Okay, so we all know school days are rapidly approaching and man, oh man I gravitate to the back to school aisle like a fly to fresh poo. I can’t help it. Index cards and Sharpie markers get me excited! I’ve been nesting like I’m expecting to give birth to a fully formed Kindergartner some time in the next two weeks. I’ve bought pack after pack of crayons and dry erase markers even though I probably have enough already hoarded for the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse for several years.
My kids and husband tease me daily about my scissor obsession. I have 4 pair in the kid art supply box, two pair on my desk and about 10 pair in the drawer in the kitchen. (and probably about 30 prodigal pairs throughout the house) Yet each year at back to school time, I’ll buy a bunch more. I counted my current stash of brand new, unopened scissors in my school cabinet. 13 pair. Yep, you read that right. You never know what you’ll need 13 new pairs of scissors for. Better safe than sorry I always say.
Are you nosy?
All this preparation and getting ready for a new school year got me thinking. I wonder what everyone else’s school cabinet looks like. Heck ,I wonder what everyone else’s “school” looks like. I’m super nosy and I love a good intrusion into people’s private lives just as much as the next guy. House hunting was like heaven for me. But that’s another story. It got me to wonderin’ if anyone else would be interested in seeing what a “homeschool” looks like. (or just cyber stalking on blogs)
Then I thought hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to do a little photo essay of what our “classroom” looks like? Then I began to frantically clean ad rearrange. I had a new hoard of school supplies to somehow integrate into my already crowded cabinets and if I was going to post pictures of my humble abode online for the world to see, these photos needed to show how awesomely
disorganized and crazy organized and clean we are around here. Then I had a moment of clarity. My cabinets and school areas are only organized and clean for about one week in August after I’ve maniacally torn through the house and sanitized everything to be ready for school to start. Then they’re just messy and may or may not have fur balls or dirty underwear stashed in the corners.
So, in the interest of full disclosure and honesty, I decided to take pictures of the cabinets and areas exactly as they looked when we deserted them in early May. What good am I if I make my house look all Ikea and Kate Gosselin when it’s not? And really, do homeschool Moms need another blog showcasing beautiful schoolrooms the size of my entire house complete with antique desks for each of the children, a bathroom and a fully stocked art center? (and children dressed to the nines in Gap by 7am?) I’m gonna keep it real, people.
Below you’ll see the before and after of my school areas with a little description of what the area is and what we do there.
This is where all the action really takes place in our house. I pretty much never leave this room. It’s where we eat, change our clothes and do most of our schoolwork. Sometimes people bathe and brush their teeth here – it all depends on how things are going. Old fashioned, giant tables are my favorite. When we first got this table, I would freak out every time someone wrote on it or got it dirty. Now, I just go with it. It has painted hand prints, sharpie marks and imprints from handwriting assignments in the grain. It has become it’s own little scrapbook and I love it.
If you’re wondering why we have a couch in our kitchen, I have no good answer for that. We got new ones in the living room and needed to do something with the old one. We moved it as far as the kitchen and just left it there. Turns out having a couch in your kitchen works really well. If you invite old people to dinner, they can eat there and it’s more comfortable. Reading books, practicing times tables and taking a nap also work well on the kitchen couch.
This is the “school counter” and it’s really a catch all for everything. Mostly, we keep our library books, calendar, math manipulatives, pencils, paper and games that we use daily. You may also find any number of underwear, socks, clean or dirty laundry, dog or human toys or dishes here.
Here is my old microwave cart which I geniously transformed into a book and supply cart. It has all our books and curriculum supplies that we use daily. It also has our Math-U-See blocks and art supplies. (crayons, markers, glue, colored pencils and a bunch of scissors) You can also see art projects, drawings and certificates hanging on a little clothesline behind the cart. We ran out of room on the fridge for this sort of thing, so we improvised.
I’m one who likes to use every square inch of everything. The older my kids have gotten, the more learning “stuff” we need hanging around. I ran out of room everywhere else, so I thought using my really long and dark hallway as a map and timeline area seemed logical. Whenever we’re doing history or geography, we run to our hallway to mark places or times. It’s great.
All of our kids are
forced encouraged to start playing piano around 7-8 years old. (they love it secretly) I believe it’s a useful skill and it helps them with math and reading as well as music. Our piano is plunked all of our waking hours. Someone is always playing it. It’s usually a good thing. I am a hoarder of books and have shelves full. I also stash my expensive toys and manipulatives here. Most of the stuff I just throw to the wolves, but the nice, wooden learning toys and games get put up here and only handed out at special times.
Another bookshelf. He who dies with the most books is the winner, I always say. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I showed up with another of these bookshelves for him to assemble recently. There are three more, but I won’t bore you with pictures of those.
This cabinet is my nemesis. My kids dig in it when I’m not looking and I generally shove things in here daily. I’ll organize it thoroughly and then a week later it’s a disaster. My 13 pair of new scissors is in here somewhere.
This is another random corner where I have shoved in a small cabinet or shelf to put school stuff in. There are many of these areas all over our house. If you haven’t caught on yet, our whole house is our classroom. In fact, for homeschoolers, the whole world opens up and becomes a classroom. You can learn anywhere. I know because I’ve read a book to my kids while using the bathroom. Don’t judge me.
I’ll have to do a separate post on my beloved board. I started using him about 3 years ago and it has been a beautiful relationship. The board and I conspire in the early mornings and decide what my children need to accomplish that day. He’s right in everyone’s face in the kitchen and you can’t miss him with his wisdom and instructions. We also have a lovely dry-erase calendar and typed daily schedules and checklists, but Mr. Board is the most important. Our homeschool would not be able to function without him. My girls sneak to him first thing in the morning in hopes that he’s either been thrown away or forgot to write any chores on himself over night.
Now for the “after” pictures
Now the pictures after I frantically clean and organize the week before school starts. I’m ready for school. Bring it on.