A peek into our “school room”

This past week I had a request from some moms on Facebook to share more info (including pics) about our “Art Area”, and I thought since its simply a corner of our “school room,” I’d include info/pics about the entire room.

I’ve worked very hard on this room…its been a long time in the making. But its nowhere near where I want it to be yet. In fact, today when I took the pictures, not only is it not organized and set up the way I am happy with yet, but it was pretty messy. But since I made a point today in another post of hating to read blogs where everything is perfect, I decided to just post the pictures as-is. Its the reality of our lives and our room right now, so there ya go…

This room is a garage conversion…converted over 30 years ago by previous owners but recently completely remodeled (after being destroyed by water damage & mold, which is another story for another day) in recent months (finally! after several years of being stuck in limbo!) and it is now our pride and joy!

The room was originally a 2 car garage and is now split into 2 rooms, with my husband’s studio (he’s a video photographer) in one corner, and the rest of the room an L-shaped play/school room. One part of the L is our “Art Area,” which I had linoleum put in as opposed to the carpet of the rest of the room:

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In this picture you can see our long art bureau to the left, which holds tons of art supplies and also a bunch of our school books and supplies.

You can also see the door to the outside straight ahead and the door to the laundry room to the left, past the bulletin board. Both are metallic (one is made of metal, one was painted with metallic paint), so magnets stick to them and both are painted with periwinkle chalkboard paint. A really fun addition to the room! They had a blast drawing messages and robot pictures on them for my son’s recent robot themed birthday party! 🙂

Another fun thing in the room is that I’ve strung fishing line to wall hooks along the ceiling and use clothespins the kids painted in bright colors to string their artwork to the walls up high. I plan to rotate this artwork regularly, but they are so prolific that I don’t see it happening more than a couple times a year maybe, if I’m lucky! LOL!

Above the art bureau is a huge (purple paper covered) bulletin board I got from the preschool I used to work at when it went out of business. DSCF0458This sucker measures about 7ftX4ft and is completely in the children’s hands as far as what goes up on it. (The color of the paper was chosen by my daughter.) Right now they’ve decided upon an ancient Egyptian theme and just yesterday started drawing pictures to put up on it. I dug out all our ancient Egypt books (& will be ordering a ton from the library by the end of the week, along with videos and anything else I can find on the subject) and put them out on the bureau after clearing it of its previous sculptures and clutter, and we are now building this area into a sort of family version of a museum exhibit on ancient Egypt! Very exciting! I will post pictures as it grows and develops, of course! Plans include adding some ancient Egypt maps and a timeline and pics of any and all activities of an Egyptian nature. My mom will be working with both kids to help them make costumes, similar to what you see the kids playing in “The Egypt Game” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (an EXCELLENT book, I might add!) and we will pursue some cooking and other projects that I have collected on the subject. This will all be detailed in later posts.

Here’s a close-up view of the art shelves:

DSCF0468Pretty messy right now, but its a work in progress.

I have set up the shelves so that the bottom half is full of things I want my kids to see regularly so as to inspire their creativity. The bottom drawers are see-through and labeled with all sorts of art supplies (and they rarely remember to close the drawers, as is evident in the picture. sigh) The tubs above that are their “school boxes,” which will eventually be the current items I want them to regularly explore and work with relating to their learning…journals, drawing pads, their own crayons/markers, workbooks, draw/wipe mats for practicing letters (print for my 5yr old, cursive for my 9.5yr old), etc…Right now its not quite set up to my liking yet since there’s far too many things in them…that will be remedied soon as I find the time to sort through it all.

Above the school boxes are more art supplies…things to be brought to the table as needed…glitter, woodles, foam shapes, sequins, colored rice, colored pasta, etc…things I’ve mostly purchased from Discount School Supply in bulk. (LOOOOOOOOOVE DSS!!!)

Above that are lots of books and various other things for homeschooling that I store up out of the children’s reach, to be brought down as needed.

On the side of the shelves there are hanging folders which I plan to use like the workbox system you see talked about here. I’ve not had the time to set them up yet, though. More on that when its ready!

Next to the shelves, there are also rolls of butcher paper and pegs that hold paint smocks, as well as a can with magnet letters/numbers and a basket with chalkboard chalk and erasers.

Our table is used constantly and is actually pretty tidy in this pic compared to most DSCF0467days! The table and chairs were also hand-me-downs from the school I used to work at. Gotta love laminate topped preschool tables! This one is quite large (3ftX6ft) and I thought would take up too much of the space, but its proven to be a wonderful place to spread out and get creative! And the extra width allows for things to be stored underneath, since space is very limited in the entire area.

I’ve got small bins (from hardware supply store…they are the blue ones on the right back part of the table) of supplies that are regularly used on the table at all times: scissors, tape, staples/staplers, etc… and a shallow box (from Costco, they have all sorts of great boxes they throw out there!) that was spray painted silver for my son’s robot party and now holds small-medium sized recyclables for creative minds to have on hand for projects as they come to them. I also have a larger box with more recyclables under the table for the larger items and items of which I have a higher quantity. TP tubes and egg cartons just multiply regularly, don’t you find? I like to have something in front of them at all times to inspire their creativity, so I try to keep that shallow box full of a rotating variety of interesting items.

More organizing and adding/rotating of supplies to be done in the near future to this room, but I’ve been quite impressed at how much use the room has already gotten on a regular basis since it became available to the children about 2 months ago.

This is a pretty regular scene:

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Now on to the rest of the room…

I’m not much of a photographer, so please forgive the crappy pics. 🙂

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This is my favorite part of the room…the furniture clashes, I know, but that will be remedied as soon as I can find covers for them (we just recently were given these pieces, so I’ve not yet had time to cover them). That chair on the left under the map is SOOOO comfy, so that’s where I spend a lot of time working on my journal and school ideas and reading. I LOVE that chair!

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Here you can see the clutter of toys…nearly half of which will be moving into my son’s new bedroom as soon as its ready. The map of Africa on the wall is because my brother is heading to Sudan next week for about 6months, so we are taking it as an opportunity to learn some about Sudan and Africa. I also bought the Geotoys Africa & Middle East puzzle, which is WAY cool because most of the pieces are in the actual shape of the countries! I’ll have to do a review of that later. We’ve also been checking out books on Sudan from the library but sadly, most are just like mini-textbooks. BOOOORING! We’ll keep looking, though.
In this pic, you can also see what lego-maniacs my kids are by the size of the tub that holds them. Big time lego-maniacs, inherited from their daddy. No joke, they literally play for HOURS every week with these things and build some amazing things!

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Here you can my husband’s studio/office doors, and the other toy shelf that is actually mostly games. I am finding that if I keep things out in the open and try to regularly rotate things that they will get used more. That’s my goal in bringing the games out of the game closet and into this room.

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This is a really dark pic, sorry, I am feeling too lazy to go take another right now…maybe I’ll replace later…This is the view of the other end of the room where the sliding glass door is and the entrance to the kitchen. the steps are great places for the kids to play and they do. Quite regularly.

Well this whole post got really long…There’s actually more I’d like to say but for now I’ll stop and let your eyes take a rest. Anyway I have to go get lunch and take my kids to homeschool park day with friends. 🙂

I’d love to hear what others do with their school rooms and better yet, see links to long blog posts about them! Leave your comments here and show me what YOU have going on in your house! 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. This is a great space! Love that you keep it real, mess and all! I recently found your podcast and am in love with it! I am doing preschool at home with my oldest, and you give me great inspiration to continue this homeschooling journey! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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