Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh where, oh where, did my little school go?

Today I'm going to show you around our "school".  Last year I had a school room at the start of the year, it was a combo school and play room.  About two months into the school year I got fed up with our kids' sleep issues and we concluded that we needed to split the kids into two bedrooms.  This meant that KOJ and I had to move to the downstairs bedroom and we would have no more play room.  I was a bit apprehensive at first.  It was a lot of work if it didn't work out well.  But we had to do something so move we did.  And in the move the toys went up to the two kids' bedrooms and the landing became our school room.  But about three months after that I was once again fed up with the kids getting into all my supplies and dumping every single toy on the floor all the time when I couldn't constantly be upstairs with them.  So we moved ALL our school stuff and about 3/4 of the toys downstairs.  A few toys found a house in our living room and the rest went into the laundry room.  We moved the kids' dressers out of the laundry room and up to the landing.  Then we put a lock on the laundry room door.  Which we rarely use. lol Irony.  One wall of storage became my school storage, one wall became our toy check out system which doesn't work the way I originally intended but still works pretty well none the less.  The third wall has our washer and dryer and the shelves in between house our bins of household stuff - nails, screws, tools, etc., KOJ's board game collection, and laundry hampers for doing laundry.

This year when I was preparing in my head for the coming school year I thought a lot about what our "school" should look like.  At one time our house looked like a preschool or daycare and it came to annoy me.  It felt like children had overtaken every inch of our home.  So I took most of that down.  I've decluttered through our school stuff several times and I've found different and more effective ways of organizing and housing things.  After looking around on Pinterest and being inspired by a friend I knew I wanted to create centers throughout my home but I didn't want it looking like a childcare again.  So I began.  First I realized I MUST have a writing/art center and so I created this corner:

Now the shelves on the wall have been there since we moved in and already had our art stuff on them, the white shelf on the floor has been there for a while but I added the caddy of stickers, colored pencils, regular pencils, a sharpener and eraser.  The hooks to the right have our "smocks" and a couple of towel bibs for Sierra and a little tin pail of crayons.  I added the black wall files this last week to hold paper, construction paper etc.  The top shelf will have rotating writing tools, right now it has some dry erase stuff and learn to draw books.  The play dough and scrap paper are there full time.

Then I decided that I wanted a math center.  My "desk" mostly just sits and collects STUFF.  What a waste.  So I had a brainstorm.  I really just needed storage for all the papers and my teacher books etc.  So I moved that all here:

Please ignore the mess.  It's not completely organized yet but it's suitable for starting school anyway.  The filing cabinet holds the Letter of the Week curriculum for Sawyer and also various school stuff organized by themes and seasons etc.

That cleared of my "desk" and it is now our math and science center.

The green tray will hold our science supplies for each week.  The blue shelves have the boys' writing journals and calendar notebooks and the green bins will have different math activities each week that Colton will be able to play with during his math time.

Next to that center is the kids' computer:

And all of our math manipulatives are up on that shelf above.  Kayd is using Math U See this year and he will do it here on the computer at the math center table.  Very convenient.

We'll do our reading on the couches:

Since we moved the toys back downstairs we keep the toys the kids are actively using in the living room.  This will be a play area for Sawyer and Sierra during their free time while I work with the older two boys.

The white shelves have Sierra's toys and underneath them will be three blue trays that will be her tot trays for the week.  I change out the toys on the shelves every month or so.  The drawer units are the boys' toys.  Trains and tracks, paper airplanes, legos, trio blocks, hot wheel cars at the moment.  Those get traded out too.

Sawyer and Sierra have little desks in the living room too:
I put cork board up on the back of the shelves and will pin up name plates for each of them and current artwork.  I also like that it keeps them separated from Kayd and Colton, hopefully this way they'll be less of a distraction to the older two boys.

For the stuff we use regularly, every day or every week I have it stored here:
Kayd's school books are in one drawer, Colton's k-4 hands on stuff is a drawer, science books, geography books, etc.  I love that it's hidden away but right at my fingertips in the center of our schooling area.

And this is the storage in the laundry room with the stuff that will be rotated less frequently:

The kids do still have some toys up in their rooms but a limited number and most of the kids' books are up in their rooms as well so should it become necessary I can shoo the free play kids up that direction to work with fewer distractions with the older boys.

And that is where my little school went.  All over the first floor of the house.  But I think it's going to work MUCH better than the set up we had going on last year which was much less organized and more chaotic.

I'm joining up once again with the "not" back to school blog hop this week so go check out all the other great "schools" out there!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


  1. I've thought about a check out system for toys many times, but never followed through. I like the idea of the centers. I hope this works well for you.

    1. I LOVE having the majority of the toys where the kids aren't supposed to go. It really helps cut clean up time. Thanks for stopping by my blog!