I have been wanting to post about our learning area and my routine for lesson planning for a long time now. I find everyone else’s pictures and routines so interesting and it is funny how similar people with the same values and goals can be about their routines.
Our learning/playroom is actually the basement which Dave and his dad finished beautifully almost four years ago. It is slightly less beautiful now, it needs a serious paint job, but it still functions wonderfully.
My school closet is floor to ceiling with bi-fold doors for maximum space. It is next to the toy closet. The toy closet is pretty well organized and I think sparse for a family with seven children. I like it this way. Everything here is loved and played with. I don’t have space for stuff just to "have". The top shelves are board games and things with small pieces that have to be kept away from babies. The middle shelf has Kelli and Kevin’s favorite toys. A tea set, tool box and box of musical toys, the Hess trucks, Calico Critters, and a pirate ship. The bottom shelf has a box of cars, a box of people, some Plan City toys and a school bus or two. The floor has a HUGE box of dolls and doll clothes, felt boards and a bin of baby toys (mostly wooden). There is also a basket of baby dolls near my desk.
The school closet also functions as a craft area. The floor has three bins of craft materials including items like cardboard, paper towel tubes and various bits and pieces I save with the idea that I will use them for something. When the bins get too full I have a craft time on the next rainy day and put out a bunch of the stuff with some glue and paints and let everyone get busy.
The next shelf up is bins of paper; computer paper, construction paper, notebook paper and scrapbook paper. Also the page protectors. I have a stack of math manipuatives on that shelf and in the dark corner are the wooden puzzles. There is also a basket which I generally put the craft/art supplies that will be used that week. Right now there is some valentine stuff and things recommended by Cay to use for a St. Brigid craft. We will be reading Brigid’s Cloak again this week. This time we will use Catholic Mosaic as a study guide.
Up another shelf are the bigger kids liturgical binders, a few homeschool books I use frequently, some Seton readers that are in the que to be read this year, a box of Fr. Lovasik books and a basket holding file folder games and pending materials.
Up another shelf are cardboard magazine holders I bought from IKEA each labeled with a subject. They contain resources not in current use. There are also some plastic jars (again, from IKEA) that hold small craft items, scissors, glue sticks and paint brushes. I have some small boxes with flash cards on this shelf as well. The top shelf is the "no-no"shelf. Paint, clay, play-doh, glitter, science experiments, beads and anything else I don’t want a three year old to have access to.
When you close up the toy closet you are faced with Kelli’s alphabet wall. We do a letter a week and she is enjoying decorating the big cardboard letters. Next to the closets is a table that houses our little box of drawers filled with supplies like tape, rubber bands, staples and the like and the blue folder box. The box has a folder for each child and when they complete a test or essay it goes in the folder. This makes gathering paperwork to send into Seton a great deal easier.
This is the toddler bookshelf and where I gather books for the book baskets that end up around the house.Right now we have a winter basket, that is still somewhat in progress, a train basket for Kevin, a saint basket filled with all of our lovely saint biographies and picture books. On top there is a board book basket and our Jan Brett basket. There is a little table on the other side which has an easy reader basket. Next to that is a comfy chair. The couch and the chair are four years old and look like they are twenty. There is no hiding that they have been well used and slipcovers are on the list of stuff to buy soon. This little corner gets much use and the baskets are often moved out so blankets and pillows can be moved in to make a cozy reading nook.
Here is a shelf that Dave made. It runs over the couch and currently contains our spoon saints, a small decorative globe and some big kid books.
Closer view of the spoon saints.
This is my little corner. Yes, you see two computers. The laptop is mine and mine alone. Since I am equipped with wireless internet it travels around with me. Mostly it lives in the kitchen but during school time it is in the learning room. I use it to plan out our lessons and to blog and do just about everything. The PC is mostly for the children. Dave has his own laptop as well. More about my lesson planning process in a follow-up post since this is taking a long time and there are some hungry twins here.