This past Friday and Saturday we had the pleasure of visiting our friends Brandon and Rebecca down in Georgia. They have four children just like us and with all 8 together the ages are 9, 9 ,8, 7, 4, 4, 1, and 1!! Everybody has a buddy so it works out perfectly. We each also have 2 boys and 2 girls!
Brandon and Rebecca began homeschooling their children several years ago, but due to moving and job situations, their oldest two attended a private Christian school the past two years. This year they decided it was best to bring them back home. Since it’s quite hot in Georgia in the summer, they began school early in order to have time off in the fall. They are currently in their 10th week of school...ah-mazing!
One thing that Rebecca knew she wanted from the get-go was a dedicated space for school. While their home isn’t tiny, it’s not huge either so they had to be creative. Using the fourth bedroom wasn’t an option, so they took what would have been the formal dining room that branches off of the living room and made it their homeschool room. Brilliant!
With measurements of walls in hand, they made a trip to Ikea and in one day had everything they needed to set up their homeschool space. Makes me love Ikea even more!
Rebecca and I were talking about the cost aspect of setting up a homeschool room and she made the comment that even though it can be relatively expensive, it was still only about 1/8 the cost of a years’ tuition at the private school. One-eighth!!
Don't you love her perspective? It’s pretty easy to stress out about all the money homeschooling seems to cost, but when you think about what you’d spend to put them in a private and/or Christian school, it doesn’t even compare. Using our resources to create a learning environment for our children is an investment that will reap benefits for many, many years to come!
Everything in this school room is very organized. All of the books and supplies are easy to find and accessible for all of the children. This is something I've really had to learn in my own home....I can't tell you how much time I've wasted getting things out for my kids simply because I didn't put it at their level!
I also really liked the "command central" set up on the wall opposite the desks. There's storage on the wall, a place for the printer, and a magnetic whiteboard with the daily schedule for each child posted.
Can you see her timeline? This is such a great idea for a small space! Currently our timeline is in a book, but I am very tempted to use this method so my children can see it every day. She made the timeline out of strips of black poster board and a white marker. Easy, peasy.
What I love most about their homeschool room is that it is not secluded from the rest of their home. The kitchen, living room and school room feel like one big open area. It’s bright and airy and just looks like a fun place to be. It seriously sucks you in…I can’t tell you how many times we found ourselves gravitating to the “school room!”
Brandon and Rebecca use a Charlotte Mason/Classical approach to homeschooling and this school room seems to fit that philosophy so well in that learning isn’t just a formal thing that you do, it’s a part of life. It shouldn’t be restricted to a certain time or place, but should flow naturally throughout your day. And with their living area all connected, it definitely invites learning!
I will confess that this area was pretty challenging to photograph because there is a pillar in the way! If you were to back up into the living room, this is your view.
In the bottom right hand corner is a little "play area" for their baby. She LOVES it. It's much different than a playpen because she can come and go as she pleases, but it was funny how much Lucy and their little girl liked being in there! Several times I found them both in there playing quite happily. And don't mind the thing hanging from the ceiling...it's actually a piece of exercise equipment that's pretty cool! This particular pic was also taken before Rebecca could take down the balloons they had on the wall for their solar system for science. =) She just wanted to make sure you knew what the quirks were in this picture!
Oh, and she said she's spray painting that chandelier ASAP. =D
Billy Bookcases (these are the two on the ends of the row of desks)
Besta Shelf Unit with Glass Doors (above the single desk with the pink laptop)
Expedit Shelving Unit (left corner next to couch)
Drawer Unit (for printer and supplies)
Drawer Units (between desks)
Visiting with Brandon and Rebecca and their little clan was so refreshing, encouraging and inspiring. Even though our visit seemed much too short, I came home with my cup overflowing and feeling ready to tackle all of our remaining school projects.
I hope you've enjoyed the school room tour and that perhaps like myself, you'll come away with some great ideas on how to use your space.
Thank you again, Brandon and Rebecca for sharing your home school room with us!