Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our School Space

I decided to shift our school space this year.  Last year, we just used the dining room table and set up some work boxes in the monstrosity of a cabinet that we inherited (and were obligated to keep) when we moved in here.  There are a variety of viewpoints on what homeschool means to people and how they arrange their space and time and all.  For us, it felt like a shift was needed from feeling like we were living in our school space to doing school in our home.  To make that work well, however, we needed to get a bit of furniture, and I wanted to set things up in a way that helps us structure our time well.  Thankfully, I was able to bring back some supplies from our recent visit to the States that aren't available here (corkboard roll, contact paper, stick-on hooks, and many other fun things for actual activities).

A seemingly obvious fix to the room situation would have been for the boys to condense to one bedroom and use the other for a school room, but our youngest has never been an easy sleep and gets really amped up with people around, so it would seem that is not the best solution for us (at least yet).  So, we are kind of setting up parts of our routine in each of their rooms.
There are still things I would like to get set up, cleaned up, or organized, but here is a glimpse of our school space that we have set up so far.

We do our starting routines in Ezekiel's room.  That is the part that we (in theory) all do together, and he really loves the calendar and charts, so I decided to keep that portion in his room.
Here is our bulletin board so far.  It has space to pin up the letter, number, color, and shape we are focusing on for the week/unit, a big highlight sheet in the middle for the key concept for our unit, and a sheet to help with the phonics alphabet song that goes with our curriculum.  My amazing friend Lizzy made the printables for the song and for our key concepts for each week, and I am especially excited that she included the Nepali word for each unit!

I don't have the bulletin board fixed to the wall because the back side is actually our white board, and I just attached cork roll onto the back here.  That stuff is super thin, so we'll see how it works out, as it has already been a challenge to keep the pins in!
On the wall that meets that, we have our calendar and other charts for our daily learning notebooks.  I decided not to use a pocket chart and numbers to insert, as my boys really like having things written/drawn on the days of the calendar to know what is coming up, and Ezekiel LOVES to draw things on it himself, as you might be able to see from the scribbles all over it.  I decided, though, to make one blank calendar and fasten it to the wall with contact paper instead of making a new one every month like I did last year.  We use overhead markers to write on it.  The downside is that the markers don't show up with quite as much definition, so we'll see if we like it this way.  We've also posted a 100 chart, and some things for the weather and seasons.  The weather, seasons, and "yesterday, today, tomorrow" charts can be found at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I love people who make amazing printable and share them!  It is not my strength, and I'm certainly grateful!
In the hallway between the two rooms, I hung a line with clothespins to display some of the boys' work.  This (displaying work) is actually one area I would like to figure out some more solutions that work with our space and materials.  As I referenced, bulletin board space is limited, and good cork board is hard to come by here.  The walls are all cement, so it is difficult to even put nails in the wall.  So, here I used a couple of sticky-back hooks that I brought back from the States and tied thin rope around the hook on each end.  This is not as much space as I'd like to have for that, though.  Below it is what I plan to use for the My Father's World "badges."  I had seen the suggestion on the boards for MFW Kindergarten to make a big mural and add to it each unit.  I think this will be a fun way to have that highlight in a way that will work better than the "badges" concept for us.  So, since we are just now on the first unit, you can see just our background.  When it is "badge" time this week, we'll add a sun for this unit's theme, and each unit, we'll add the theme item to this "creation" mural.  Again, I covered this with contact paper, hoping to help it stick longer and last us through the year.

I decided to put our table time activities in Isaiah's room.  We just got the new furniture to make this happen, and I am so excited about it and so blessed to be able to get these new things for our space!  There is a furniture-maker in an adjacent area who we have made other items for us, and he is so good.  I took in a picture of the table and chairs from an image that was on a really nice children's furniture website, and he made it for us!  He also made the shelves for our workboxes with the custom dimensions I requested.  It still feels odd sometimes that having things custom-made here is actually one of the less expensive furniture options!

All of our curriculum doesn't really work perfectly with the workbox set-up, but I often try to at least place an item that will be part of the activity in each workbox, as Isaiah really thrives when he can see laid out for him what is to be done that day.  I am not very good at making printables, so I just cut up some construction paper, wrote numbers on them, and put some stickers of things they like right now to make workbox labels.  I don't really have any expectation for Ezekiel to work through his boxes in order; he still can just choose which ones he does when and how many he does, but he likes to have things that seem like older brother's things. :)
Ezekiel's workboxes
Isaiah's workboxes

We also have a small patio with a plastic table and chair set, and that is located right next to Isaiah's room, so we will plan to shift out there for messier art projects and sensory play and such.  If it's a bigger project, we'll probably head down to our small yard.

That is what we have going so far for our school space for the year.  Getting rolling with adjusting to new routines and setting expectations for kindergarten have met with some challenges, but that is for another post!  :)  I'm thankful to at least have our space set up in a way that feels like it will work well for us.

1 comment:

  1. So cool! I've been doing some more research about homeschooling and I liked the work box idea too. =)