Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've moved!

I've started a new blog over on WordPress! It's time for something new, I think. All of my old posts have been transferred, so they are still available for reading. Here is the new address:

Be sure to bookmark it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The New Schoolroom!

***You should be able to click on pictures to make them bigger. At least I can, on my computer. Just click your brower's "back" button when you are done looking at them to return to the post.***

I'm finally posting the promised pictures of our new schoolroom! All of the stuff I've ordered in the last few weeks has come in, and things are finally set up the way I like them! I've still got some fine-tuning to do, this weekend and in the coming weeks, but this is the basic set-up.

I forgot to get a Way Before picture, when it was still a playroom with a floor covered in toys. All of the toys are currently sitting in the garage, waiting to be sorted, regrouped, and brought back in to the house in mixed and smaller increments. I'd like to put together a smallish box of different toys (a few animals, a few trains, a few Little People, etc), and switch things up every few weeks just to keep the kids interested in what's in the box. We have enough toys in the garage to start our own toy store, so if I can get things organized out there it's totally doable. Anyway, back to the schoolroom.....

Here is the first picture. Getting the bare bones of the room in place. We moved the futon 90 degrees (it used to take up that whole back wall), which has made a nice little computer/Mom's desk area. Those big boxes in the foreground are the kids' desks, waiting to be unpacked.

Next picture, a few days later. The desks are out and assembled (blue for Sierra, red for Tyner). The cabinet with doors is all put together (thanks Babe!). And you can see the little kids table there by the futon. You can't see it, but the whole side of the table is cracked where the seam is. I called Step2 and they are sending a replacement tabletop totally free! Great customer service!

A day or two later. I don't know if you can tell the difference from the last picture, but we switched my desk and the kids' computer desk around. The original placement was a bit awkward, and this works much better! Also different is my set of plastic shelves that have been moved in to the room and loaded up.

And now for the organize-y stuff! Here is one set of shelves. Close-ups and explanations below.

Top shelf has art stuff, well out of the reach of small hands. Next shelf down is crayons, markers, pencils, etc., and some math games. Below that is the tray for finished work and some stuff for the kids to keep their hands busy with (beads, pom-poms, tongs, lacing cards, etc.).

Next comes Zeke's set of drawers. These have a Preschool workbook that he likes to write in, some coloring pages, and his Get Ready for the Code book. Next to that is a file crate that has all the big kids' school papers (completed and still to be done). The bottom shelf has a box that is full of everything we need for science experiments for a curriculum we will be using next year. There is also a bag to recycle paper (too bad we can't recycle it anywhere locally...).

Next comes the cabinet with doors. This is where I put everything that I don't want the kids getting in to without supervision.

Top shelf has stickers and a box for tape/glue, my laminator and some files and cardstock. Next shelf is my box (picture below) and a red bucket. This bucket will eventually have beanbags in it, if I ever get off my lazy bum and make some.

Here is my box. It has everything I might need to get at quickly, but that I don't necessarily need to keep in my desk (I've got a smaller box in my desk with scissors, Post-Its [one pad in each of the kids' colors], pens, Sharpies, etc.). In this box there are lots of pens, tape, extra scissors, different glues, my label maker, calculator, index cards, and more stuff that I can't really remember right now.

The bottom three shelves of the cabinet hold all of our coloring books and games. It's not that I don't want the kids to be able to get at these, it's just that....I don't want the kids to be able to get at these. LOL. I want to keep Zeke and Emma out of these so that the pieces don't end up everywhere. I also want to make sure I know when the big kids are playing a game so that I can make sure they clean it up when they are done.

Here are the big desks. The one in the corner has the kids' computer. It doesn't have internet access, and at this point, is strictly for playing CD-ROM games. The math that both kids will be using next year will be done on the computer, so it will be used for that eventually. The drop-down desk is mine. The little pink-lidded box in there is the one I was talking about earlier.

And last but not least, here is the big kids' workspace. The area on the left (blue desk) is Sierra's, and the right is Tyner's. The set of drawers will be used for organizing their work. At this point they go at their individual work kind of willy-nilly. They know what needs to be done most of the time, but I'd still like to get it somewhat organized for them (especially since things will be a little different next year, with more subjects being introduced). Eventually the drawers will be numbered, and each kid will have a sheet hanging on the wall in front of their desk with their assignments listed on it (assignments will be numbered to match the drawers). The hope is to order their work in such a way that both kids won't need the computer (or Mom) at the same time. Oh, and the little white thing sitting on Tyner's desk? That's our little 360 degree heater that we got from Walmart for $15. The insulation's not so great in this room, but the heater does a great job of keeping things cozy. The heater only lives on Tyner's desk when the schoolroom isn't being used. Normally it sits in the middle of the floor.

I'd like to mention lighting. Most of these pictures (all except the first one) were taken at night under florescent lights with a flash. The first picture was taken during the day and shows just how bright the room really is. This part of the house gets many hours of daylight, and the room is never gloomy or dark (unless the weather outside is gloomy and dark ;).

I realize that I've failed to mention the enormous brown bookshelf that you can only see in the third picture. At this point it has wooden puzzles on the top shelf (Emma's favorite thing to do right now is to pull every.single.piece from every.single.puzzle and to throw it on the floor. I thought it best to put the puzzles up high). The next shelf down has some curriculum we aren't currently using. Eventually I would love for this bookshelf to become a curriculum library (idea stolen from a 'Pin friend!), but for now it will either be empty or will have other books on it (since our other, big bookshelf is full).

You might've also noticed the large cardboard box in the bottom left corner of the full-room shots? That box holds all of our curriculum for next year. All of our history/geography readers, all of our read-aloud books, both kids' math CDs and reading books, some art books, and Sierra's Reference Library stuff. Both kids' Bible and language arts worktexts are in a smaller box next to the big box.

Well, that's about it. I spent some time in the room this evening, hanging up maps and some posters. Once I get things on more of a routine, and get us all settled in, I will try to share some of our system with y'all (yes, Sisters, I just said "y'all"). Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The whole purpose....

...of getting a laptop was so I could blog in the evenings after Jason went to bed.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. It wasn't the WHOLE purpose, but it was definitely one of the excuses reasons I had for justifying such a big purchase. And now, here we are, two weeks later, with nary a blog post in sight.

I have a few excuses reasons for not blogging in the evenings. I've been busy reading other inspiring blogs, I've been working on the new schoolroom, I've been watching TV, I've been learning Greek, I've been Facebooking and 'Pinning. But really, they are just excuses, not reasons.

Life is exciting right now. Okay, maybe it wouldn't be exciting to some people, but it's exciting to me. Things are changing a bit around here, all while getting back to normal. The kids are getting bigger and life is settling down. But at the same time, it's more Crazy than ever.

I am really feeling the need to write, so hopefully I can motivate myself to blog more often. One of the blogs I read has really been inspiring me to find my writing style, to find the best way I can to express what's in my head and my heart. Even if it means not using proper grammar or punctuation or form

(I left the period off that sentence, just to prove that I can do it!)

Maybe I should give myself a reward each time I post. A little incentive for sharing my great wisdom with the masses (ahhhh, I'm so funny....). I wonder if I can keep my hands off my new Algebra book until I can pound out a real blog post.

And with that nerdy thought, I will say good night. After all, there are less than seven hours until my kids get out of bed demanding to be fed, and there is a baby who may wake up no less than three times in those seven hours.


P.S. I will be honest. I just went back and re-read this post and fixed three errors. I didn't add the period though!