This week I've been doing an overhaul of our homeschool classroom. You might notice it began with a change up of our blog name? Instead of St. Brigid's Academy, still our homeschool's name, our blog is all about "Homegrown Catholics."
Raising our children at home 24/7 is quite the vocation. It requires inner strength, or as we call it "God's Grace." Each child is taken as a seedling, planted and nurtured right here in our home garden. God's grace shines on us. Then God can harvest the fruit and let it sweeten the lives of others. As a child, I wore a mustard seed with a bible verse [Mark 30-32]around my neck. I pondered the fragility and potential of that little seed. What amazing potential did I have, and now what of the potential of our children!?
So I pondered what kind of atmosphere is most conducive to learning? What do we need to make our classroom not only functional but inspiring. Where will I nourish my children's' minds and souls? My Homegrown Catholics need a place to flourish!
Welcome to St. Brigid's Academy…
CLASSROOM AT HOUSE#1
Rather basic, table, chairs and cart for books. It was a good start for preschool. We honestly spent more time out and about than in our classroom.
CLASSROOM AT HOUSE#2
I loved this room, as it was bright, colorful and setup for office work and school. It was functional, but because our little ones were wanting to play in other rooms, it didn't take long that everyone would wander off.
CLASSROOM AT HOUSE#3
This was our just get it setup attempt. When we moved in we just put stuff down there, and it didn't work at all. It was a dark corner with too much clutter. Everyone brought their books up to the bright, kitchen table. Making it hard to have meal time.
I took some time and moved the desks to the brighter area of this large, L shaped room. Desks didn't face each other or the toys, so there was less distractions. The open floor area gave way to wonderful playtime. But still, after awhile - the kids lost interest in sitting at their desks and just wanted to play in this great space. Desks were crowded, messy and hard to sort and find books. These desks were just not functional as I had hoped. My kids are not taking to sitting still for long periods of time. They wanted to be near me. I needed something else…
Try 3 - We are so blessed by this space.
I looked all around on the internet. Wrote down what I needed and what I liked about rooms others had. I took into consideration all the troubles we'd had from distractions, book storage and wandering.
FINALLY! Functional and Fun!
*The neutral wall color was too dark, so our "oops paint" saved the day with a soothing but bright wall color. The inspirational quote on the wall is a great reminder. Because we're Homegrown Catholics, I chose a garden theme fabric I will sew as the new valances.
*Love the group learning table. Since the kids were always drawn to the kitchen table, it made sense to have one in our learning area. Everyone together with a side for me to oversee and engage interest. It wouldn't be complete without a devotional book and candle for the start of the day.
*The couch stays as a reading nook with candle. A quiet spot for reading, praying, and the occasional time out. I made the end tables myself! Our books are organized from top to bottom rows, advanced reader - learning to read - fictional stories - toddler/board books. The 10 drawer cart is my storage for art paper, stencils and artwork. I replaced the coffee table with toddler toy bins, as it is more practical. The piano is center stage for when the children or I play.
*We needed storage for all those resource and school books. I used the top cubbies of my bookshelf for books about Art, Activities, History, Geography, Science and Language. The second row across is for the teacher manuals. The third row is student books, followed by a fourth row of student extra practice and activity books. The fifth row has bins for whatever they'd throw in a drawer, such as crayons, iPod, flashcards, v-smile games, etc. Thank you Ikea for this Expedit bookcase that saved the day.
* Play areas are more confined, but in the same room. There is a toy area, game closet, dress-up station, and reading nook. In the playhouse we built outside is the mini kitchen, outdoor and cheap toys, bubble set, some dress-up, loft getaway and misc.
*My kids are so creative, so it was essential to have a place to clip up artwork. Some call it a "Masterpiece Wall." The plan is to have two rows, one for kids artwork and a second work for posters or printouts of the inspiring masters.
*Like our daily planner so we at least have a plan, even if we don't always follow it. My kids are always asking "What are we doing today," "Where are we going," etc. [Free download of instructions for magnet planner.]
*We have office storage near the computer desk. The upper cabinets hold stationary items, computer stuff, and art supplies. The countertop holds the printer, teacher file I can carry anywhere, and counting manipulatives. The base cabinets hold rewards, large stock paper, pc games, manipulatives such as money, word magnets and flash cards, as well as the drawer of pencils/glue sticks/rulers/erasers/misc.
The cabinet on the right holds my books, school readers, resource books, school idea binders and future school books. I'm still refining this area, and obviously some painting to be done as well!
The closet holds all things lego, playdoh, movies, games, puzzles and play clothes. The desk is positioned so I can roll right over to the table to help when needed.
Other things I like and want to possibly create:
*Old typewriter for typing practice.
*Oil drip pan as a magnet board for toddlers.
*Rain gutter book rest by bunk beds.
*Multipurpose coffee table.
*Like the painted timeline wall space. Sticky notes and images taped to the wall.
*I liked that some classrooms have learning centers around the room.
Thanks for all inspiration as posted in my Pinterest Board, especially…
Thank you to Ikea for having excellent storage solutions, including
25 Cubbie Expedit Bookcase $199
Deka Wire with Clips (for art) $7