Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boxes, Binders, Bins and Bags (Part 2)

I thought I'd write a little about how I store all the various books and school supplies that come with homeschooling. Home organization is something I am always working on. Trying to keep the house orderly and clean is difficult with 5 children, but having them home all day makes it even more difficult. I'm not complaining - I LOVE having my children home. I'm just stating a fact. A house that is lived in all day is going to get messy and require cleaning more often. One of the ways I am trying to keep things orderly is by getting rid of the extra "stuff" we have. For one thing I don't have a lot of pretty things sitting around. It 's not that I don't want them, it's that they require dusting, which is something I don't want to spend all day doing. There is also the risk of things getting broken. So, for now, our house is very "utilitarian". When my children are all a little older, I will happily decorate to my heart's content.

Now, for the homeschool stuff. I use a system of baskets, boxes and bags to keep things in. I also use my dining room china hutch and bookshelves in the school room. I'll try to go through each room and explain what sort of homeschooling things we do there and how I store the necessary materials.

We begin our day in the Sunroom. This is my favorite room in the house. It was a screened in porch at one time. We remodeled in order to use it year round because we enjoyed the view of the woods and river that are behind our house. You can see there is not much furniture here - something I hope to remedy some day. We gather here for a family morning prayer and I read a picture book or some other reading about the current feast day on our Liturgical Calendar. I will tie an art lesson in with this too, which I will write more about below. We call this time our morning meeting and make sure to discuss anything new or different on our schedule for the day. After that, we do religion in this room. I work individually with the kids one at a time. The children I am not working with are busy with independent work or sometimes they may be able to start on their art lesson. I don't need a whole lot of supplies for this time of day. What I do use fits into these two baskets that I store behind one of the rockers.

After Religion, we move to the dining room table for art. I've decided to move art to an early time of the day because I have a habit of putting it off, and then we don't get to it. I'll be tying many of our art lessons in with what we are doing for Religion so it naturally follows. The window sill behind the table is where I put our "home altar". It's decor changes with the church seasons. For now, we have our statue of the Good Shepherd there, on a green cloth because it is ordinary time. Social Butterfly made the basket, which holds our collection of holy cards, and the wreath which our statue of Mary is standing in.

This is the china hutch in which I store the art supplies. Each drawer holds a different medium - the watercolors drawer holds paints, a container of brushes, and paint palletes. The coloring drawer holds crayons and markers. The clay drawer holds modeling and Sculpey Clay and clay tools. The paper drawer holds drawing paper and construction paper. In other drawers there are pencils, colored pencils, block crayons, and rubbing plates. There are more art supplies in the cabinets underneath, where I also store items for our home altar and table cloths for the table. I don't know what I would do without this china hutch!

After Religion and Art we head down to the school room where the bulk of our school materials are stored. Most everything goes on the book shelves that line the back wall. I also have a book shelf between the windows, and cabinet space against the other wall. The kids have desks in which they can store the books that they are currently using. However, since we started using workboxes (another post) the boys don't really use the desk drawers for books.

Later, in the afternoon we have tea time. The kids and I enjoy sitting on the couch in the living room for this time of day. I keep a basket there, filled with the books we are reading, or will read, during this time. In the first picture, can you see the over-stuffed bag that is peaking out from the corner of the couch? That's my home office. Really! I'll write more about that later. Tea Time is one of the favorite parts of our day. Unfortunately, because it is in the afternoon, after all the other school work is done, it sometimes gets pushed out by extra curricular activities. I try to fit it in at least 2 or 3 times a week though. When I don't, we all miss it.

In the next posts, I will talk about our workboxes a bit more, and describe how I do my planning for our homeschool.

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