Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Homeschooling Space (well one of them!) for 2011

I say 'one of ' the homeschooling spaces because really, learning happens all over our house!! From the kitchen bench to the computers to outside...anywhere there is an opportunity of adventure + play + relationship buidling + reading + writing + a place where we 'homeschool'.
Now having said all that, it is a real blessing to be able to have a designated area set aside where I can store alot of the munchkins resources and also where we can have a table and a big old whiteboard. Probably the majority of our bookwork/copywork happens in here.

So here is our learning space for 2011...

I got my big cupboard from the op shop (it's a dining room buffet and hutch) and where it is charcoal it will eventually be painted white but not for some time. The cupboard next to that we were given by a lovely friend Lyndal a couple of years ago and I've been using it to store the kiddos books in for a while and it works well. More on that in a sec.

And this (below) is the other side of the room where we have the poster board, photo display board and their art wall. The 1,2,3 bags on the wall I got from Ikea about a year ago and we used them last year; 1 has the lead pencils in, 2 has coloured pencils and 3 has erasers, rulers and pens. I've found that this system has helped the kids to learn how to sort things well and it's easy too when we need to do some colouring pages elsewhere - they just grab bag number 2 themselves. The whiteboard you can see has really helped with copywork. The kids love it. I was never a fan of them because i didn't want to just 'recreate' school in our home. However after nearly 2 years of schooling, I realised that the kids actually needed the whiteboard (especially Liji) so that they could see what they were copying without all the writing being smushed up together on a teeny tiny board. They love writing out numbers and words on the whiteboard too.

So today, Jan 31, we are officially 'starting' schooling.
We have actually been 'schooling' the whole way through the 6 week break since the kids have been learning and discovering all through the holidays. They built a geology kit, each made a nature book or box, they dis-assembled the old laminator together, Stass read the novel 'Racing Stripes' began 'Pride and Prejudice' and then has put that aside for a while and taken up another one of the books in the Little House on the Prairie series. They built paper models from an animal models book I bought them, helped out with cooking and chores, sang songs (including some of their times tables) and went tadpoling and butterfly catching. They did all these things SPONTANEOUSLY without prompting from us. It's so lovely to see the desire in them to learn and play and just be together. Don't let me give you the wrong idea though; there were still fights to break up and attitudes to deal with but it is just so lovely to be able to do this, to walk this journey of life with them.

That being said, on the 'first day of school' I always make them a little card and give them their own little stationery collection. It's a little tradition we started in our first year and they look forward to waking up and seeing their little things there on the table...

Thought I might share what is in the new school cupboard with you?

Ok, this is the left hand side of the cupboard. It has the big kids science stuff on the first couple of shelves (stuff that needs to be accessed readily but also kept up high out of little ones fingers)...

microscopes, magnifying glass, morse code kit, pin board, geology kit, etc...

next shelf down has a basket with the boys' readers, Zippi's wooden Noah's ark (which we all love - i got years ago as a free gift when I hosted one of those learning toy parties - Peta was that through you?!?!) and the kids box of Math U See manipulatives... 

Down the bottom of this side of the cupboard is the BEST thing we ever bought (we got it last year)...

an Xacto electric pencil sharpener...

On that shelf is also Zippi's felt vegetable bag (from Ikea) which she LOVES playing with and next to that a basket with activities just for Zipster.

She's only 21 months. BUT she is the kind of kid that LOVES to be doing stuff while the big kids are doing things. She loves to play but she also loves to be challenged. Well this is what she is like so far. So I wanted to have some things ready for her to do on the floor or at the table while the bigger kids are busy doing things.

These include...

A plastic picnic set that mum and dad got the kids ages ago. I drew up a picture of a fork, knife and spoon and laminated them and Zip has to get these out of the bag and try and match it to the picture...

Another activity I have for her is a matching game with these gorgeous leaf pictures. I laminated these too just for longing wearing. I got this idea from THE PETERSON PARTY BLOG. Have you got preschoolers that are in need of some activity ideas while the big kids school or even that are at home and are not old enough yet for school? Then please do yourself a HUGE FAVOUR and go and check out Cara's blog. It has blessed me no end! I love seeing what these guys get up to! Check out the POSTS AND THE MYRIAD OF ACTIVITIES ON THE 'LETTER OF THE WEEK'. There are also IDEAS FOR COOKING AND BAKING WITH LITTLIES and soooooo many more fun things to try with your toddlers. Thank you Cara for all your sharing!
This idea below you can find IN THIS POST ON LEAVES on Cara's blog and she got it from PREKINDERS.COM which looks FAB - I'll be heading back there more often this year I think!

