A Tour Around Our School Room

04 Jan

My favourite blog entries are those where the reader is invited into the blogger’s home for a virtual tour, in particular a tour of their school room.   So I’d like to return the favour and invite you all to look around my homeschool room.

This photo was taken from the thoroughfare between my dining area and kitchen looking to the right over to our homeschool table area:

This next photo was taken from the homeschool table side of the room towards the left side of the room where we do our reading:

This room was probably designed to be an informal lounge, family room or recreation type area and technically we use it for all those things but for us it is our homeschooling room.

The dining room and kitchen are part of this room as well which I love as I can be working in the kitchen and still teaching or supervising activities.

I can even see the homeschool room from the laundry as there are two features holes in the wall behind the homeschool table and one of them gives a direct view to my laundry.  (You can just see the feature hole I’m talking about in the first photo).

Now down to the specific details….

This shelf, to the left of the red couch, houses all of our children’s fiction picture books.

The blue box beside the shelf is where I’ve asked the boys to put their books once they’ve finished reading.  Before the introduction of the blue box I’d find a trillion picture books lying on the floor in front of the shelf or tossed all over the couch.  Ideally I’d like them to put the books back in the shelf themselves.  However the books are quite tightly packed into the shelf and it’s difficult for the boys to return them without the books coming to harm.  So for now I’m happy with the blue box plan.

This bookshelf holds a mish mash of titles and is probably the second most visited shelf in the house (the first being the picture book shelf).

Here’s a closer view of the shelves:

The top shelf holds my cook books and various books from my hubby’s youth.  The next two shelves down hold my general homeschool titles, printed ebooks and some homeschool curriculum as well.

The next shelf down (the third from the bottom) is my overflow and daily use shelf.  It’s got a bit of everything plus it also holds the books we are currently reading and will be reading in the near future.  The second shelf from the bottom houses workbooks, textbooks and readers that we’re not yet using and the bottom shelf is our myth, legend, fairytale and poetry shelf.

This box sits on the floor next to the red couch and it holds all of our Let’s Read and Find Out Science titles.  These are my favourite science books for children.  I like to have them close and easily accessible to the boys and myself as they are often our first port of call when we need a science question answered.

This is our miscellaneous toy shelf.  It houses all the odds and ends that aren’t parts of sets, that are used regularly (eg. small bouncey balls, mini Magnadoodles, a selection of cars and trains, old wallets and mobile phone), that are well loved but strange items (eg light switches, keypads, paddlocks, old keys) or that won’t be staying in the house long (eg.  Happy Meal toys or other cheap junk).

This display easel was rescued from a teacher who no longer loved it.  My little men and their daddy spent an afternoon giving it a new coat of paint and voila…we have a place to display our learning posters (I do not like sticking things on painted surfaces like walls so our display areas are limited to cupboard doors,  and sides of shelves).

This shelf was our old television unit.  Now it’s our rotational games and activities shelf.   I have a lot of great games and hands on resources stored in our resource cupboards but they were hardly being used as those things kept out of sight are generally out of mind too.   By bringing them out I’ve renewed interest in them and our resources are getting a lot more use.  I try to rotate to different items at least once a term.In the picture above you can also see the electric piano and computer desk (There’s a better view of the computer desk below).  The computer and desk are new this year.  My eldest is passionate about the computer and his grandparents gave him his very own computer for Christmas.  We’re now a three computer household.  Whoo hoo!  We almost  don’t have to share anymore.

In the photo above you can see more closely my resource cupboards and some of the things stored on top.  The globe is one of those Oregan Scientific ones which the boys both love and use quite a bit.  We also house our stereo on this shelf, as well as our phonically controlled reader baskets, and several mini drawer sets for our stationery supplies.

Here’s a closer view of the reading baskets.  I’ve divided our readers into two sets:  very early readers and more challenging readers.  I’ve also added any “real life” books that Ethan has found that he can now read.   I’ve collected quite a few different phonic reader sets and while I don’t “need” this many, we do enjoy having a large collection to select from.

This is our File Folder Games box.   I make our games differently to most.  I laminate the opened (but slightly cut down) coloured manilla folder and staple a ziplock bag of pieces to the back of the game.   I find that this makes the games more durable and easier to use.

Above you can see our little child-sized desk.  I never intended to buy the boys “little” desks as I preferred for them to work at the big table.   However, I discovered that when you are learning to write you really need a little table just your size.  Thankfully I didn’t have to buy one.  This table and chair set is part of our three piece “grow with you” type highchair set.  If I turn the table on its end the chair slots into place and you just have to add the tray and it’s a high chair again.  You can also remove the table base to create a lower chair setting.  It’s a very handy piece of furniture for when guests arrive with little ones.

Beside the blue desk is our four drawer set.  I keep our current workbooks in these drawers.  The boys each have one drawer.  One of the remaining drawers is for my planning bits and pieces and the bottom drawer is a miscellaneous type drawer (eg.  file folder games waiting to be cut out, printouts waiting to be read).

On the white shelves you can also see the red mini drawer set which houses everyday stationery (one drawer for pencils, one for pens, one for wind up crayons and one for erasers, scissors, staplers etc).  Next to that you can see a small cd rack that Brayden made for me.   This houses our most used music and audio.

This is our Nature display area on my raised kitchen bench.   (I get the back view of this display when I’m at the sink.  You can also see this display in the photo below.  Look for the bottle of green liquid.).  This area kind of evolved through need as more and more bits of nature, that I was not permitted to throw out, were collected.  So now, when the boys bring home another leaf, rock or shell I have a home for it that meets my orderly needs and my boys need to keep and display their “treasures”.   Oh and the green liquid in the bottle is our oil and water experiment which they also couldn’t part with.

