Each year, I feel a bit more committed to home schooling my children. Four years in, yes, I think I should feel quite committed! I wish I could have started out with this much gusto way back when, but I’m trying not to dwell on that. ;) You live and learn. This year, with the deepening commitment/motivation/excitement I’m feeling, we made a big plunge with our school space. If you may remember, it was our dining room. It looked 90% like a formal dining room and 10% like a school room. But we used it 90% as a school room and 10% as a formal dining room. True, we used it every night to eat dinner around, but that was for about 20 minutes a day. The vast majority of the rest of the time, it was our school space.
As hard as it was for me to strip the room of the carefully selected dining room decor, I did it, and I’m really happy about it. Even those plates you see above the door way are now gone. It FEELS like a school room now. A space dedicated to our school-time. Lots of home-school families do without a space dedicated to this, and I know that is totally doable. But I no longer saw a reason to not totally utilize this space for what we most often used it for.
One issue I was having was how everything was stacked in the drawers of a dining hutch. That was rather difficult to sort through for our curriculum and books. So we set forth making the best use of the space by taking out some decorative things and building some bookshelves. Matt and I pretty much followed THESE plans, though we added the extra shelf and the pretty decorative top so it fit better with the look of the room. And, I have to tell you, I wish I would have measured the actual opening with the front trim piece in place so make sure everything being stored here slid in and out easily. Anyway! Most of our books, curriculums, manipulative, binders, and teaching resources are here for easy-peasy access. I appreciate that a lot.
Each boy has his own shelf cubby and all of the cubby boxes and magazine holders were purchased at Target and on Target.com.
With the routine of school and this simple life we have, our days can often run one right into the other. So I thought it would be nice to have a dry-erase calendar where I can keep the boys up-to-date on the fun things that we have coming up like field-trips, playdates and out-ot-town trips. I purchased this calendar from Target, took the frame off of it, and had Matt make me a new one. ;) Then spray-painted it black to match the board on the other side of the window ….
… over here. This one I purchased from Michaels and kept it as was. I plan on writing the subjects we are working on that day on this one. Similar to the calendar, my boys (and I) like to see what’s coming up. We’ll see what else this little white board gets used for since the big one will still be mostly for the actual ‘teaching’.
Again, manipulatives, and also fun things for Kaden to be entertained with, are stored in these boxes. In this process of reorganizing this space, I didn’t want to add storage space just so I can have more stuff to store. I went through all of our ‘stuff’ and narrowed our collection down to what is the most useful. Less is more = Still true.
Also, I added a garbage can.
Of course kept the globe …
… and some pretty touches.
This corner used to house my big hutch/display cabinet for antiques. That found a new home in our guest bedroom, where pretty much all the rest of our dining room decor ended up as well!
Now, it is a cozy little reading corner (utilizing my newborn posing beanbag!). I saw this awesome map during a Pinterest search of school spaces and thankfully the mama on the blog shared where she got it. Barnes and Noble … and thankfully, they had some when I swung in there to check. I love the antiqued look … it just fits the space so well. I really didn’t want to go with bright, primary colors in this room and the map jives with that perfectly. Matt made me a frame for it, which I painted the same way as the white board … prime, paint, sand/distress. :) The cork board is from Michaels, the pillow is from Fred Meyer, and the basket/table/yellow stool I had.
My ‘idea’ is that quiet reading will happen here while I may be working with one of the boys with a lesson and the other is waiting. We’ll see! It has already gotten a lot of use, so hopefully they stick with loving it!
Along with changes to the decor, I’m super excited about the new curriculums we’re adding to our schedule this year. These are just a few, plus Hand-writing Without Tears (and their typing curriculum) and Reading Comprehension …
A bit of the room stayed the same, though cleaned up and sorted out …
Now these drawers hold arts and crafts supplies, extra paper, floor puzzles, learning games, Kaden’s activities, etc. The magazine holders have coloring books, water-color books, and activity books (like mazes, word-searches, crossword puzzles).
My goal was to make the space more efficient and focus it onto our school-time. I wanted everything to be easy access and uncluttered. And …. okay …. I wanted it to look cute. I spend a lot of time in this room, friends!
I felt weird about no longer having a ‘dining room’ for when company comes over, but Matt reminded me that everyone we have over for dinner knows that we home-school and wouldn’t judge us for feeding them amongst school-projects and a map of the world. And he said he would much rather eat in a ‘school’ room than have the boys have school in a ‘dining’ room. So we went for it, and I’m itchin’ to put this room to daily use! It has already become my favorite space in our house.
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