The last activity in that basket on the bottom shelf is an alphabet matching game.
I bought a set of wooden alphabet blocks from K Mart and then printed off an alphabet upper caps chart from PREKINDERS.COM I laminated the chart and then cut out the letters. I split the alphabet up into 5 or 6 letters to each bag, popped in the laminated letters and chucked them into a ziplock bag. The idea is just to introduce Zip slowly to the letters of the alphabet and have her match a typed out letter to the corresponding block. I'm not sure if she is ready for this, (did i mention how much she loves matching games!!!!) but it will be there anyway for whenever she's ready for it :)

Behind the bottom cupboard door on this side of the buffet and hutch is Zippi's activity boxes. These have a heap of other activities and play things she can do while the bigger kiddos are occupied.

Some of these activities I already had and some I got cheaply from an op shop or K Mart.
1. Horse play (heaps of little cheap horses from the op shop with plastic brushes. She loves this box!)
2. Mr Potato Head ($5 for one with a couple of big removeable parts from K Mart), a plastic egg carton activity with eggs that break in half and she has to match the shapes together.
3. Sensory Play: Some BIG coloured buttons with strips of card in the same colours as the buttons. Zip matches the buttons to the correctly coloured card - she loves loves loves this game! Same with pom poms in another container in the big box. She also just loves the feeling of the pom poms and the buttons and plays with them to just enjoy the textures.
4. Babushka dolls ($6 from Aldi) and cupcake dolls (50 cents from the op shop), chunky board animal book and plastic cotton reels to stack (not up to threading just yet).
5. Small pencils (for small hands!) and some drawing paper along with a mini etch-a-sketch.

(I only shared these things in detail in the hope that it might help some other mama who is need of ideas of what to do with their little one while schooling older kids! It took me a while to think about and collect these and I'm sure they'll change as we find what works for Zip as she gets a bit older but so far, this is what I have and I am hoping they will not only keep her occupied but that they will help her with playing and learning and discovering and enjoying life! I'm also just sharing what works in OUR home.)

Ok so back to the buffet and hutch, in the top middle is a place for the kids to display their lego creations, paper models, paper aeroplanes and rockets, etc. Below that in the white basket are all the kids fave colouring in books. Below in the baskets are Zip's chunky board books. The red fabric display thing in between i got for $2 from a shop in Cootamundra when we were visiting Jono and Christine last year and it houses some of the books we are currently reading...

On the far right hand side of the cupboard (still a bit bare) is a basket up high for textas, the boys' magnetix set, the set of drawers (this is where the kids put their finished work each day before we put it all into plastic sleeves and into their portfolios. I usually do this once every couple of weeks.) Bottom box has heaps of cardboard which my beautiful friend Kaz brought us for us recently (the kids love to make books and crafts with cardboard) and the basket next to it has scissors and sticky tapes, etc.

Below are craft boxes...

and on the far right side at the bottom is the big kids area with a few games they can do together or on their own, click and clack connectors, electronic world map quizzer ($15 from K Mart and it is a really good aide for our kids!), alphabet magnets to practice making words on the fridge. The basket contains things like pick up sticks, jacks, etc all in zip lock bags.

And the far cupboard in the corner that I said earlier has the kids resources, etc...

The blue boxes which were $2 each from Ikea house the kiddos portfolios of work, each child has a white box for their workbooks, a white box for spare paper, another for drawing stencils and another for filing things for me.

Well that's about it for now :)

Posts are here on how our learning rooms looked at the start of 2009 and in the middle of 2010

In other news, I've got three quarters of a post written on Acts 15 (sorry Jamie it has taken so long!), I've got one to share with you about our Family Party Day (we went Go Karting this year!) and one on catching up with our friends the Fosters recently (so great to see you guys!)
So much to share and so little time but one day I'll get them on here!

Anyway, more another time :)

May Yah bless you all and draw you closer to Him in Spirit and in Truth!
Love Lusi x


Peterson Party said...

Awwww, thank you for posting about my blog. You are so sweet :)
Also, wow - what an awesome space! It is my dream to have a designated (main) schoolroom. Great job!

