Like many of you, I’ve been consumed with back to school for the past month or so. For about two weeks at the end of August all I did in my spare time (and late into the night) was planning and organizing for the school year. We started school last Tuesday and made it through the first week. In my interactions with other moms of first graders I was reminded that the transition to first grade can be really challenging for some little ones. I heard a couple of stories of unhappy campers who did not want to go back to school after the first day. Homework meltdowns the first week. All that kind of stuff. It took a few days for Caroline to really grasp that summer vacation is OVER and you HAVE to do school EVERY DAY. I think it makes it harder when you are home all the time because the switch from total freedom in the summer to actually being accountable that real learning is taking place is not so evident when nothing around the child has changed!
But we’re settled in and I’m cautiously optimistic that we are over the worst of the back to school blues.
I’ve got oodles of stuff to share about all the great things I found while planning, but those will have to come in future posts. Today I’m just going to share what our learning room looks like as promised in the post where I discussed repurposing our living room during our first year of homeschooling. (You can click on the photos to make them a little bigger.) I did some changing of things for the fall and I’m really happy with the results. It is simple and cozy. We have lots of natural light and sunny yellow walls. It is a cheerful room and that makes us all happy.
I also wanted to share because our room is an example that you can have a simple room and still have what I think is a pleasant learning environment. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. I was reading through Confessions of a Homeschooler’s post on her learning room recently and had mixed feelings. It is a spectacular room. I don’t mean to take anything away from her room. It is gorgeous and she’s done so many neat things with it. But so many homeschoolers don’t have the room or the money to have a room like that. One woman left such a comment and I responded to her because I didn’t want her to feel like she couldn’t be a good homeschool mom if she couldn’t trick out a room in the way COAH did. Many homeschoolers don’t even have the luxury of having a separate room. I’ve sacrificed my living room to do this and it is a trade off I’m more than willing to make. Each family has to make the best of what they have!
Our room only has a small fraction of our books and other materials. The rest of it is in the basement. I actually had another large bookcase in the room and took it out so I could keep the pocket chart holder up in the room all the time. I also purposefully kept it simple so it would not be over-stimulating. The last thing Caroline and I need is a room packed to overflowing with books and educational materials. Some people might like their room to be really full, but I find it overwhelming and distracting. So our room is purposefully not overly full. I could have easily filled a room twice this size, but am glad that we are limited by what we can put in here.
I’ve purchased almost nothing for this room. The table and chairs were in the kitchen of our previous house. The light green rocker was in Caroline’s nursery. There is a dark green rocker not in the picture that we’ve had for years. The bookcases have been here and there throughout the house over the years. The arts and crafts supply cabinet was in the kitchen in the previous house. I’ll share in another post the things I have bought (such as the plastic containers in the photo that I use to organize each day’s work). I’ll also share about our calendar time and some of the other routines we have as well as the items on the walls.
Now I’m off to figure out Fancy Nancy birthday party invitations for my soon-to-be six year old!