Friday, March 8, 2013

Our Little School Room


Over the past few years I've continually tried to rearrange our small little school room to make it work for our family, and the sometimes overwhelming amount of school books we've collected over the years.  The last time I gave you a tour was back in 2009.   It was still pretty crowded and cramped, but we made it work.  The only problem was the table in the middle always seemed to collect piles of "stuff" and would make the room look so messy all the time.  I also had a very difficult time maneuvering around the table when I was pregnant... There just wasn't much space left over.  Last year I finally moved the table to under the window, between the two windows, which you can sort of see in this picture,  but it still looked funny. Since we needed all the extra chairs for our dining room table (yes, we have two very different sets of chairs at the moment, but at least we have chairs for everyone!) I finally just removed the table from the room and left an open area on the floor to pile all the stuff for the children to play games, assemble puzzles, and read books.   Anyways, last Saturday I finally spent some time cleaning, decluttering, and organizing this room!  


One day last week, when my mom stopped by, I asked her for a few suggestions.  (I had a few big boxes and baskets of books all with no where to go, in addition to lots of other stuff that needed to be sorted and put away.  I'm sorry I didn't take a before picture to share with you all.  I should have, but it really was rather embarrassing.)   Anyways, she suggested that I push the desks together, under the window, to allow room for another bookcase near my desk.  I had never considered that because there is a book case on the end of Rascal's desk, and the floor vent is directly under the window.  She said that if I switched the desks, putting Rascal's on the right and Captain's on the left it would work, and sure enough it did!   Not only does it look so much better, their desks are so much more functional!  (In the past Rascal couldn't open his bottom drawer because it was blocked by the computer plug, and Captain couldn't use the keyboard space, due to the little shelves on the back wall.)   


I also moved the printer back to the school room (from inside my closet) and placed it on Captain's desk!  Now when I want to print at night I can do so without upsetting my husband! ;)    My old iMac is set up on Captain's desk for the oldest four children to use for Math, and the CD player is on Rascal's desk for audio books and the three oldest to use for their spelling - Phonetic Zoo.   


On the back wall I have a stack of shoe shelves/closet organizers that we have been using as extra shelving.   The children each have their own shelf on which they keep their Timeline Books, Special Artwork Boxes, State Scrapbooks, and art supplies.  On the bottom/floor I have a couple tubs with extra crayons and safari toob figures.  


In the past I kept the rest of the art supplies on top of these shelves, but I moved some to the small curved book shelves to make room for our Puzzles (in a case similar to this one) and stacking blocks! 

Our puzzles include a set of four Schylling Wooden Puzzles (the school bus, the fire truck, the cow, and the duck), various Lauri Puzzles, a shapes puzzle, US puzzle, and a barnyard puzzle.  We have a few others that don't fit on the case which I placed on top of some books on the bookcase.  

I love wooden stacking toys!  They are so pretty and the kids have so much fun playing with them!  On this shelf you can see the Little Flower Wooden Stacker, a set of Stacking Birds, the Stone Cave,  RainbowFireWater Waves, and a little wooden Peacock from last year's family Easter Basket.


To the left of the shelves is our basket of puppets!   We have a couple large puppets (Ziggy the Zebra to go along with All About Reading and a fun Gray Squirrel) the rest are small Folkmanis finger puppets.  My children have discovered these in their Easter baskets and Christmas stockings in the past.  They are all so cute!


I purchased the book shelves from my parents neighbors years ago when they moved.   The corner shelf is huge, and had to be placed in the room through the window, but I really love these shelves!  I'm able to fit so much on them!   I had been using the corner shelves for various seasonal things, but since I needed the room for books I packed all of that stuff up and rearranged everything!  


The children each have their own Martha Stewart Magazine File Box (I purchased more with a teacher's 50% off all Martha Stewart coupon in the fall!) to hold their Lap Books.  They also each have a Black Closetmaid Fabric Drawer for their current school books.   



