I made a big leap of faith (to me at least!) to homeschool my boys, at least for this year. I reserve the right to re-evaluate as needed. There. It’s stated for the record.
I began doing light preschool with my oldest last school year at the dining room table. I made up the curriculum as I went focusing on letter recognition/letter sounds and numbers/counting. I bought a couple packs of flash cards off Amazon and called it good enough. (letters, numbers, shapes/colors)
The year went great. He could recognize most of the alphabet and state their sounds by the end of the year. Not too shabby for a three year old, right?
Then summer hit, and I thought I should beef up my curriculum. Make our school more official. Based on the referral of my sister-in-law, I purchased All About Reading Level 1 and Saxon 1. As I began to look through the teacher’s manuals, I realized our little dining room table set-up was not going to cut it anymore.
Slight sidebar: ANY set-up for homeschooling can work! If your funds or space are limited, your child’s education doesn’t need to be. I am a big believer in use-what-you-have, so please don’t read this and walk away thinking you need a dedicated room in order to homeschool. You don’t.
Back to the dining room table, I didn’t think the set-up would be ideal for us. I wanted our youngest to participate, and there just wasn’t room for a whiteboard and all the supplies for the lessons in our dining room.
I decided to turn our playroom in the basement into the schoolroom. Convenient that the boys are in the same room now, eh? We had a big ole switcher-oo with the bedrooms and their functions this fall. Judah’s bed went into Jackson’s room. The toys all came up from the basement and Jackson’s room to their new home in the playroom. Leaving an empty room for me to create into our schoolroom!
Here she is!
The comfy, wide slipper chair that used to be in our living room, now has a home in the corner of the schoolroom. I like to move around as we do school. I think it helps keep the kids engaged and get the wiggles out as we go through the day. We begin our school in this chair doing our Bible lesson. Then we move either to the table, the floor, or in front of the whiteboard for the other portions of our curriculum.
On the wall next to the chair, I hung these sweet wood racks with each boy’s name on it. They were a gift last year to the boys, and I’m so glad I found a place to use them!
The hangers are very sturdy, made of solid wood. I used 3M velcro picture hanging strips to hold these on the wall. I can see in the future a little body trying to hang on these and I (1) don’t want to rip a hole in the wall and (2) don’t want the wooden dowels to get broken off. My hope is that the whole piece would come off the wall without damaging the item or the wall. Hmm, it might squish some little toes though. I didn’t think of that one! This is the best plan I’ve got so far. Suggestions?
I bought $1 metal buckets from Target to hold various school supplies: crayons, pencils, erasers, and post-it notes. (Target website is saying $4, but I know I didn’t pay that. Maybe I got them on sale or at the dollar spot.)
Above the boy’s supplies is a clock and calendar. Did you know a big part of the curriculum of an elementary school program is learning the day of the week, date, seasons, and weather? I didn’t, but I do now! We use this calendar every day when talking about what day it is. I found this cute printable here. There are so many cute free calendars out there. It’s the pennant shape that got me. So cute!
Next, our table and chairs where we do coloring, writing, and playing games. The table is an IKEA Lack side table that a friend was getting rid of. I love free stuff! The chairs are Eames style child-size chair. I bought them in a two pack from Amazon. The chairs are a little tall for the table so Dan is in the process of building us a longer, slightly taller school table. (Spoiler: It’s built and beautiful! I’m working on the finish coat now. Hope to show it soon!)
There’s a little nook in the corner of the room that is just the right size for a file cabinet. It holds all of our school supplies, and our abacus. What schoolroom doesn’t need an abacus, right? I don’t know how to use it yet, but I plan to learn and teach it to my kids. We’re homeschooling and can do what we want! Nerd alert!
The primary reason I didn’t want to keep doing school at the dining room table was the use of a whiteboard. The All About Reading program uses alphabet letter magnetic tiles and a dry erase board. I really wanted to use this tool so I needed to choose a school space that had enough open wall for a 3’x2′ whiteboard.
We also have a number poster and progress chart for our reading program on that wall.
That conclude the tour of our bright, colorful school room. We do preschool three days a week, and I love having a dedicated space that has room for all the tools I use to teach.
Any homeschoolers out there? Do you use a dedicated school space or just wherever you land? Anyone know how to use an abacus? Teach me!
Loving your blog! I have debated trying to blog but have no experience at all. We are homeschooling too!! I’m trying to decide on curriculum for Lydia for kindergarten next year. I currently make our curriculum and it is primarily play based. But next year we will do school everyday 😬. We are dining room table ladies but have our calendar elsewhere.
Thanks! I have had a blog for years but never tried to make it anything until now. I have very little experience
Thanks! I have had a blog for years but never tried to make it anything until now. I have very little experience too! Let me know what curriculum you decide on. I’m always interested in what people choose.
This is so nice, Emily! Love that you’re continuing the homeschool into the next generation (at least, for now!)–a year at a time, a year at a time. 🙂 We use All About Spelling, but I haven’t used All About Reading before. Teach Your Child…in 100 Easy Lessons worked well for #1 and then I used that as well as the IEW Reading program for #2, who has been far more focused on k’nex and lego than reading. He’s finally showing more interest at age 7.5yo. #3 will teach herself…right? Right!?
LOVE the abacus. I highly recommend it over the other “manipulatives” that are out there. The abacus will never make a huge mess and base ten is already there, etc. We have one that has 5 yellow and 5 blue beads on each row and I always recommend it to others.
What is the IEW Reading program?
And yes, #3 will just pick it up from her brothers! Maybe they will even teach her themselves! Ha!
Here is a link: http://iew.com/shop/products/primary-arts-language-reading-complete-package
We love the Phonetic Farm!
I really enjoy listening to the IEW podcast, too. I was listening to one each time I walked the dog before winter foisted itself upon us.