Though I gave you a sneak-preview of the renovations in an earlier post, I thought I’d show you the complete 2012 school room.
That’s our new homeschool name. And I made it into a sign to go on the front of our school room door. It really has added some excitement to our little room, like we are entering a special world, kind of Narnia-ish.
Another new feature is our Map Study Center. I happened upon these cool stick-on borders, letters, and embellishments while wandering the Wal-mart aisles. I bought them with absolutely no idea how I would use them but knowing I absolutely would. As I stood staring around the room with my cute little borders in hand, this idea suddenly came to mind. With our Tapestry of Grace studies, maps are a big part of the learning. Why not feature the maps we will be studying each week? I also wanted an easy way to interchange the maps without laminating everything or risking tearing the maps when I took them down. I used adhesive velcro to adhere sheet protectors to the wall, and then slid the maps inside. I think it’s my new favorite feature, but there are other strong candidates in the running.
Once I finished with the Map Study Center, I had to think of something else for my cool letters. We added these cork boards last year, but just for fun I added the “Show and Tell.” We’ll be using these boards for special papers and projects not necessarily Tapestry related. Oldest’s hanging pockets are merely to organize his flashcards and charts. His books are getting too heavy to put into his pockets, so I’ve had to come up with a new “workbox” system. It’s still in the works, but once we fine-tune the process I’ll post with more details. Middlest will still be using her pockets as a workbox. I’ll be inserting her work to be done in the pockets and allowing her to work her way through each pocket to the end of the day.
Another exciting addition are the new desk tags. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a cool desk tag idea to pull in our Tapestry theme of Ancient Egypt—mummies, pyramids, the Sphinx. I finally decided on hieroglyphics! I found a website that provided a few hieroglyphics and translated the kids’ names. No up-close photos for the protection of my children, but suffice it to say that they turned out super-cool!
Our felt board has remained a key part of our school room, complete with letters that my mom, grandma, and friend made for us from cardboard letters with adhesive felt. Previously, our felt board was on top of a couple of wooden TV trays. It created two problems. For one, it was at an awkward height for me and for the kids. Also, there was a lot of wasted space underneath. This year, I picked up these very handy storage crates that take care of both problems. We can sit on the floor together (which is always our favorite place to spend “together” time) and still reach the top of the board; and I can use the space underneath to store our other activities.
Even Littlest has his own place, with a basket to store his blanket and toys. The contents of his basket include an activity blanket, soft blocks that crinkle and rattle, and a caterpillar that comes apart (each section rattles, spins, etc.). We’ll probably rotate or add some of his other toys as the months progress, but I would so like to keep his toy selection in the school room to the quieter motor-skill variety. Right now, he’s teething and is pretty happy with anything that chews.
Another renovation that is totally mommy-related is inside my cabinet. I reorganized my not-currently-in-use curriculum to the top shelf and arranged my bottom shelf to hold the kids activities and project-related supplies. Coloring books, Crayola Wonder-markers, play-do sets, geo-shapes and other cool activities are where the kids can retrieve them either by themselves or with a little assistance.
Last but not least, I’ve added a computer-center, since computer programs (including Reflex) continue to be a regular part of our day. I’ve moved the computer to a permanent spot in the corner where it is a little less distracting to the one who’s not using it, and it keeps our little desk area from becoming too crowded. Heaven-forbid the computer sit on top of someone’s paper or name tag, if anyone knows what I mean.
That’s the new spot for our new year of adventures. We’re all pretty excited. Oldest told me the room looked “spectacular.” And as soon as all the flu germs get squelched, we’ll once more enter the magic and adventure of learning.