Ah yes, the school room! After you’ve poured over all the curriculum choices, the bookkeeping methods and determined whether or not you’re going to buy the large box of plain yellow pencils or the smaller, less frugal but definitely more fun package of Disney Character pencils… you’ll need a place to actually, you know, um.. DO.. school.
Our school room looks amazingly like our dining room. In the beginning it was a corner nook in a large dining room (different house), then a desk/table in the living room, then half of Little Prince’s bedroom, and now we’re back to the dining room again. We go with the flow, we do what works! Speaking of,… there may or may not be a new school room in the near future.. more on that in a minute. (I need you to stick around so you can give me your advice!) Anywho…
Last year was our first full year at the table and it really worked well. Often things were done in the living room on the couch, or in their bedroom on the bed. Again, you know, what works. Last year our large dining room wall was big and white and dingy and badly in need of a new coat of paint so I more than happily covered it in a large world map and plenty of posters and a large construction paper letter “sign” with our school name. It was very school-ish and cute, in a cluttered and fun, did-I-mention-this-wall-NEEDED-to-be-covered sort of way.
As far as DOING school at the table, well.. the first twenty minutes or so were a little crazy. I’d sit all three kids down, even the 2/3 yr old and we’d begin with writing a proverb from the bible. Well, the 3 yr old just colored and pretended to write and read and do school until he got bored. After he went off to play in his room things got considerably less crazy (since he wasn’t being distracting or taking their papers) – which is one of the reasons we started with easy stuff like handwriting. After Little Prince ran off to play, I’d have to relay back and forth between helping Drama Queen and Princess until D.Q. was finished with her k/1st grade work. She’s at a very time intensive stage, learning how to read, having most of the phonetic sounds down but struggling with recall, putting it all together and mostly THE CARE TO TRY. Finally, after she we had dredged our way through her lessons, the younger two would lay down for a movie in the other room and I could focus with Princess on the harder stuff – which is for her, MATH. It was a little crazy, but come on, with three kids, at this age, I would expect nothing less. And it did work. So we kept on.
THIS YEAR.. however.. I have repainted that wall a very nice shade of red. And there is currently.. NOTHING.. on it.
I’ve given this much thought, and I’ve come to the following decision. I’m going to hang a large cork board securely to the wall (once I finally pick it up from a friend’s house!) and everything school-related will go inside of that and the rest of the wall will go unharmed and unmutilated. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I also need to acquire some kind of bookcase to better house our school books and materials because we’ve out grown the one we’re using. That will go in the corner of the dining room and then it will all be contained right there. My goal is “ALL NEAT AND TIDY AND TUCKED AWAY AND PRETTY.”
I know that makes me sound shallow and like I’m missing the point of homeschooling, but let me say this: I seriously am in need of some order around here and in the homeschooling department, too. I’m suffering from Order Deficiency.
Did I mention that I have three kids??
Now at this point, I have to interrupt myself and tell you about this *appearingly* (yes, I know that’s not a word) wonderful management system called the Workbox system. (There are at least a dozen good links that I can share for that and I WILL, but in another post or I’ll NEVER get this one wrapped up! In the meantime, google that phrase and start reading!) With the workbox system I. Just. Might. Be. Able. To. Achieve. Tidy!! I don’t have room to do it with the big racks and bins, but I can adapt it like others have done and use smaller boxes that will fit on the bookshelf. Oh, I can see it all in my mind’s eye!! Again, for another post. Moving on…
All that to say that I’m very excited and I really need to get a taller upright bookcase and put it in the corner of the dining room so I can set up our new system! Close your eyes and imagine it. A black bookcase, against a red wall, with a black and white damask paper lining the back of the bookcase above the shelves, and many tidy little decorative (not clear but decorated and pretty!) boxes all lined up in a row. And on the red wall a black bulletin board, paper-covered cork, with some cute and home made pushpins we are going to have to make ourselves.
Can’t you SEE it? It will be a school room AND it will be a lovely dining room. I. Can’t. Wait.
Now, I’m going to add the twist. The thing that I mentioned at the very beginning. Big Daddy has a one room office outside. Our landlord used it as school room when they lived here. When we moved in, Big Daddy took it for office, because we didn’t have Little Prince yet and thought we could put the girls beds in one room and make the other a school/playroom. And then Little Prince came along. And all last year Big Daddy kept saying that I should do school out THERE…except that it’s his office (and quite frankly half full of stuff that should be up in the attic) and also that I don’t WANT to be out there for 3-5 hours and with a toddler underfoot? Seriously. How is that going to help? Besides.. The BATHROOM is in HERE!
BUT.. now I’m reconsidering it. I’m going to be setting up a workbox system for Little Prince, too. And it will have things in it like coloring pages and maybe even playdough if I’m feeling brave. (He gets a little exuberant with it!) So while he still won’t take as long as his sisters might, I will have a system in place to occupy AND educate him for part of their school time. And he’ll be 4 soon. And GOD KNOWS that 4 is such a big step up from 3. Am I right??? So now I’m thinking.. Maybe I COULD set up a school room out there. Big Daddy can still have a corner for a desk. He’s not home while we school. We don’t school after work when he’s out there. And if there’s a desk and computer out there still, I can set Little Prince up with a movie and some headphones when he has gotten tired of his Workbox stuff. The only catch is that a friend is coming next week and will be sleeping out there for the next 6 weeks while he works a temp job out here. So I can’t have it at least until then. Until then, I haven’t decided. Should I stay or should I go?
Anybody else out there who has ever tried do school with multiple, young, children in a room apart from the house – HOW DID IT GO?? I’m all ears!!
In the meantime, I’m sticking with my previous plan because a.) we still have to do school before the friend is gone and b.) if I do move out to the office, the school room stuff will just move out there, too. And I’ll just find a large picture to hang on the dining room wall where the corkboard hung to cover the two holes in my paint. And all will be right and well and pretty in the dining room, one way or another. 😉
This post is happily submitted to the NOT Back to School Blog Hop!