These cupboards were a superb idea that our builder had for the often wasted space under our kitchen benches.  These cupboards now house some of my homeschooling resources.   I also use the doors of these cupboards to display our work.  At present they’ve been cleared off waiting for the new school year’s work.  (In Australia we start school in late January, after our long summer holidays).Below is a closer view of the contents of these two cupboards:

This is our science cupboard although various items live in there.  In this cupboard you can find things like skeleton models, human body models, magnifying glasses, insect catchers, compasses, binoculars, magnets, a bird nest, light bulbs and wires, and magnet construction sets.  There’s also several language items like alphabet puzzles, wooden letters and word puzzle sets.  Our 3D shape set is also in here.

This is our math cupboard…well mostly math.  There’s a variety of different card games, flash cards, activity kits and math equipment.   We’ve also got our Hot Dot Pens and cards in here as well as our phonics boxes and geography card games.Below are photos of the contents of the white resource cupboards you saw in the earlier photos.  The ones covered with Letterland pictures.

In this cupboard (which sits on top of another cupboard) I keep the boys’  folders, work samples, my printed and comb bound journals, completed workbooks and textbooks and our one and only lapbook so far.  On top of this cupboard you can see our Playmobile airport and never quite completed clay Egyptian mummy craft.

This cupboard is beneath the previous cupboard I described.  It holds all of our educational games and a few human body models as well.

This cupboard is next in the line and contains a hodge podge of things.  Down the bottom in the clear box you can see our musical instrument box, on top of that are several puzzle boxes and a wooden xylophone.  To the side there are some MAB block sets and Coko Letter brick sets.On the first shelf you can see our jumbo threading beads, our pattern block box beneath that, our play money box in the clear box in the middle and several magnet letter and numeral sets in the blue tins.  To the side there are more Coko letter brick sets and a puzzle.

The paper you can see at the top of the cupboard is the boys’ favourite toy.  It’s their homemade road mat for their cars.  And to think I spent all that money on toys!


Now this cupboard is the messiest but it’s just one of those places (like our plastics cupboards/drawers) where it’s not possible to make it tidy.  This cupboard mostly contains the homemade materials and games that I have made over the years.  (I was a school teacher before a homeschooling mum so I’ve been making educational resources so quite some time).  I also keep our various Stile and Vertiech sets in here along with counters and my many dice (I love dice.  There are sooo many different useful sorts.  Okay, yes, I’m weird) .Our craft cupboard isn’t in the homeschool room.  It’s down the hallway just off from the homeschool room.  It was designed to be a linen cupboard but who needs that many towels and sheets, so it’s now a craft cupboard.

There’s a LOT of stuff crammed into this one little cupboard.  Believe it or not I just threw out several bags full of stuff in an attempt to make more room.  But the craft items just exhaled, spread out and took up the space I made!  Thankfully I managed to keep the top shelf to store our science kits.  That was one of the main purposes I had for cleaning out the cupboard in the first place.

These are the new science kits that I purchased at a hugely discounted sale before Christmas.   We’re going to have a wonderful year exploring them.  The boys have already used the Magnet kit.

This is our painting and glue shelf.  One of the white baskets contains everything we need for painting.  I just have to pull out the basket, hand out the smocks and open the paint pots.  The other white basket contains all of our other painting materials:  powdered paint, shaving cream for finger painting, rollers, waterpaint palettes, unusual utensils for paint prints, splatter paint screens etc.   Between the baskets you can see rolls of contact, foil, tracing paper and brown paper.  All are great for different art projects.Yes I know that’s a lot of glue you can see in the icecream container.  Especially since I only have TWO children.  But I can explain…honestly…in the past I’ve done a lot of craft sessions with homeschool groups and so the extra bottles of glue always come in handy.

The glitter is kept on this VERY HIGH UP shelf way out of sight….yes even from yourselves…horrid stuff that it is.

This shelf is an all sorts type of shelf.  There’s various collage type items in the clear chinese dishes, lots of art mediums (watercolour crayons, oil pastels, soft pastels, charcoal etc), tape dispensers, enough tape of all sorts to keep the biggest box construction fanatics happy for a lifetime, fancy scissors, foam stickers, and to the back there are piles of miscellaneous paper, card and material.

This shelf contains much the same sort of stuff as the last, although we also keep stickers and purchased art kits here.

And finally the last shelf…here you’ll find magazines galore, all sorts of coloured paper and card, a box of crepe paper and two boxes of miscellaneous crafty things that I don’t want the boys to have daily access to.So that was our homeschool room.  Now take one last look at it …

…because you may never see it this clean again.

Oh… did I forget to mention that it was not photographed in it’s natural state.



Posted by on January 4, 2009 in Resources and Organising


2 responses to “A Tour Around Our School Room

  1. joprincesswarrior

    January 7, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Wow! You have so much stuff. I'm feeling that my home school supplies are well, inadequate after seeing this. LOL. I've been to your place and I didn;t realise how many hidey holes you have for all the resources. 🙂

    How wonderful that you have another computer. Are they letterland posters I see?

    Great job! I know that I will be calling on you for endless advice. xo

  2. knechtslodge

    January 8, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Your homeschool room looks fabulous. So many items to choose from on a daily basis. I am enjoying your blog, very informative. It would be great to hear some of the differences of homeschooling in Australia as opposed to the United States.


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