I am so late in posting this, but I’ve been admittedly preoccupied with starting school tomorrow. I’d been so busy detailing every ounce of the now high schooler’s curriculum and plans until I had an eye-opening experience today sitting with my son. As we began to talk through his planner and plans/ goals for this year, a couple of things occurred to me. First, he needed the level of detail that I had poured into the high schooler’s work, and I’d failed to give it to him. Even when I looked at the daily schedule I posted in the sidebard, I realized that I’d completely left out his history. The other revelation was a bit more startling: he doesn’t have enough to do. Don’t get me wrong; he has quite a load, and I don’t want his day jam-packed with school, but I know that he’ll dance around the house and distract the oldest unless I can keep him busy to a certain extent. Leaving him to "masterly inactivity" doesn’t always result in projects that don’t detract from someone else’s time and personal space. UUUGGGGHHHHH! Well, we’re starting, ready or not, and that includes Mom.
The Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop (see here) featured classrooms this week. As I said, the day to post was yesterday, so I’m late, but I thought pictures of our school would be a fun post and a keepsake for me personally. So, here goes. I listed the word "schools" in the title as a plural deliberately because the kids have literally split themselves into two areas of the house.
A bit of background about the house is necessary to really appreciate our school environment. We bought it pre-homeschooling, and so, in my opinion, it is not homeschool-friendly. Yet, it had the one thing I wanted after leaving a home with two small children and one living room/ family room combo: space. God blessed us with a humongous kitchen. This is our dining area within the kitchen, and it’s where our 6-year-old completes her school work. There are plastic bins against the walls where we’ve not bought the cabinets that will prayerfully one day grace this area. Our maps are mingled in with the room decor as I strive to balance function and fashion. I wrote some time ago about this room pre-paint. It was new house white, and over the years it drained me to sit in it. Now, with a fresh coat of paint, it’s a welcome spot for me to move about in, and it’s the room where I spend the most time. So I selfishly work to keep it pretty as well as functional.
So, as I said, if we’d bought the home after we began homeschooling, we’d probably have looked for something different. But, there are some purchases that made the transition easier. One was this neat table with built-in storage. I get a kick out of opening this when people come and ask us about homeschool. They’re always amazed at how many resources we have stored away.
Another treasure for us has been a slow, but steady establishment of learning corners. In this same kitchen is our early learning center, which is obviously evolving as our "early learner" evolves. What you can’t see in the pictures is a Dora kitchen center that is in this same area, our remnants from the science kits that we’ve purchased over the years, and this little crate, full of puzzles, books, and blocks. When the youngest was smaller, these helped keep her occupied while the older two worked at this same table. Now, the crate is an occasional, purposeful trip away from books and more formal academic learning.
Middle and High School
Our older two decided a couple of years ago that they enjoyed school in the dining room better, I think in large part because the chairs were more comfortable than the wooden chairs in the kitchen. The only problem is that this is the first area people see when they walk into the home, and it never looks this good. Normally, there is some combination of work everywhere waiting to be corrected, books that are opened, and/ or crumbs from the latest snack. I feel bad when the little bit of unexpected company we might get makes a comment like, "Oh, it’s great to meet somebody that keeps a home like I do." They’re not talking as if they want to eat off the floors. Oh, well. It’s one of a number of sacrifices in order to give the kids an unbelievable educational experience; I’m okay with being perceived by relative strangers as one who can’t keep a house.
Below is the view from the other end of the table. If you notice above, the Peterson’s Field Guide sits on the table closest to the window. Though it’s hard to see past the solar screens, outside the window is a bird feeder. One of our greatest joys has been to try and identify the birds that come our way. Though 75% of our visitors are some form of sparrow, every now and then we get a rare visitor, and I never mind stopping to find out who he might be.
Off to the right is the desktop computer and a stereo that is the foundation of a budding music center. I love to play "urban gospel," whatever that is, in the morning as the kids are preparing to come downstairs, and then classical during composer study. The oldest doesn’t like music while she’s working, so I have to become creative in what I play, when I play it, and for how long.
Well, this is where we change history. I hope others will share their homeschool environment. I may not link into the Hop; last week, over 100+ people posted a link, and it quickly got overwhelming for me. At any rate, I know the next few days will fly by, and I wanted to get this posted on tonight before bed. Too much later and I will have successfully jeapordized my ability to get up fresh and ready to meet the day. Goodnight, and God bless.