This past week, during our study of the past Popes, I hung up our old Pope Chart on the back of the door.   It only lists through Pope John Paul II, but the children have loved looking through all the popes pictures and reading a little about each of them. 


Also just inside the door, hanging on the wall is our Alphabet of Saints Dolls (there is a matching poster  on the wall, up above and to the right) , and to the left of those, on top of the shelf, is Rose's Wooden Fairy Tale Village.   It's another set of toys that comes down when she wants to play with it, and then gets put back up when she is done.  :) 


I've given you a little peek at the calendar I have hanging on the wall behind the door before...  It is  where we store any current Lap Book Mini-Books in clear ziplock bags until we are ready to assemble the actual Lap Book.  


Underneath the calendar I have our Geo Safari USA Search hanging on the wall.  It apparently decided to stop working this past year...  I was hoping new batteries was all it needed, but they didn't seem to help.  Oh well.  :( 


And that just leaves the other wall, where you find my desk.   I still need to do some work on this side of the room, sorting through the plastic bins of school and art supplies.  (One which came from my closet!) I'd like to eventually paint (or replace) the desk and then get one more bookshelf to place in the corner.  


On one of the shelves is a model ship my husband started building when we were dating (maybe someday he will have the time to finish it!) and on the other I have a few of our Pop-Up Books, safely out of the reach of the little ones:  Sounds of the Wild: Nighttime was a Christmas gift from my mom, The Sound of Music from Rose's birthday, and Snow White which was a gift from a friend a few years ago!   They are all such awesome books!



I did end up getting a few more curtains to cover the opening/shelf above the hallway.   We actually had to move the intake for the heater to the other side so now there is a big silver pipe going through that area, along with all the various Christmas, Easter and other seasonal items that need to be stored.   



It's nowhere near as organized and beautiful as some of the learning rooms I've seen online, but I've been able to make this small space work for us.  And after filling 3 bags of trash and 3 boxes/bags to donate, everything seems to have a place at the moment!  It has been so nice this past week to finally have an organized school room again!  Now to move on to my closet and the kids bedrooms...  I think I need a full week of Saturdays! ;) 

32 comments:

  1. Wow, two things: 1) I'm impressed! 2) I'm inspired! I love the tall bookcases with the curved end piece, the wooden fairy tale village (so cute!), and the alphabet of saints (I remember that post and thinking then how beautiful the set is). But overwhelmingly, I love how there's a place for everything. Hmm...you've got me thinking about our spaces now.

    Regina
    http://www.alivinggarden.com

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  2. It really looks good, I love all the changes you've made!

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  3. I love your school room. It is so neat and organized. Your children are very blessed. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  4. Wow!! This is just gorgeous!! :)

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  5. Oh... I miss our school room. This new house is awesome with the exception of not having an extra space/room for schooling. I've tried to be creative in using the dining room, but haven't found something that works yet. Isn't summer around the corner LOL!

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  6. Looks great.... It sure looks like a large room from the pictures!

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    1. Thanks! I measured it out of curiosity and it is a few inches shy each direction of 10' x 12'

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  7. Beautiful! Tell me about organizing the books. By subject? By grade-level? How do you keep from double-purchasing?

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    1. I organize our books by subject, and the books the children are using for the year are placed in their specific tote (fabric drawer). I also have a basket of books that I am using (teacher's guides etc and books for Kindergarten/Alphabet Path) that sits on my kitchen counter.

      The corner shelves currently have (from top to bottom) :
      1) supplies/paper
      2) History reference books and texts
      3) Geography Readers (Holling C. Holling, for map study - 2 each), Music, and Art
      4) Science Books and Dictionaries
      5) Little Saints Text and Supplies, various books we've recently been give including religion, and blank notebooks
      6) More paper and supplies

      Large Middle Bookshelf:
      1) Teacher Resources and Planning books
      2) more of my books :) (Additional books are also in my closet and the bookshelf in my bedroom)
      3) Magazines and Geography Books (Discover America Series)
      4) Lap Books
      5) Current School Books/Fabric Drawers for the Kids
      6) Current School Books/Fabric Drawers for the Kids

