Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Do You Do School? Room

I have mentioned before that I used to be an organized person. 

And then I had kids. 

Now, I am more of a dreamer.  If you are acquainted with a dreamer, then you can empathize with my poor husband.  I start sentences but never quite finish them or I will begin a new thought before I finish the first.  I have multiple projects, books, and water glasses going at once.  I go through fads and drag as many as I can with me.  I like to dream, daydream, imagine conversations that never happen, and make-believe stories while I people watch.  It is a maddening and delightful problem to have occur in your brain. 

Though I am lacking in organizational skills, I simply can’t function when there is a lot of chaos and clutter around me.

So our first few months of homeschooling were jarring, like when I first learned to drive a stick shift.  It caught me off guard because my degree is in education . . . I taught middle school, 4th grade, and kindergarten.  I had efficient classrooms back then.

After asking around, several moms told me that every kid needs a desk.  Why didn’t I think of that? 


You see, we were working at the dining room table (the same one I ate at when I was the age my bambinos are now).  In fact, we did school in our dining room.

It wasn’t working. 

I know that we are supposed to teach our children to share their toys and such, but sometimes too much sharing is just not good.

They needed their own workspace.  And I needed some forced organization.

Enter the IKEA blogging convention.


After my trip to IKEA, the Hubby lovingly built our school room with our purchases.  It has been a blessing, though it doesn’t look nearly so organized as the night we moved out of the dining room and transformed it into a school room. 


I have chosen to show you pictures of our school room in REAL LIFE.  I have not cleaned the place up.  This is how it normally looks.  One caveat . . . typically, I have a map of the United States and the World up . . . but for house showings, that just makes the room look a bit cluttered.


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As you can see, each boy has their own desk with clip on light.  Smiley just joined us a few weeks back.  He kept stealing my chair and eventually would work his way over to Sir Honey’s desk.  I was tired of fighting a good desire, and pulled out a small kid’s folding table for him that we typically use for parties.  He does have his own IKEA desk . . . but it is a little bit too big for him and remains in storage until we move. 

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On each desk, the boys have their OWN set of supplies:

  • crayons
  • pencils
  • tape
  • glue
  • markers
  • stapler
  • scissors

I found that by having their supplies easily accessible, they weren’t always asking for help opening a box. I am trying to teach them to maintain a clean and organized desk.  They are responsible for their things . . . for putting their tools back where they belong. 

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Additionally, the curriculum that pertains ONLY to them, is also stored on their desk in a magazine box (is that what you call them?). 

Worksheets and completed work are stored in binders specific to each child.  You can see Mr. Smackdown’s there on the far right. 


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This nifty piece of furniture has been my life saver . . . not really, but it makes it look like we are organized, when in reality, the mess is hidden in drawers, behind doors, and in boxes. 

Each of the boxes is labeled according to subject or content, such as:

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  • glitter
  • math manipulatives
  • flash cards
  • beads
  • stickers
  • ABC
  • art

Things that I especially don’t want little hands to find are in the drawers, like extra glue, push pins, tape, permanent markers, etc. 

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Five In A Row and Totally Tots books are housed separately from our other books.  I want these books to remain special . . . and nice. 

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I have construction paper easy to obtain, because I want to encourage them to make crafts unprompted. 

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Additionally, I have purchased newsprint paper for them to draw their hearts content out without breaking the bank!

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Mr. Smiley has his own tub of toys to play with during school hours.

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I struggle to maintain organization on this bookshelf.  It houses most of the items that I use for tot trays

Shelf 1:  Melissa and Doug items, Lite Bright, rock box, etc.

Shelf 2:  ping pong balls, alphabet letters, workbooks, basket of random trinkets

Shelf 3:  YWAM missionary biographies, extra curriculum to be used later in the year, teacher manuals, McGuffey Readers

Shelf 4:  music instruments, marble game

When we AREN’T selling our house, our Tot Tray section looks like this:


I try to have 9 trays made for the week. 

The reality is that we are selling our house, and I have had to use this shelving system for storage.  So, I only have three available shelves for Tot Trays.

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We keep the pencil sharpener on top and occasionally Neo rests there if we are listening to Pandora or there is something on the internet that I am using to teach.  


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The last component of our school room is the show-off area.  I think that it is important to allow the boys to display their creations.  Not many people have the blessing of viewing their work. However, this wire line with clips provides an opportunity for us to incorporate their work as part of our home in an organized way. 

I suppose I will need to purchase two more lines – one for Smiley and one for Sweet Pea.

And that concludes your tour of our one room school house!  To see other rooms, hop on over to Carisa’s blog and see what other moms are doing for their Tot School Zone.

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