We've been homeschooling our children for the past seven months. And although I've been wanting to write about this topic since January, I've been at an absolute loss how to start this post. Or what to include in it.
I finally decided that there really is no simple way to disseminate everything that we have done over the past several months as we've embarked upon this homeschool adventure. So instead of trying to write everything in one post, I'm going to start out by simply writing how we've set up our "classroom."
As you read through this, I think it's very important to keep in mind that we live in a 1,600 square foot house. Space is at a premium. And although I would love (emphasis on the word love) to have a large room dedicated to educational materials - that are strategically placed on low shelves where children can easily access them - that wasn't an option for us. Unless, we got rid of our couch, dining room table and blocked off at least half of our kitchen cabinets.
Instead, we looked at the way our house was set up and we did a major rearrangement, while trying to use what we had, as much as possible.
We hired electricians who moved chandeliers and ceiling fans from one room to the next. What was once our family room, became our dining room. What had been our formal dining room became our computer area and what had been our living room became our family room. I moved small tables in to each of the rooms so that ultimately, every non-bedroom space in our house, became a space where learning could transpire. But our primary "learning" space is what we call our homeroom. Which was once our family room. But is now our dining room. And primary library.
And every so often, gymnasium.
Still with me?
The cabinet that once housed our television, stereo and associated equipment, was converted to a space that held many of our educational materials. Those materials that have a lot of pieces and/or could inflict significant damage on our furniture or walls if in the wrong small hands, were stored high in baskets.
On one shelf we have all of our wooden supplies including puzzles, beads and more puzzles. On another shelf we store all of our workbooks and worksheets. On another shelf there is space designated for our mats and clipboards, which we use extensively.
There are wicker baskets on several shelves that hold magnets, lacing cards, science equipment and assorted supplies that I have organized together. Roll-out drawers along the bottom of the wall unit hold play food supplies, wooden vehicles and a small portion of our children's library.
Using old CD holders, I organized other supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, flashcards, paints, brushes, Playdoh, rulers, triangles, scissors and compasses that can be safely tucked out of the way when not in use.
There is a children's sized table in our 'classroom.' As well as an easel, that I recently moved outdoors to our backyard because the kids love painting in the sun and I love having them outside.
Next to the garden hose.
Far, far away from our light-covered upholstery.
I will write about all of these things in more detail later, but for now, I just want to mention that in our classroom, there are wooden blocks. And a bookshelf filled with various books. There are comfortable spaces for the children to sit and read to their heart's content. We have a wooden doll house and a play kitchen. And Legos that I finally moved to an area that are readily accessible to the children, because thankfully, the triplets have outgrown the stage of scattering these small plastic blocks all over creation, and Henry never once has shown an interest in stuffing them inside Charlie's acoustic guitar.
My plan going forward is to begin posting, several times each week, homeschool activities that we do with the children. Tonight, I calculated that I have photographed at least 100 separate blog posts worth of information. Of course, turning those photographs in to actual posts is a whole different story. But I can rest easy knowing that if I'm suddenly struck with writer's block, I have enough material to last me until the New Year.
Wait a minute. Writer's block?
Something tells me that so long as I have small children in the house, that will never happen.