Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Visit To Our Classroom

As I mentioned in my post yesterday I have been busy sprucing up the house and one of my projects has been to revamp our homeschool classroom. Santa brought us a bunch of fun new things and I had to make room for them in our already very full little loft. I do apologize that these pics are not the greatest and that I can't get a great shot of the whole room at once but keep in mind this space is quite small and it's hard to find a good angle to capture the whole space at once. So I will try to take you on a little tour. Please forgive the crazy amount of photos...but if you are anything like me, you are a wee bit nosey and love to see as many details as possible to gather ideas.

 This is the view as you first walk into the loft. Our table is centered in the room and the room is surrounded by shelves on all four sides. The first thing you see when you walk in is our nifty map set up. I had to get very creative with this because we have very little wall fact, pretty much none! So, here's what I did...

I took two maps, one world map and one of the US and placed them back to back and mounted them on lathing strips with white duct tape and then added eye hooks to the top of the map and suspended it from the ceiling. Pretty clever...huh. If I need to switch maps I just flip it around. Below the map I have book shelves which house all kinds of goodies. 

All kinds of reading and math games, geography puzzles. wooden puzzles and games, our collection of Froebel Gifts and various Montessori items and some of our science kits and games. Basically lots of stuff!

On the top of the shelves I have all kinds of fun Geography items including our globe, puzzles, games, our collection of international money, post cards from around the world and treasures of things we have collected on trips we have taken to Europe and Asia. 

Then on either side of the bookshelves I have these awesome units from Ikea (my all time favorite place  for shopping!) These are from their Trofast collection and are perfect for all kinds of treasures. On this side we have all kinds of science equipment, Lego Education sets, K'nex, and various other sciencey type stuff and on top are our beloved math gnomes and an abacus. 

Moving on....if you then look to the right we have our library... lots and lots of books!!! Everything from Dr. Suess to Einstein and just about everything else in between. But that still doesn't stop me from adding to it all the time. But our shelves are pretty much full so I have to be careful. 

above the library we have more science items and various other treasures, but the best part is our home made solar system that the kids and I created. This was so much fun to make and the kids absolutely love it and have made me promise to never, ever get rid of it! It's made completely out of paper and each planet is labeled. Then we made strands of stars out of glittery paper to hang in between. Love love love this!!!!

Okay, now moving back to the left again past the map and in the corner of the loft is the nerve center of our classroom . . . our collection of curriculum...Oi! Who knew there were so many choices... and with 4 kids, in four different grades and with four different learning styles it good to have lots of different choices on hand. Of course it's all organized by subject and grade level . . . can you say "ODC"!

Next we move to the window which brings in lots of beautiful sunlight into our space and below the window I have our creative writing center... this has been such a wonderful addition to our space. Each of the kids have their our writing journal and I have gathered all kinds of goodies from various dollar bins at Target, Michaels, and of course the Dollar Tree to give them lots of options for creative writing. I also have mason jars and little tin buckets filled with fun pens and pencils for writing with...currently we are in love with gel pens.

Below, in the cubbies each of the kids have baskets where we keep projects we are currently working on, workbooks, etc. and below that are storage boxes with misc. treasures, holiday items, recycled art materials, and art projects. 

To the left of the writing center is yet another bookcase with more books...mostly art books, and mommy books with ideas for creative learning inspiration. It's also where we have our music CD's and educational videos. Down below (not shown) are more of my tools like my paper cutter, laminating machine, and my new book binding gadget which I got for Christmas. . . perfect for making our own books and keeping the kids work together.

okay the tour is almost done...just one more wall to go.

But this one is impressive. It's our Art Center...
I have to admit, this was a challenge to get all our stuff into this space because we have a lot of art stuff!

Especially when I wanted the kids to have easy access to everything, so when they want to be creative it's all at their fingertips. I used a little bit of everything here...mason jars to hold all those little items like beads, buttons, wiggly eyes, etc. I wasn't thrilled about the use of plastic bins but when it comes to messy items like paints I thought it was practical. I was also on the fence about the plastic drawer units but I finally gave in when I realized how much stuff we had and few other options to hold it all in such a small space. They are not my favorite part of the room but, they do work perfectly!

Down below are shelves of paper....lots of paper in all shapes, sizes and colors...

and more tools for creativity...pencils, pens, markers, crayons, etc.etc.

and finally we had to add this shelf to hold even more art and crafting supplies...this actually works really well as I have each of the bins labels and organized into different activities such as yarn 7 felt, clay, funky foam, rubber stamps, etc.

and on our table we have this nifty little gizmo...perfect for holding pencils, pens, markers, rulers, etc.etc. We also use "Mac" (not shown) our apple laptop for doing math and research. 

This ends our tour for today...I hope you enjoyed your visit and that maybe you got a few ideas to use yourself. I know, I love peeking into other peoples spaces to see how they have made it work for their family and thankfully this space is now finally working for us. I just wish it were about twice the size.