Tour Our Schoolrooms
Welcome to our schoolroom tour. They’re not terribly fancy, they’re not super huge or super cute, but they’re functional and neat and they make it possible for us to keep the rest of the house neat as well. Neither one of us enjoys cluttered homes with science experiments and posters and drying paper mache lining every surface. We’re kind of neat freaks so the real purpose of having a school room is to corral the clutter. Though we’ll be the first to admit that there are times when the clutter gets away from us.
This is the room where we actually do most of our schooling. It lives a multiple life as our dining room, craft spot, family gathering place, reading room, game room and entertaining room for friends. It’s part of the kitchen, which is across a big peninsula counter to the left in this photo.
The kitchen table was one of our first purchases as a newly married couple. The chalkboard was made from a piece of thin board from a home improvement place, a bit of sanding, and several coats of chalkboard paint.
I use the chalkboard every day, multiple times a day, during our schooling. One of the lessons I’ve learned from classroom teachers is the value of copying for children. We use worksheets, but more and more we’ve gone to blank sheets of paper and the kids copying and writing their own information. We also use the chalkboard for writing up our grammar lessons, spelling words, and bits of memory work.
On the other side of the table is a big beautiful set of shelves, another early purchase in our marriage. This room was a long time in the making. Some of the books on that shelf are educational, but most are just plain good reading. The only things I collect are books and children.
The “School Room”
Besides the room where we actually do school we have a room we euphemistically call the school room. It is adjacent to the dining room, but not being the home of the fireplace it is cold all winter which is a full six months of the year in North Idaho so in spite of intentions to the contrary we don’t do much studying there though we do use the room incessantly, because it is the home of our computers.
We have eight people, each with a personal computer, internet connected, and a desk upon which to set it. I know it may seem obsessive. It kind of is. But we love it. We’re a computer family. I work on the computer lots running this web site, writing the Layers of Learning curriculum, doing volunteer work, and planning school. My husband and two sons also are doing full time online schooling. No one else needs 24-7 access, but you wouldn’t believe the problems it prevents having a device and desk for each person.
All those upper cabinets hold school supplies, especially art and science, and office supplies like reams and reams of printer paper, envelopes, ink, etc. The lower desk drawers are full of Layers of Learning files, household files, pens, tape, glue, the hole puncher and assorted detritus.
These two desks belong to the two oldest boys, one graduated and one on the verge. They keep their school books, laptops, and supplies inside the desks. The basket on top of the black chest is clear full of crayons and markers. The chest itself holds our microscopes, some other science supplies, assorted paper from card stock to graph paper to construction paper, the math toys bin, and in the bottom drawer our “random stuff”. I have always kept a place where we store toilet paper rolls, empty spools, food packaging, brown grocery sacks, and empty bottles for craft or school projects. It used to be in a bin in the basement storage, but the bottom drawer of this cabinet is huge and perfect for the job.
This is where the four younger boys have their desks, constructed by my husband from lumber from the home improvement store. When we redid this room a couple of years ago we decided everything would be this light wood tone, creamy white, or black, all easy to find classic colors. The stools at the desks are an old dining set we had with far too spindly backs that broke off one by one in the hands of six rambunctious boys. We ceded to fate, removed the remaining backs, and painted them all black to be used as stools. Having no backs means they take up less space and can be completely slid under the desks.
As much as possible everything in this room is nailed to a wall. Most of the monitors are mounted, the pencil boxes, also constructed by hubby, are nailed to the walls, the desks are firmly attached. It helps keep things neater. Though I have still not won the battle of the cords.
This is one of my favorite things, sturdy pencil boxes nailed to the walls and headphone hangers next to every desk.
Above the desks is a sturdy wood shelf that holds the four school boxes when they are not in use.
Each child has his own box filled with all of his binders, workbooks, and textbooks that he needs for school. We pull these out to the dining table every morning and the kids put them back after school is done.
This book shelf holds all of the books I actually use for school on a regular basis and my school basket, which has a file for each week of the year with all the printables we’ll be using that week and my school plan binder.
All the most used craft and art supplies are on these narrow little shelves and in the buckets beneath them. Above we have a small bulletin board for school projects that don’t fit in binders.
The little buckets were $1 each at WalMart (I had to spray paint them black) and the hooks they hang from were hand forged by my big boys.
Like at Michelle’s place, our school room is a place to store our things. We migrate here there and everywhere, but home base is the school room. It’s in our basement. We each have desks in there, and there is also a table with chairs in the center that the kids sit at for a group project or if I’m up at the white board teaching a lesson. One whole wall is bookshelves, and another wall houses our big whiteboard, posters and pictures about things we’re learning, and our ABC’s up high on the wall. There’s also a closet on one side that holds our washer and dryer, a filing cabinet, and shelves for more storage.
I like to organize my supplies in a really open style in the schoolroom. I want the kids to be able to easily see and grab what they need, and just as easily be able to put everything back in place. I store many of my art supplies in glass mason jars, have a paper tray and shelf with all our writer’s workshop supplies, and put useful things near their desks -like a bulletin board to hang their best work and little writer’s workshop pockets on the wall so they can keep track of where they’re at in the writer’s process. The white drawer set under the desk houses most of our science supplies. The little shoebox bins on the bottom shelf hold beanbags, lacing games, math toys, our rock collection, flashcards, and other learning-type toys.
As you can see, we also have music lessons in the living room, art projects and science experiments at the kitchen table, and lots of studying in our comfy family room with the fireplace, recliners, and giant pillows (our computers live on our giant desk in the family room too, and the bigger the kids get, the more we use them in school). My kids can be found reading in every room in the house, and if the weather cooperates, it’s a rare day when at least some of our lessons don’t travel outside.
Books can be found in nearly every room in our house, but I’m not one of those homeschoolers who has stuff everywhere all over the house. You’ll never find word strips on my kitchen cupboards or science supplies in my kitchen drawers. Everything has a place, and that place is the school room!