and “No taxation without representation,”) a hundred number chart I made that nobody looks at ever, and the alphabet all neatly and carefully hand drawn and cut out – but the kids actually DO look at that!DSC03103

We do have a flag! And we sometimes recite the Pledge! Points for us. Our overfull bulletin board is sporting a list of pronouns, prepositions, a preschool octopus and sheep craft, two poems I’m sure the kids have never read, The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, and a page I tore out of a magazine the talks about not keeping secrets (child abuse, stranger danger, stuff like that) and some paintings of Christ. Because (more points for us) ideally we start our school day with a prayer as well.DSC03105

This US map only gets ripped off the wall when the kids feel the need to repeatedly climb on and jump off the little couch. DSC03106

A weird feature of our house is the random ledge – but I use it for holding all the “school” books we are using for that week and the next (and sometimes next.) The kids can go ahead and read them anytime they want, but this way I know where they are when I want them. And it looks pinteresty. (you know, if I had a good camera and some props.) THIS map only gets ripped off the wall, well, every time you walk by it. The worst, best place to hang it I suppose. Easy access is a good/bad thing.DSC03107

The Craft Cabinet. Judge me all you want. I can handle it. DSC03108

The table where we sit in the morning for morning school (both of those little hard uncomfortable blue chairs are for me – one so the toddler has a place to sit too if he needs it) and then the once-upon-a-time-nice-hand-me-down office chairs are for the kids. DSC03109

My desk. I never, ever sit here. Can you tell? The other photo I wanted to put up of the desk from a different angle showing the mess on the floor was so bad that it wouldn’t even load onto the internet!DSC03110

Bookshelves. I would say we don’t own that many kids books, but my husband would disagree. The left shelf contains just about all our curriculum books (except at this exact moment our most used books are sitting on my chair) from the past 3 years. Then there are random things, paper, stamps, rocks in a box, puzzles. And the right shelf is full of books for the kids. Which even though they are always a mess and a lot of them are in the kids’ rooms, I don’t think they actually read them. Library books are way more fun!DSC03112

Ok I actually DID have my husband put in cute little cubbies in this little weird nook spot in our downstairs hallway. These were just hand-me-down shelving units that had been in a neighbor’s garage. we washed them, painted them, measured them, and stuck them in and screwed them to the wall. I had to PROMISE my husband they would no just become receptacles of junk. Yeah, well, we’re working on it. This is also where the kids keep their personal reading library books. Usually some of those empty cubbies are quite a bit more full.DSC03113

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