When people have asked me where we homeschool within the home, there isn't just one room or location that I can describe. Rather, there are many based on the subject/activity that the girls are working on; and the level of noise and distraction they are able to handle.
With that being said, there are some key spots that are used for homeschooling. For example, the top shelf of bookshelf below has the majority of resources that I need for the upcoming school year.
What it doesn't have is two binders of schedules and plans since those items are too big for that shelf. (One binder has 2 months of weekly plans and the other binder has the remaining 28 weeks.) It also doesn't have the supplemental books that I check out of the library based on the subjects being studied.
The bottom shelf is Sophia's books and binders for the subjects she is studying this year. The far 3 binders on the right side belong to Olivia.
Both shelves have the books, binders, and other resources alphabetically grouped by subject area to make it easier to find what we need. I'm going to create dividers between each of the subject areas.
Bookshelf with my resources on the top shelf and
Sophia's books and binders on the lower shelf
Olivia prefers a wooden box to hold her school work. She use to have one of the shelves, but likes having her work contained in an area.
On the left-hand side are fun things for her to do - like coloring books and puzzle books.
In the middle are hands-on manipulatives, markers, games, and CDs (e.g., multiplication, grammar, and geography songs).
On the right hand side are the binders, books, and folders for each of the subjects she is studying. They also are arranged alphabetically by subject matter.
Olivia's box that has her school books,
binders, and learning tools.
The bookshelf and box are upstairs in the master bedroom. It is one of the largest rooms in the home, has windows on all sides so it is filled with natural light.
There is a bird feeder by one of the windows, so we see a variety of birds throughout the day.
(Taken on June 1, 2008.)
In addition, there is a pine tree and apple tree are in the backyard and we can watch at our eye level the birds who are in the higher branches of the trees.
This is a relaxing and comfortable place to read, listen to music, and watch any DVDs that correspond to what we are studying.
Sophia with four of the five cats.
(Taken March 4, 2011.)
When Olivia needs a quiet place to focus on her work, she often will go to her room and sit on her bed.
Another area where Olivia likes to learn.
If she's having a challenging day,
she will unfold all the quilts and blankets
(she has six folded up at the end of her bed and by her pillow)
and lay under them to calm herself.
Note: this in addition to the comforter and other blankets
already on her bed.
Olivias desk and bookshelves.
Although her desk is now cleaned off,
she rarely sits there and does school work.
Part of Sophia's room.
When the girls were younger, they had a corner "dramatic play" area that was sectioned off with movable walls. In one wall, there was a little window, and the other wall had a door. The two pieces of wood were hinged together and sat up at an angle. In this way, they had a little indoor playhouse.
As they got older and taller, the door became too low for them. So, I took that out and left some of the items - like the little wooden refrigerator, stove, highchair, dollhouse, and antique bed. (The bed was one of my play toys when I was growing up.)
Wooden play toys that the girls still will play with at times.
The bins on top of the refrigerator hold
hand-embroidered felt food that I made for the girls.
Downstairs, on the first level of the home, there is a family room. In it is a glass table that Olivia uses for puzzles. There always is a puzzle on the table that she is working on. She's up to 550 pieces now (she's 9 1/2 years old).
The ball was originally used for her OT and PT therapy sessions in the home when she was younger. Now, she uses the ball as a chair. This is a great way to help address her sensory issues.
Olivia's puzzle table with
a ball that she uses as a chair.
Below is the cupboard that holds games, hand-held musical instruments, puzzles, and work that the girls have completed. It is in the family room.
The bookcase that holds a variety of games,
puzzles, and past school work.
Next to the bookcase, there are two bins and a small shelf. These hold card games, markers, colored pencils, and some science items. In the spring, the girls will be doing work with a microscope, so it will be placed here. There are already some slides ready for them to use.
The top bin has a variety of card games and
the lower bin has small seeds that
can be scooped and placed in a variety of 3D shapes
(e.g., cube, sphere, pyramid).
The white shelf has markers, colored pencils, and science items.
The 12-section bookshelf has a variety of supplies and activities. I have not had a chance yet to go through the shelves and see if all the items are necessary or needed for this year.
Shelf with supplies (e.g., crayons, scrap paper) as well as
learning activities. There also are music CDs and stories on CD.
The girls both play the piano, so that is another learning area in the home.
Shadow (the cat) likes to sit and listen to
whoever is playing the piano.
There's another bookshelf that the girls will use. It has books that they have already read as well as an encyclopedia set. They will sit on the big pillow while they look for and/or at books.
Shelf with books the girls have read and
want to read or look at again.
When the girls are doing "messier" art projects or activities, we often will use the wooden table in the dining room.
Olivia making a homemade book.
(Taken on September 28, 2007.)
We also use the living room if there's something interesting/educational to watch on television. This is not a frequently-used method of education. Both girls are hands-on learners, so this isn't the best way for them to learn.
The girls watching President Obama
on his inauguration day.
(Taken on January 19, 2009.)
What I haven't shown are my work and supply areas - one closet that is filled with craft supplies and another filled with books. I also have a bookshelf in my office (at home) that has cookbooks on one shelf, books on two shelves, and files on two other shelves. My office also has three file cabinets with files that I have used and/or plan to use with homeschooling.
Perhaps our favorite room that we homeschool in is the kitchen. During the upcoming year, trying new recipes and building upon the girls' cooking skills is a central component to three different components of homeschooling:
- Five in a Row (Olivia makes 2-3 recipes per week that tie into a book that I read to her).
- U.S. Geography (part of the Cantering the Country curriculum in which we make 2-3 recipes for each state that we study)
- Eastern Hemisphere (Sophia will be making recipes for each country that she studies. Some, like China that is a 6-week study will have many recipes [she has picked out over 30 recipes to try], while others like Korea which is studied for only a week will have only a few recipes)
Olivia making pita bread as part of
her Five in a Row studies.
This was the favorite thing she made
during the 2011-2012 school year.
(Taken on March 25, 2012.)
Between the different areas in the home; the outdoor areas including the yard, pastures, and nature trail; and places we visit on field trips...there isn't just one place that the girls call their school room. Rather, their surroundings - whether they be at home or away from home - truly make up their school.