Wednesday, August 14, 2013

{Not} Back-to-School Blog Hop ~ The School{room}

Just looking at other's schoolrooms linked up in iHomeschool Network's "{Not} Back-to-School Blog Hop got me motivated to get up with my bum knee and get our area reorganized and ready to go. Good thing, cause we started school today!

In Oklahoma, we had a large room upstairs that was empty and perfect for a schoolroom. The problem? We hated doing school there. It was not inspiring and it kept us feeling "trapped". I thought we would need a classroom environment to function well. Boy was I a newbie! It wasn't until we moved everything downstairs to the couch, coffee table, and kitchen did we realize how diverse our learning could be!

When we moved to Missouri last year, we more than halved our living space. And even though there was a room that we could have designated as a schoolroom, we decided against it and just stuck to what we knew worked for us.

I like to call it Dining Room School.

Our dining room is in the center of our house, with lots of windows and easy access to everything. Each morning I bring out the whiteboard, get our supply buckets on the table, and put out our clipboards and pencils. Each of us has our "spot".

My spot contains my planner, my computer, the stick jar, and supplies I might need. The kids' spots allow them to easily see the whiteboard and have plenty of room to work.

Everything we need is within arm's reach. Here is our main shelf.

This shelf was my mom and dad's back in the 70's and I just love it. It holds (from top to bottom):
  • Our basket of math manipulatives and the basket where I toss in their completed papers each day (I keep the papers there and when it gets full I go through and pull out samples for our portfolio and put the rest in recycling).
  • Old planners and resources I might need to review in a pinch, Scouting materials, Co-op books, printer paper.
  • All of our texts for our daily lessons, extra notebooks and journals, our Bible.
  • The printer and all of our clipboards. (Our dining table has a tile top and is rough, so the kids use clipboards to do their work.)
Next to the shelf is my desk. It's basically a place for me to pile things. But, it is an antique teacher's desk that my mom gave me, and I think it's cool. I keep basic supplies in the drawer like pencils, pens, staplers and staples, a 3-hole punch, dry erase markers and white board eraser, paper clips, etc. Under the desk is a basket that holds chargers, headphones, etc., and a market basket where we place our library books after we read them.

Each of the kids have three clips where they hang their work. Under Eli's is the gumball machine. This year I am going to reward them with pennies for gum. Above Brynne's will be the pencil sharpener. Our pencil sharpener was in the basement when we moved here. It's red and matches our decor so we are moving it upstairs for easy access.

Our library books are kept here, in this basket in the Sitting Room.

Since we are doing US Geography this year, we moved our world map into our schooling area. Next to it is an antique school desk that the kids use for handwriting. On the seat are games we like to play, such as "Words with Friends" (spelling and word formation), "Yahtzee" (math), and a U.S. geography board game.

On the other side of the dining room is my grandma's antique sewing machine and table. I don't sew (wish I did) but the table is cool and is a perfect spot to hold our daily supplies. On top of it are markers, scissors, glue, crayons, colored pencils, etc. We move them to the dining room table when we start school. We just grab the wire basket and go.

Behind this door are all of our miscellaneous supplies and crafting items. I would show you the inside of it, but ... yeah right! The right side of the closet has floor to ceiling shelves which are perfect to store all our stuff. I have things in clear buckets with labels. We also store our whiteboard in here each evening so it's not in the way.

This little shelf in our back entryway off the kitchen holds some of our other books ... nature, art, and curricula we are not currently using. On the bottom shelf I have some recyclable items for craft projects or experiments.

And this is pretty much it. We do venture into the living room to read on the couch or do worksheets on the coffee table. And, we pile up in the Sitting Room to read. During personal reading time you will find us scattered all over ... on my bed, on their beds, even in the bathroom.

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour. Check back next week to see our First Day of School photos!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


  1. You have an excellent set up for school. Hope your knee is healing.

  2. Wonderful space and your dining room table is just beautiful. And I LOVE the penny and gum ball idea. Genius. I need to get one of those. That would sure motivate my 5 year old. lol

    1. Thanks, Stefanie! I even added a second twist to the gumball reward. I have all of the kids' subjects written on craft sticks and they take turns pulling one out of the jar to see which subject we will do next (this keeps us from having bad attitudes when they know a subject they dislike is next). One of the sticks says "gumball". When it is drawn, no matter when during the day, I assess if each student has had a good attitude and done hard work up to that point. If so, he/she (hopefully both) gets a penny for the gumball machine. They LOVE this!!

  3. I love your space. So nice to find others who do school at the kitchen table. Love your book basket!


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