Peterson Party said...

Looks like we were checking out (and commenting on) each other's blogs at the same time :)

Heidi said...

Wow, Lusi! What a beautiful setup! I would love to have a room devoted to school. Right now I keep all our supplies in the office, but it isn't big enough to work in. So we read in the living room and do desk work at the kitchen table. But you have inspired me to do better with what I have. I hope you have a wonderful year.

lusi said...

Thank you beautiful girls! Heidi and Cara, today things that you have shared on your blogs have been apart of our 1st school day and I have thought of you both and I am so grateful for you guys! :) Heidi, the kids loved the Tassels work and Zippi actually did the leaf matching Cara!
Bless you lovely ladies as you walk with YHVH and lovingly serve your families!
Love Lus x

Enid said...

ohhh I love it Lusi....!!

Andi said...

I am thinking you should come do my learning space! Great Job!

Stace said...

Hey Lusi!
LOVE your school room!! LOVE LOVE LOVE that cupboard/buffet!!
I have a Question... WHERE do the kids toys go? Are there any in their bedrooms?? How do you store them??? I would LOVE to see pics!! :)
**having a think about what to do with mine at the moment - its tough having a 3yr old + nearly 10mth old... having different stages of development/interest etc to cater for - whilst TRYING to be as 'clutter' free as possible... Any ideas would be FANTASTIC!! xx

lusi said...

thanks Enid and Andi and Stace. would LOVE to just come over and have a cuppa with you! lol :) Would love to sit there with you and Bobbin ;)

And Stace....on man we have done so many different things over the years with toys! We've gone from having a toy room to the kids now having some boxes of toys under their beds (boys) and the girls have an upright wicker laundry hamper in their room with toys in. Once we had a huge wooden blanket box that Brett put 'L' hinges on (so the lid couldn't hurt little fingers) and all the toys would just get chucked in there at the end of the day; made for really quick clean up! I must confess that I do have some boxes in the garage of toys that they really loved but don't play with as often like big wooden train sets but we do rotate them every now and then and they seem to enjoy the toys! We have a games cupboard for most of the games because they need to be away from little fingers. All the jigsaws are in ziplocks bags and get rotated. The others live in their ziplock bags in a big plastic storage box in the garage. I have a book shelf in the guest bedroom that has some tubs with paints, beads and playdoh and other messy things that need to be brought out at just the right time ;)
I will try and post some pictures for you another time but hope that helps?
Did your calendar arrive? I hope so!
Love Lus x

kathy said...

So very inspiring Lusi. Some great ideas for little ones too :) I would love to have more soace to organize a 'school' room but for now the kitchen table is it! Thanks for sharing.

Stace said...

Hey Lusi, Thanks for sharing what you do!! I have quite a large shed so I may have to set that up a bit so that I can use my shelving unit thing that we are no longer using at the moment (ikea square shelving thing) and put some toys on there in bags or boxes or something so that I can rotate their toys!! Great idea!! I am thinking also to set my 3yr old up with a little work station in his bedroom (special small cupboard with his 'little' toys that are too small for his 10mth old brother - lego and other small pieces) as well as some books and paper etc...
Thanks again Lusi and yes please, I would LOVE to see a post with pics of your storage!! :)
I havent recieved the calander as yet unfortunatley!! Maybe tomorrow!! xx

lusi said...

Hi Kathy :)

I think the time will come when we will be schooling at the kitchen table if we ever have to move from here! And to be honest, alot of our work still happens there too. Hope your first day went well!

And Stace your workstation idea sounds like a winner mate! Let me know how it goes? And I love ikea shelving units :) Will try and post some photos some time soon. I can't believe that calendar hasn't arrived yet! So sorry its taken so long! I posted it like last Monday or something! Anyway, let me know when it arrives? please? thanks!

Lots of love,
Lus x

Traci said...

I love the school room, so lovely and organized! And the sewing table too.

And congrats on the new addition, you are blessed:)

Traci R

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a wonderful space and so organised, you truly have thought of everything :)

lusi said...

Thanks Christie for visiting and your lovely comment. We have been homeschooling now for almost 3 years and it has taken some time to find my groove and work our what works best for our family. Right now, this works but when it stops doing so, we'll just adjust the space and do something else! lol :)

Lusi x


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