Friday, August 01, 2014

I have conquered one homeschool corner of my life. Literally. (Like, "literally" literally.)

If I'm not careful, this may feel like a home design blog, what with this being the second of two whole no-skills-required make-over posts so far. Somebody stop me!

Today's project is our homeschool area. It doubles as our breakfast area and our storing art supplies area. It also attracts crumbs and unsharpened pencils. It's well-rounded that way.

Before I started, it was a jumble of abandoned curriculum, dog-eared writing books, and squelched dreams. Also it was gross and dusty. The kind of dust with hair and bits of colored pencils in it, not the shiny "internet home stylist" dust you see on the other blogs.
WARNING: This is not a before picture. 
A shocking revelation: that pic above is not taken when the project was yet to begin, a perfectly chaotic "before". It was taken when the one tidied corner was all fabulously done. I think this is the problem with reading people's descriptions of how they live as presented to the internet: we curate. As humans, we can't help it: we prefer to carefully select everything others see about us.

So: try not to compare yourself to fake others. I don't have a 5 step plan on how to achieve this because I'm terrible about it myself. I can say it feels nice, though, to show you my messy pit of a dining room table instead of making myself feel fancy. I can tell you that much.

Speaking of fancy, here it is, exciting and new:

Our art teacher at camp had jars for her pencils and I liked the way they looked... 
I didn't know I'd be doing this project until I ran into those pencil-bins at IKEA. I was unprepared to fend them off, and I'm not even sorry. The little s-hooks on the left are perfect for all our memory-work cards. I can already hear myself ordering the boys to grab their cards and practice while I go change a diaper or drink a diet coke or something. The bins lift off the hanging bar and sit level on the table. Isaac in particular will like being in charge of getting those & putting them back. 

The beating heart of our future college applications.
In case an actual homeschooler is reading this, here is the driving philosophy behind my homeschool gear organization: I want it to be really easy for the boys to put their crap BACK where it goes. It may not look like much, but the square one down on the left is the most important one in this entire room, maybe this entire house. It has three cheap cardboard magazine organizers in it- one for each kid and an extra for my worksheets and stuff (dot to dots, letter tracing) to throw at them when I need a few extra minutes with somebody else. 

The boys grab their own books for whatever subject is next, and they can clear the table when they're done. As the school year went on last year, I was surprised to see the boys were pretty good at keeping things in their bins. They ONLY put their own workbooks, writing paper & worksheets in there and it means we (usually) don't have to worry about where the math book went... not a good situation when I'm trying to also make coffee and get the day off to a non-yelling start. 

The hat belonged to Jonathan's grandpa. The jar is full of discarded bee's nests.
The Boba Fett guy is our clock. He shoots me with a laser when we're late for swimming.
This year in our Classical Conversations homeschool group we're on Cycle 3 which means we'll be studying human anatomy, so the body puzzle guy and the brain model guy will get lots of play. We'll also break out our sliding glass door sticker map of the United States, adding the states as we memorize them. I store the supplemental material for each of the cycle years in a bin in the garage until their time comes. Rotating through what you have on display & in use is helpful in townhouse living but flat-out required in townhouse homeschooling.

In case you're curious, how about a quick ramble about how we homeschool? We do 3 to 4 hours of schooling with the boys. Since they're still pretty little (1st and 3rd grade), it's been easy to get our main subjects done in that time. Math, writing, reading, grammar, memory work, Bible, Art, and Science. They do swimming for PE and play instruments. We do all that from about 9-12:30, then get ready for swimming or music lessons. One day a week during the school year we go to our homeschool group.

In the afternoons, they have free play time. They often make up elaborate stories together involving Legos and stuffed animals. Pokemon cards are their newest passion. I like for them to be responsible for entertaining themselves and for them to have unscheduled down time on a regular basis. Lately I've even found them reading books in the wild. I've also found them bickering and manipulating one another, but that's just the cluttered side of the table right there.

Isaac showing Grandpa Mike how to play Pokemon.
Strangely enough, Isaac won every single game that weekend...
They don't watch TV much and almost never during the day. They are easily freaked out or influenced by the stuff they watch, so we limit them on content quite a bit. They do like movies and sometimes watch a show while I teach one night a week. I have a confession about the TV thing. Deep down, I know it would so easily take over our entire lives. Remember that one scene in Lord of the Rings where Cate Blanchette and her excellent hair explain that she can't have the ring or all the world will love her and despair? That could be my family, planted in front of the TV in love and despair as we turn into brainless piles of average goo. It would probably feel quite nice, but I just can't handle the guilt.

So that's our homeschool space, and an outline of our homeschool day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments, don't you?