Homeschoolers LOVE to see how and where other homeschoolers do school. We want details. EXACTLY where do your children sit (or lie!)
Where do you keep school books, what about other books, how about things for the toddlers to do while the older ones are on school tasks, how long do you do school, what time of day, and the list goes on. Am I right, moms? (everyone nods their head “Yes!”) There are as many ways and places to do school, as there are homeschool mamas who think about it.
Over here, we have the world map, the number chart, another white board (I have somehow just accumulated these whiteboards over the years), my $5 garage sale chair and my $10 pawn shop CD player. Don’t you just love a great deal?
We have had three different houses since starting to homeschool 8 years ago and I have tried to create a wonderful environment for the ‘Davis’ school in at least 3-4 different locations per house. The basement, the kitchen, the office, the dining room, the living room, a bedroom, etc…… I might paint the room, hang things on the wall, move things around to fit this purpose. Then…..frustration would ensue. For some new reason, this plan was not going to work. And we would try something different.
And in this corner we have the bookshelf (good grief, what a mess!) This used to be in Matthew’s office, but when he moved his office home almost 2 months ago, I got to have it for the schoolroom. (Hey, this was actually my bookcase before we got married. It’s nice to have it back.) The upper shelves are mine and the children each have a shelf for their things. Notice the mess is in the lower half!
And that is my desk on the right. I have to tell you, that belonged to my great-grandfather, a country doctor in eastern Oklahoma. Dr. John Starr Allison. It sat in a garage for 50 years. 14 years ago, when we got married, I asked my Dad if I could refinish it. I kept it for a while and then one year gave it back to my Dad for his doctor’s office on Father’s Day. After he died in 2005, I got it back. It is very special.
Here is a little different view. That couch belonged to my grandparents and sat in their living room the entire time I knew them (25 years or so.) I had it recovered at the beginning of our marriage and it fits perfectly in this little nook. Funny thing is, you would not believe how heavy that little couch is. I guess they don’t make things like they used to.
In the middle of this schoolroom we have just the rug with nothing on it. The dining room table, which you saw part of in the first picture, is pushed up against the wall.
After many attempts, I have finally found the answer. That is, the answer FOR US! It won’t necessarily be the answer for you. Having the aged children we do (11, 8, 6, and 3) I’ve realized the schoolroom MUST, without a doubt, be next to the kitchen. In earshot of the kitchen. Because, inevitably, while we are doing school, someone needs to go to the kitchen OR I might ask someone to go to the kitchen for a variety of reasons.
But if I can’t hear what is happening in there, or maybe I have forgotten that someone is in there – God forbid a 6 or 3 year old!! – a disaster can so easily be peeking it’s devilish little head around the corner. Maybe a spilled gallon of milk, maybe a box of cereal all over the floor, maybe a 3 year old climbing up on the cabinet, maybe dishtowels strung all over the floor. You get the picture.
Or maybe my 11 or 8 year old girls are preparing something for lunch or dinner or a snack. I need to be able to talk to them in the next room if they have questions, while doing something else in the schoolroom. This wears me out just to say it, but my goal is, as often as possible, kill 2 birds with one stone. So…..it’s back to the theory of Efficiency = Freedom. As soon as we are done with the daily tasks, chores, etc – we can do lots of other fun things. Yeah!
And here is our front hall closet that, of course, does not house coats. We have actually never had a front hall coat closet because at all 3 houses we have lived in, I’ve changed it to a school/toy/storage shelf closet. Much more useful. I’m sure you think it looks empty. That’s because I just cleaned it out and really, this is all they need for the school room. They do have some other toys in their rooms. I promise I’m not a mean mommy!
Now. The other very important element of deciding on this particular room is that I had to get out of my mind that it was “supposed” to be the dining room. Well, who said? The architect? The people who used to live here? (That would be my parents : ) Societal norms? As usual, I think I will just buck the system. We eat all our meals in another room anyway.
Normally, this formal dining room would be used for times that we had lots of company, but even for those of us who like to have lots of people over for dinner, how often is that? And do I dedicate a whole room to that? And forget about what we might need on a daily basis? Honestly, before children, I loved having dinner parties with lots of people. Now, though I still enjoy it, we usually make it much more casual. This was a formal dining room, that back in the day, was important. But here and now, it just ain’t so. Someday, it might transform back.
Here is a picture of this same room when my parents lived here. From left to right is my mom, youngest sis, her hubby, bro’s ex, bro, nephew, my dad, my other sis’s hubby. It was very elegant and beautiful, much more so than it is now. Oh well. We do what we gotta do.
I do love having a paradigm shift. It’s hard at first and we want to fight it, but after we surrender to it, the feeling of freedom is addicting. Let’s see. What else can I change? (Uh oh, better not let hubby hear that. Shifting furniture around in a room can be very distressing to him, but he is getting used to it. I just tell him how boring his life would be without me : )
I look at it and think “I have GOT to throw all of this out now!”
Then I think, “But my poor children. They need this to be creative.”
Then I think, “But I will be screaming at someone if it gets on something and I hate it’s not my favorite to scream.”
Then I think “Oh come on, Allison, can’t you control yourself from screaming? If you can’t, you really need to work on that.”
So I just leave the paint there, until the next time that I open the cabinet and go through this rigamarole (sp?) once again.
In another post I will go over what kind of curriculum we are doing (that is, the formal stuff – cause ‘life is school,’ right!) and our basic schedule. But as my friends and I joke, the schedule is very likely to change from day to day or week to week.