      Narrower Tall White Bookshelf:
      1) History Books
      2) Writing Materials (and a couple new Teaching Textbook workbooks)
      3) Current History Books (which is American History at the moment - we also have a couple baskets floating around with books for the current unit, Civil war)
      4) Coloring Books (ask before you use)
      5) Coloring Books in a basket (these can be used at anytime by my little ones)

      Short White Bookshelf:
      1) Signing Time DVDs, History Printables, Audio Books
      2) Various Readers
      3) More Readers, audio books, and Bob Books

      On the end of Rascal's desk (which can't be seem in this post)
      1) Music Masters Collection and additional CDs
      2) Father Lovasik Books and other religious readers
      3) Various Science readers and additional readers

      I also have a bookshelf in the hallway that holds all of our Saint, Christmas and Easter Books. And there is another bookshelf in the boys room that has all the chapter books used for History (Bethlehem Books, etc) and any other "boy" books. In the girls room you will find their bookshelf filled with American Girl Books, etc. And all the "baby/preschool" picture books are in the nursery.

      They are all spread out, but it seems to work for now.

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    2. Girl, you could of done this response as a post with pictures. ;)

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  8. I wish I could be this organized. You did a great work! The place looks cozy and comfortable. It must be great to study there.
    Very inspiring!

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  9. Beautiful! We have been working on organizing our school room. My hubby built build in bookshelves around our bay window. They have been a blessing. I love the curved shelves at the end of the bookshelves. You have given me renewed energy to get back to our school room.

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  10. I love this! I would love to see how you organize toys, too, especially how you keep things from the little ones that they shouldn't have. When I saw the picture of Bud the other day, my main question was: how does she keep him from throwing everything onto the floor? Lots of eyes to watch him? Lots of discipline (which I've never succeeded in getting to work at his age)? Or something else? By the time we're done with a few hours of homeschooling, the almost two-year-old has created a disaster all through the house!

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    1. We have picked up the boxes of crayons quite a few times this week! I do try to keep the door closed when we aren't in here, and I also have been working on the older children's habits (or lack of!) of putting stuff away when they are done with it - school books, toys, etc.

      Usually as long as I give Bud something new and different (I love rotating toys) he will play with it and not be too interested in getting into everything. At least some of the time! ;)

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  11. Please mail your organizing skills to my house....

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  12. That looks like a wonderful, peaceful place to be!! We don't have a school room in our tiny Japanese apartment, but I now simply must to go organize our craft cabinet and bookshelves. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. Where do Twinkle Toes and Chiquita do their school work? Do they have separate desks or do they take turns doing school work in the room?

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    1. When we had the table in the middle of the room they would do their school work there... However, as the kids have gotten older they all seem to need more space and it was always too crowded in here. The drawers on the desks are where the boys keep some of their things, but really everyone shares them.

      They all use Captain's desk for Math (though this is getting challenging with 4 of them needing the computer for Math lessons each day... I'm thinking about installing Teaching Textbooks for a couple kids on a different computer) and the three oldest use Rascal's desk when they are doing their spelling lessons (about 15 minutes each). (Chiquita does her spelling lesson in the living room.)

      Right now, as I type on my computer, Twinkle Toes is creating a card on the computer on Captain's desk, Chiquita is illustrating a picture on Rascal's desk, and Rose is playing on the floor with a few toys.

      During the day, the boys will work on their school work in the school room where it is quieter, and the girls and Snuggles will work out at the kitchen counter, dining table, or coffee table. The boys prefer working on Lap Books and their State Pages out on the dining room table where they have more room, and reading on one of the couches (or outside on the deck when the weather is better).

      Snuggles loves pulling Bud's little chair up to the coffee table to work on his school!

      It all seems to work out.

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  14. Great job! It looks like you made good use of the space you have. We have a small school room as well. It might be about the same size as yours, or maybe just a foot or two longer on one side. Still, not very large. And, we have two full length windows to work around. Great for light, not so great for arranging shelves and desks. In addition, we have two closets in the room that take up an entire wall. It's awesome storage, but again, not so great for the shelves and desks.

