Well I took this early yesterday morning when the kiddos were cracking into our day + thought I might share a post about some of the learning spaces we love.
This is the main one. It used to be a formal dining area but it's been home to most of our bulk homeschool supplies + cupboard for the past 10 months or so. And it works well for us.
Here's Stass at the big table in the LEARNING ROOM, Zip at the little table (ah ignore that she is chewing on a pencil here! lol!), and you can see to the right of the photo, are the boys sitting at stools doing some learning on the laptop. Today they were using STARFALL and ABC READING EGGS (thanks Tara for recommending this. We are still on our trial period but I'm thinking about getting it for the boys). Anyway....
So here is the view of our LEARNING ROOM (in action) from the loungeroom...
And here is the COMPUTER STATION a little closer up.
We just drag across the breakfast bar stool - perfect height, works well...
Back in the LEARNING ROOM, Zipster is trying to work out which hand she favours most. She likes sitting at the table, although her fave position to sit is still on top of all the kids work smack bang in the centre of the big table....aaaarrggh!.......
From here you can see the two white boards up on the wall. We use these almost daily. We have another on another wall so that basically wherever the kids are sitting they can do copy work from any seat at the big table. I also use 3M COMMAND STRIPS - THE VELCRO KIND around our house. They have been great to use on these boards because you can remove them (since they are like velcro'ed onto the wall!) and then have the kids copy things if they are sitting at another table/space in our house. Handy :)
And behind Stass you can see a portion of our massive cork board with photos (ahem still from last year that need to be updated mind you!) and the kids' artwork area...
Doing copywork together from the whiteboard...
Here is the other wall that has the other whiteboard. It's like the poster wall. I always said I didn't want stuff just postered up on the walls. Ha! How we change! One of the things I love about our little learning room is having the space to display things that are relevant to our current learning. I love being able to have images up that remind + inspire us like the Bible timeline posters. The kiddos love pointing out places on the world map + the Australian map too. One thing I've worked out with homeschooling is that high ideals using remain just that - ideal...but usually impractical!!!
Here's one of my fave shots from this year I think. It's just casual. It's my dad giving the children their very first Fijian language lesson. Check out my daughter's face. Is that not the look of pure love and respect for her Pupu (grandfather)? Stass just *had* to have her Fijian mat (that my grandmother lovingly handmade and sent over this year) next to her while she learnt Fijian.
Just behind where the kiddos are sitting is our homeschooling storage cupboard + this timber shelf (next photo below).
It's one of 4 that we got at a country store's closing down sale. It was their display shelving + we bought each one for $15. Bargain city! Anyway, the top has the blue 4 drawer system that we use for storing the kids work that they do that day/week/however long I feel before the drawer starts to explode! lol :) As soon as they finish something, they know they have to date their work + put it into their own blue drawer. Then I put each sheet into a plastic sleeve (sometimes they do this with me now) and then into their portfolio folders (maybe a post on them another day?) In the small cane basket next to the blue drawers are colouring in books which the munchkins can grab at any time and next to that the world globe (that lights up. Was my bro's when I was a kid. Cool).
The black box is one of the best things I bought this year. I sorted it into the main subjects/themes we seem to concentrate on like 'nature study stuff to do' or 'blank handwriting sheets', etc.
It works really well with Crystalfiles inside.
Under the black box are the two yellow cubes - one with toys for Zip to play with + one full of duplo-like blocks.
Oh and the other cool thing we did this year was on the side of the cupboard Brett put 3 nails up + we hang the wooden clipboards (in birth order) from them. When we go somewhere now, it's really quick to just grab the clipboards from the nails + some spare worksheets that are in the black box + some pencils and off we go in the car! I love car-schooling too :)
And since we like to do a lot of this around here (ahem even if the book is up the wrong way!!!!!)
we have a few great reading places + book corners in our house.
Here's one just next to the timber shelving.
We are due for a book cull this week actually but we'll see how time goes.
The bottom basket has the Leap Pad stuff in it.
On top of this shelving unit (which our cool ex-neighbour Greg made) is our wireless printer.
Handy to have it close in the learning room.
The kiddos often just sit down near here on the floor and read or get some cushions when it is silent reading time + just have the pick of the shelf...
And these cute colourful baskets (below) are only a recent addition to our LEARNING ROOM but they have been really helful. My daily challenge seemed to be taking pencils/pens/textas/crayons off Zipporah before she tried to decorate our walls! I found these funky little baskets in IKEA for I think roughly $7. Bargain. I hung them with 3M hooks. The first is holding lead pencils only (since it used to take ages for each child to find ONE lead pencil each!!! Not anymore!!!!!!!!!), the second one has coloured pencils and the third just has sharpeners, rulers + erasers. Easy storage + simple to take to another room too if we are doing colouring in at the kitchen bench say while I am cooking...
And just in case you are thinking for some weird reason, 'hang on, my learning room doesn't look that neat' then please STOP!
I love having organised spaces but not at the sake of being WITH my children.
I love having a place for things - that doesn't mean it is always IN that place.
I love having a clear table but often it looks like this + then it just all gets chucked on the floor until I get a chance to go through the papers or whatever and that could be anywhere between a day or a month or longer.
So please remember that while it does often look like the photos above, it ALSO looks like this photo below just as often ;)
Now, I did mention in this post title that I would be showing you some of our other fave LEARNING PLACES. Well, being sort of electic natural learners, we choose to look for learning moments in EVERY part of our life.
That means that 'learning' occurs in some of the following places...
Learning happens in THE KITCHEN; learning that there are numbered step in a recipe that is listed on a box and learning to use the beaters independently...
Learning happens OUTSIDE IN OUR BACKYARD as we observe the nesting Masked Lapwing (native bird) + await the chicks arrivals.
Learning happens OUTSIDE IN OUR BACKYARD as they learnt to ride their bikes outside without training wheels for the first time (the boys!). This happened last week. Not sure if i blogged that already or not but talk about HOW EXCITING!
SOooooooooooooo much learning happens out here in OUR BACKYARD.
Soooooooooooooooooo much RELATIONSHIP BUILDING.
Sooooooooooooooooooooo much imaginative play.
Ah the joy of being a child and a childhood spent with siblings in the comfort of our home!
(See those play gym thingys? aka: castles, pirate ships, cubbyhouses to our kids! one was given to us by Rach + Greg a while back + the other we picked up on the side of the road for a council chuck out + man have they had some good times on those!)
Lots of learning to shoot hoops...
The children have asked lots of questions + enjoyed having a 'go' at blowing the shofar!
My house isn't always like this.
I've kind of worked out these systems over a period of 18 months and they seem to constantly evolve as our family needs do.