Monday, February 16, 2015

Real Life Homeschool

This year we have finally gotten into a good, sustainable routine with homeschooling. We don't spend a bunch of time sitting still and cranking out worksheets, but I do sit and work with my two oldest boys for awhile each day.

We have curriculum from My Father's World that I love and we'll come back to, but since most of December was spent unexpectedly at the grandparent's, I bought these mega books at Walmart and we've been working on them ever since. There's no rule you can't switch curriculum mid-year, right?

But what I really wanted to chat about today is where we work. Let's say it just evolved this way. If you recall, we have this adorable classroom/playroom.

As cute as it is, it wasn't meeting our needs. The other kids (including some that I babysit) need somewhere to play and make messes and it was hugely distracting to me to try to do school while that was going on. I also like to get up and do stuff while my pupil is working. Start lunch, write lists, check on stuff... All of which was in the kitchen.

Gradually I started having the boys work on a project at our little table in the kitchen and it just clicked. We have a little more space at the table, there's more room for those NOT studying to play, I can wash dishes or start the next meal, or whatever I need to do.

At first I was a little frustrated that I had this big classroom that we never use, but it is used, just not for school. It's great for all the supplies and for its other purposes-my sewing room, the boys' toys and books, and lots and lots of free play.

I bought two or three of these metal buttons at the dollar spot at Target last fall, and a couple the fall before. I moved out our school/art supplies where I could supervise them (in the kitchen) and ended up storing them on this lazy susan my father-in-law made.

It's perfect for glue and pencils and scissors and markers--and they came with the chalkboard labels! Adorable!

I keep some of our most-used workbooks and supplies like paper in a napkin holder, actually. You can see them and the lazy susan hard at work below.

 So where do they go when we're not using them? On top of the fridge!

No, it's not beautiful and perfect, but it's just what we need right now, so I'm going with it!

I didn't move the calendar and things out to the kitchen for several months. I just didn't want my kitchen to scream HOMESCHOOL, but school has gone better since I did move them. The boys see and talk about the calendar before breakfast. We have holidays and field trips to look forward to, and they've all learned how to properly say the date.

I find it handy that things are magnetic because it's on the side of the fridge right next to our table. Perfect solution!

Behind our bill-paying station is my command central. I'd love to have more storage for things like this, but this works for now. I have my babysitting schedule, doctor reminders and important numbers pinned to the inside of the cabinet door. On the shelves are things we sometimes need on the table for meals (peanut butter, salt shaker, trivets) and everything else non-cooking related, from essential oils to candles to UNO to cookbooks and lunch boxes. The stack of workbooks in the middle is where the others currently on the table are put away when it's meal time. (Finished work and so many more supplies and resources are kept in files in the closet in the playroom. That is a nice thing to have!)

So there you go! Now you know how we're making homeschool work with busy schedules and small spaces. I don't know if we'll always homeschool in the kitchen, but it's working now.

How do you homeschool? Or if your kids go to school, where do they do homework? Desks in their rooms? A homework station in your playroom? At the kitchen table?

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