    Like you, we once had one table in the center of the room. It was rectangle, and also collected piles of stuff. We traded that out for two smaller white desks that we put back to back. Each child gets a window next to their chair. My desk is against a wall, and we have bookshelves that wrap around the corner. I LOVE our shelves! There never seems to be enough of them. I really need to pair down the books, put things away to store, etc. to make more room. We're always running out of space, and the room often gets cluttered. But, at least we have a room, which many people do not. :)

    You can view our space at: http://hsdays.blogspot.com/2010/08/school-room-week.html (This post is from 2010, but the arrangement is still the same, only we now have a rolling cart and small desk organizers in the room.)

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  15. really neat! You managed to fit so much into the space but it still looks uncluttered. It's funny you posted this because I was looking at your old school room pics the other day! I am thinking of rearranging our room. Right now our school room is really a playroom,,,toys toys toys. We have been doing school at the dining room table.

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  16. jessica-
    I want to move into your schoolroom! it;s amazing. It must feel SO great to have everything so spin and span and reorganized! Great job! BTW, thank you for the book suggestions on your sidebar...I reserved many of them at my lib when I visited your blog the other day. Esp loving the papal books....
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Have a wonderful weekend

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  17. Would you and your Mom kindly come to my house and help me get my schoolroom/office organized? Please??? ; )

    It looks great and I love those corner bookshelves.

    God bless you all!

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  18. My goodness, what an inspiring post to a new homeschooling mom (i.e. ME)! God bless you for your website/blog . . . it is, by far, my favorite! Two questions: 1)Where did you get the saint magnets on your calendar?? They are super cute! 2)where did you get that mini-thurible that is on the shortest shelf?? I LOVE it!!! Again, God bless you for sharing all of these amazing Catholic resources for mothers like me! =)

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    1. Thank you! :)

      I actually made the saint magnets for our calendar years ago by attaching the stickers from a daily saint sticker album (based on the traditional calendar) onto magnets! I attached the name of the saint and the date to the back of each so I can sort them easily, and keep them in little ziplocks by month. I've been meaning to post about them again and just haven't had a chance yet. You can find my original post here.

      The mini-thurible/censer with the brass stand is part of our Miniature Mass Kit from Our Father's House!

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  19. Hi Jessica :) Everything looks great! I especially like the photo collage of the kids first Holy Communion pics. Peace in Christ, Lori

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  20. Wow!!! increíble!
    Precioso en verdad, felicidades!

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  21. So a quick question. We have a largish room that so far has been used as a playroom, complete with a play kitchen and a train table. I've resisted putting toys in the bedrooms, because I think it helps maintain a quiet restful atmosphere when they sleep, (plus I would prefer to not have other children playing in the bedrooms when they are visiting). So I guess my question to you is what do you do with the toys? The costume box, the building blocks, the doll house, ect? I would love to turn our playroom into a school room, and there is room to do it if I could figure out how to make it work.

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  22. Love how organized this is!! It seems so much easier to keep things clean and organized when everything has a place. I love looking at everyone's schoolrooms!

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  23. Do you have any more homeschool books in closets or just in the areas indicated in your post and in your follow up responses in the comment section (I might have missed it in the comment section because there are loads of comments.) :)

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  24. I love your school room and the organization! That curved bookshelf is da bomb! :) I see you do the History Through The Ages timeline binders, as well. We love our binders and putting pictures/dates in them as we read about history. If you get a chance, come visit our school room in blog land! We'd love to have you! :) Here's the link: http://asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com/2014/08/2014-2015-homeschool-classroom-and.html

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  25. I love the way you have brought signs of the Catholic faith through out your school room. I love the bright white shelves that blend so nicely with the white walls keeping everything so neat and cheery. We are currently sharing a very small dining area to home school my 5 out of 7 kids ( 2 already graduated). I am getting ready to remodel a new room in our home for our school room and I am really inspired by the great job you did!

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