Last fall we moved into a new house… actually a very old one, but new for us. So that meant I got to arrange a new homeschool room!
With our oldest daughter in the convent and the three teenage boys in school, we no longer need a large school room like the one we had in our previous home. But we still have a room dedicated to homeschooling our two youngest children. It’s actually the dining room converted into a school room….
We configured our old Ikea tables into a T-shape, which allows us to easily swivel from the computer to the big table where I teach from. My youngest daughter can easily swivel from her desk to the big table when she needs help.
Having my kids use a chair and table at the correct height for ideal posture has always been important. So I was so glad when we found these Ikea tables (many years ago) that had adjustable heights. Swivel chairs with adjustable heights were an upgrade from the old blue plastic school chairs we used to have. Of course I sometimes regret that upgrade when my kids swivel all over the main floor of the house!!!
With Junior having T21, supporting his posture is even more important. Hence the Abiie chair, with adjustable seat height and foot rest.
A lot of Junior’s lessons happen at the big table, where we spread out lots of books and supplies. The child-sized tables in the middle of the room are mostly for a little Down Syndrome co-op that I host. I also put out puzzles and various activities on the tables to keep Junior busy while I’m working with his older sister.
We designed this room with one priority: the computer had to be visible from the kitchen so I can keep an eye on it when one of the kids are using it. Everything would have to fit around that one requirement, and amazingly enough, the desks and cabinets fit perfectly.
Above the tables, we have some of our kids’ artwork:
On the other side of the room, we have our bookcase, a Montessori-ish shelf and a little calendar/math corner. This side is clearly made with a preschooler-kindergartener in mind! The book case holds picture books and easy readers from the library, which we switch up on a regular basis.
I made the visual schedule, weekly calendar, and a movable number line with some extra pegboard from the shed. The calendar allows us to practice verb tenses, as we talk about what we did yesterday, what we are doing today, and what we will do tomorrow.
We use the number line in many different ways. Everyday we count to 20 using the number line. Sometimes I’ll pull off the numerals and have Junior line them up. Other times I’ll pull off the number shapes and Junior will match them to the correct numbers. This is a great way for him to understand place value, as he can easily see and say, “ten and one is eleven, ten and two is twelve, ten and three is thirteen.” The number shapes match up with the shapes in his Numicon set. I also sometimes pull off some of the numbers and let Junior fill in the missing numbers.
In our old schoolroom, we had pictures depicting the life of the childhood of Christ lined up along one wall. When they got old and faded, my kids decided it was time to update them with canvas prints. Here in our new home, my oldest daughter arranged the prints in the shape of the cross.
On the left side of the cross, there are pictures of Jesus’ public ministry. On the right side, there are picture of His Passion. Up the center there are pictures depicting his incarnation, birth, death, and resurrection.
In the corner, we have a big old Ikea cabinet that has remarkably lasted all our fifteen or so years of homeschooling. It holds lots of books, supplies, kits, puzzles, and so on. My daughter keeps all her books and supplies in the little cabinet next to her desk.
Of course, Junior does not do all his work in the school room. We also work in the kitchen when he’s having his long, slow morning snack. You’ve heard the saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach”? My experience is that the way to a boy’s brain is through his stomach! There’s nothing like a little snack that helps Junior focus extra hard 🙂 Even my daughter likes a cup of herbal tea and pretzels to make math a little more palatable.
Junior’s most important work, a.k.a. play happens in the sunroom. It’s also where the kids like to read and build lego.
And that’s our little homeschool!
Curious to see more homeschool rooms?
See Tour a Homeschool, where four friends have shared pictures of their homeschool space.
And here’s a post: Homeschooling the Large Family in a Small Space, from a mother of eleven.