Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tour Our Homeschool Room! 2014-2015

We did it! We officially have our first two days of school under our belt. The first day was pretty much a breeze... Daddy was home and it was Homeschool Day at the Iowa State Fair, so FIELD TRIP!!! We had such a great time seeing all the animals and learning about agriculture in our great state. They've done a fantastic job of making exhibits hands-on so there are literally new and different learning opportunities around every corner. Such fun! Our second day was more low-key and "ordinary" as we schooled at home. We tested out a lot of our new curriculum, and I (still) think it's going to be a great year.

The last couple weeks have been a flurry of paper, books, and pencils as I have organized and re-organized our homeschool materials... maybe twenty times. I think I've got everything just about how I want it, so now I can finally get around to sharing our homeschool space with you!

Come on in, please take your shoes off at the door...

Our back door opens up into our dining room, which extends into our homeschool room. Here's what you see as you walk in:

Not a huge space, but it is SO nice to have! I love that it is connected to our dining area (because we used the dining table a LOT last year), and it's literally 5 steps away from the kitchen and living room. (We don't have a large house by many people's standards, and I like it that way! Less to clean = happy mommy.)

I'll take you around the room clockwise, because I'm American and that's how we do things. :)
The first thing you'll see is our chalkboard cabinets and puzzle/game storage. The cabinets we purchased years ago and are just white kitchen cabinets from IKEA (which, if you don't already know, is my favorite place in the world... I could live there, and practically do, as you can tell by my home furnishings!) I painted the door fronts with chalkboard paint & have always loved using them. Now that we're homeschooling, they have a specialized purpose! Below the cabinets is our old TV storage unit (BESTA from IKEA, I believe... See? You're noticing the trend already.) The tube TV we have bowed the top shelf, but it works great for our puzzles and games. It also houses a basket for library books. Above the cabinets I keep my own notebooks & lesson planner, magazine files that store magazines for art collages, homeschool catalogs, and various curriculum and workbooks that we don't use regularly (i.e. past NaturExplorer units & kids' cookbooks).

Inside the cabinets...
On the bottom shelf (L): my daughter's personal notebooks, a 3-hole punch, our cans of pencils, scissors, and dry-erase markers, boxes of markers and crayons, do-a-dot style markers. Middle shelf (L): dry-erase boards and games, a box of basic co-op supplies. Top shelf (L): my kids' VTech games and handhelds, VTech laptop, and Hot Dots cards & pens.
On the bottom shelf (R): library books for assigned reading or read-alouds pertaining to topics we're currently studying, books on DVD set (these are GREAT!!), a letter tray with construction paper and workbooks. Middle shelf (R): box of flashcards, Spanish sticker set, reading & spelling games. Top shelf: math games and manipulatives, jars of magnetic letters.

Next to the cabinets is kind of my "hub" for now. It has a metal rolling cart where I store manipulatives,  calendar time supplies, workbox supplies, pocket chart items, our collection of rocks, and a basket of prizes. There is a drop-leaf table from IKEA which I adore (NEW this year for us!) that will eventually serve as our homeschool table so that I am not having to constantly clear off our dining table, but right now it houses our computer and printer since our office is without internet access. (Great planning on our part, huh?) Behind that is our Circle Time board, and to the right is our calendar and workboxes.

Yes, I sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. I put it out to use while pregnant, but have left it there because I've come to prefer it! And the kids like to play with it, too. :)

Close up of my rolling supply cart.

Below our Circle Time board is a large pocket chart that I hope to use some day... Right now it is pretty much blocked off because of the computer/printer set-up. Ah, well.

Our workboxes! More on these later.
Keep roaming about the room and you'll see two small desks under the window. We were gifted these by my best friend. Her grandfather built them years ago for her two children, but they've long outgrown them (her oldest is in our youth group now!) We're so happy to give them a home and know they will get used well. Our kids love them!

In the corner of our room is the only bookcase in our space. *GASP!* How can a homeschooler only have ONE bookcase?! Well, naturally, like most other homeschoolers we do not stay stationary in our learning. We're all over the house, outside in nature, in the van, etc. So are our books! Well, they're not outside, but you'll find books in every single room of our house... and probably the van. These are just mostly curriculum-related books and such, my laminator & laminating sheets, large construction paper, plus our CD player & some CD's. The bottom two shelves are more toddler-friendly and are home to a small assortment of picture books, some coloring books and crayons, magnetic & large dry-erase boards, and a box of busy bags.
Next to that is a hamper full of games (more adult-friendly). A craft paper roll, fine-motor monkey, and play-doh station sit atop the hamper.

Not seen in this picture, but possibly worth mentioning are the large curtained windows along this side of the room. Our brute of a black lab broke through not one, but TWO of these windows since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. We have replaced some of the glass, but they were still leaking air badly. As new windows are not in our budget, we have redneck-fixed them with insulation and wood plinth. It's not beautiful, but it's doing an efficient job for now. The plan is to buy a large piece of hardboard (or shower board) to place over it. Then we will have a massive white board to use as well!
Below the "mended" windows, is a comfy chair for reading or relaxing and these two IKEA LACK side tables. We've had them for ages too, and they keep getting shuffled around the house. This is where they've landed for now and just serve as extra table space. Underneath are two wooden boxes with toys for toddler (& big kid) play.

We've made it full circle around the room now! Just above as you look into our dining room, you'll see this curtain wire from IKEA. It's where we proudly display things we've been working on. Right now, there are still art and co-op projects from last year up there. We look forward to filling it up with this year's work!

There are a few other storage solutions I'd like to share with you, but I am thinking of doing a video update as I am able to change a few things through the year so I will just include those then! Tune in regularly so you don't miss it!

Thanks for checking out our space! I hope it was useful or at least fun for you. :) To sneak a peek into other homeschoolers' homes for inspiration or encouragement, go on over to the "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop at iHomeschool Network!

How about you? Do you have a homeschool room or do you prefer to spread out all over? What are some of your favorite tools and spaces for learning? Please share in the comments below!


  1. Bethany, how fun! I've just now found some time to sit down and read your posts and since today is classroom clean up and redecorating day, I thought I'd start here! I love your space, so cute! Those little desks are soo sweet! I wish my kids were still small enough to use those type of desks. I love them! One thing, I love your workboxes. I definitely want to know more about them. I'd love to know how you use them. Thanks for sharing your space!

    1. Thanks, Diana! I think I'm going to do a post soon about the workboxes. This is our second? year using them, and I'm pretty much in love. I've gleaned a lot from other bloggers and around the internet, and then I've been tweaking it to make them work for us.They really help me stay organized and on task (and Jenna too!) Can't wait to share more!