Our homeschool room is one of my favorite spaces in our house, so I thought I’d kick off my series of homeschooling posts with a tour of the room where the magic happens.
Above is the view of our homeschool classroom when you’re standing in the doorway, looking in and toward the right.
That one small window over the whiteboard is our only natural light source since this room is actually in our finished basement.
Our workspace is made up of two white Ikea desks, which I bought last year on Craigslist for $10 each. They are great because we can all sit at the table and still have plenty of room. (And because the melamine surface cleans up easily.)
I tend to sit in the brown folding chair and my kids sit in the red spinny chairs. (In retrospect, spinny chairs were a mistake. One child spun so hard that the whole back of his chair broke.)
The brown desk along the back wall was going to be a “teacher’s desk”, but I’ve never once sat at it. I sit, instead, at the table with my boys, and use the teacher’s desk to hold our big supplies: paper cutter, laminator, and electric pencil sharpener.
This is also a bit of a “history” corner, featuring a poster of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem (before it was renovated), as well as our homemade timeline to accompany the world history textbook we’re reading.
Here’s another view of our homeschool room, from the opposite corner — the door is off to the right-hand side of the whiteboard.
We got that awesome whiteboard this past summer for $15 on Craigslist. It’s huge and I LOVE it. Magnetic whiteboards are shockingly expensive to buy brand new, so definitely stalk your Craigslist to find the right one.
(We had to be patient and use a much smaller board the first year. Finding this baby for just $15 made all that waiting worthwhile.)
Here’s a close-up of the US map, marked up with all of our road trips.
I whipped up those little labels (laminating them, of course ) and put two velcro dots on each drawer, intending for my kiddos to move over the label when they finished their work from that drawer for the day.
As it turns out, the workbox system totally didn’t work for us (despite it being the darling of Pinterest). So now we just use the drawers to store the boys’ books and supplies for their various subjects.
(This was actually a really good learning experience for me. I got so fixated on making the workboxes ‘Pinterest perfect’ that I wasted a ton of time on silly details. If you find yourself obsessing over some perfectly photographed detail you see on Pinterest, step away.)
Also, while the drawer system is a great idea in theory, in practice, I’ll tell you that I’ve not been thrilled with this particular one. It’s not especially stable. This might be an occupational hazard, as the drawers are holding heavy textbooks, which may be more than they’re designed for.
Along the fourth wall of our room is this closet. When we decided to homeschool, we knew right away that our guestroom would be the prefect classroom. One of the plusses was that it had a closet. To make it more functional, my husband removed the hanging rod and installed these shelves for us, which have been wonderful for keeping our stuff organized – and out of sight.
I keep curriculum and teacher’s manuals in here, as well as manipulatives, games and school supplies. I picked up the green-handled storage boxes at Walmart; from Target, I got the blue lidded shoe boxes (usually around $1 a piece) and the cardboard magazine boxes (2/$1 in the One Spot).
While some of the manipulatives were supplies we already had on hand — like the counters, which are actually Othello pieces (a game we owned already) — most of the manipulatives were provided by the homeschool program we are a part of thru the state of Kansas. I wrote more about our homeschool “school district” in this Homeschool FAQ.
On one of the folding doors of the closet, we hang this map of Israel (purchased HERE). Along the back wall of our classroom, you can see my 2nd grader’s Sight Word Wall, which I made out of poster board.
On the blue section, we hang up new sight words using paperclips (I cut small slits in the posterboard with an exacto knife and then hung the paper clips over them). Once the words have been mastered, we glue them to the board in alphabetical order.
Here’s another view of the Sight Word Wall, along with our All About Spelling magnetic whiteboard.
All About Spelling is an amazing curriculum, which I’ve been using this year with my second grader. I recently wrote up a very detailed review of All About Spelling. I think it’s such a wonderful program for anyone whose child may be struggling with spelling — whether you homeschool or not.
To the left of the closet, we have our calendar corner – with both an English and a Hebrew calendar. Would you believe that until I started homeschooling, I could never remember the Hebrew months in order? I made up a little song to teach my kids — and now I know them, too.
I don’t use the calendars as much this year, with a 2nd and 5th grader, as I did last year with my then 1st grader. My 4 year-old daughter actually likes to update it, so we’re transitioning her into that role.
One of my favorite things in our homeschool is this spinning supply caddy, which we keep well stocked with all of my bargain school supply finds.
You can buy this same caddy at Michael’s in the scrapbooking supplies aisle, but be warned — it’s not cheap (last I checked, it was about $45 – $48 retail). I waited for a 50% off coupon to make it a more palatable purchase.
I keep all of my teacher’s manuals and curriculum guides in this tote bag, which also contains my personal supply of pens, highlighters, pencils, scissors, crayons and sticky flags.
Each weekend, I bright this bag upstairs to plan the next week’s lesson’s plans. It’s my teacher’s “office” — in a bag.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of our homeschool classroom! Please let me know if you have any questions.