{p, h, f, r} Getting Ready for School (well, homeschool)

We don’t normally take a full summer break around here. The lack of routine generally drives us (me) crazy, so, while we have a lighter, more self-directed learning experience, we still choose to school year round. This year was probably the first year in a long time that we took the whole summer off, and we are all ready for it to end. So, back to school on Monday, ready or not!

First, you should be thankful there are no before pictures of this space.  It was a mess!  This room is in a separate building on the grounds, known to us as The Garage, but it’s really a nicer building than that.  Also, I like referring to our little piece of earth as The Grounds.  🙂


(click any image to enlarge)

Most of the furniture has been rearranged, most everything has been cleaned, the floor has been vacuumed, whatever doesn’t belong has been put away (if I expect to use it again) given away (if I think somebody else can use it) or thrown away (if it was just junk taking up space in my life).

To the left, we have two large bookshelves, approximately eight feet tall, well loaded with books, but with plenty of room for more. I was watching a video tour of someone’s library the other day, and he said you should always have unread books in your library. If you’ve read them all, you aren’t buying them fast enough. Unread books are potential, an admission that you don’t know everything, that you still, always, have more to learn. Somebody asked me once, gazing upon our living room bookshelves, if I’d read all of the books. “Well,” I said, “one of us has read most of them, but none of us has read all of them.” Not all volumes are chosen for all people. We have different interests, different goals, and our home library is built to encourage each individual’s passions, but also to suggest new paths on which to journey. Creating this for myself and the children is my passion.

But I digress.

To the right, you can see most of the desks lined up against the wall. I picked these up last year at an office furniture redistributing place just outside of Louisville. They came out of a boarding school, and he’d had them for so long, and they were in such bad shape, that he didn’t think he’d ever sell them.  Then I came along and wanted six.  Can you believe we snagged these for just ten dollars each?  For ten dollars, they are in excellent condition.  I wanted to paint them white, but the children liked them as is – natural wood.  Actually, I think they were just anxious to begin using them as soon as possible.  Who wants to wait for paint to dry?

Previously, they had been lined up in such a way as to form little private cubbies, but some of the children had too much privacy and made unwise decisions. Now, everyone can be seen.

At the front of the room, I placed an old kitchen table that used to be between the bookshelves. I have an idea to set up the microscopes up there for easy access. Also, I’ll need to curtain the windows, since the sun shines directly through that front one in the winter.  The door, found at a yard sale, leads to the garage side, where the tractor and the husband hang out.  (I love doors, and this is the only place I’ve ever been where they regularly turn up for sale at yard sales and thrift stores.)


History Books, Sorted Mostly Chronologically

So I’ve been trying this week to get all of our books organized.  I pulled out two big boxes of stuff that just doesn’t work for us and I’m going to give it all away in one big lot.  There are a lot of really good materials in there, some generic, some Catholic, and somebody will be thrilled to get it all, I know.  I could probably weed out some more, but I just love so many of these books so much.

In the meanwhile, I’ve got the books sorted: older kids to the right, younger to the left.  After that, I’m organizing them by topic, with a goal of having the history section more or less chronological. History was the last thing we were using from MODG, and there was a lot we didn’t like, especially the heavy reliance on juvenile fiction even through the high school years. Also, the children never really studied American history in any depth, and since we are Americans, I think it’s important.

However, I also see the benefits of studying the history and literature of the ancients. Can we do both? History is their favorite subject anyway! I’m trying this program from Roman Roads Media this year, with my eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders. I think it will be great.


Photo Aug 06, 9 26 46 AM

I don’t really have a funny. Except that I’ve been working out here mostly alone, and the children keep popping in, looking around longingly, and asking, “How many more days till school, Mama?” We can’t wait!


blank planners

The learning environment may be coming together nicely, but the lesson planners? Blank, blank, blankety, blank. I’ve got nothing written down. It’s all in my head. But I’ve got three days to lay it all out, and that’s plenty of time, isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping in!  Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {p,h,f,r}!


5 Comment

  1. We are at the same place- starting “officially” next week, and I’ve been getting our school room ready. Yours looks great! Those desks- what a great find. Our room is mostly windows and open walls, so it’s not as conducive to a school room set-up. I love all of your shelves (and your wall color : ^))

    Blessings on your new school year!

    1. Thanks, Kellie! I have a similar color in my kitchen. 🙂 The only downside to this room is that it’s in another building, but we’re hoping to get started with our upwards addition soon, and hopefully, we’ll get us a schoolroom built right into the house. Praying for a successful start next week!

  2. Loved the peek into your classroom. We do school at the table (and in the living room and bedrooms as needed), but it’s always so fun to see what works for other families!

    Regarding planners/planning: I’ve only be at this officially 3 years, but it was driving me crazy to write down plans and inevitably it never worked out as it was written down because, you know, life! So now I keep the plans in my head (they are relatively simple anyway “next page in each book” basically) and then I write them down as I’m supervising the kids. It’s more like recording what we’ve actually done instead of what we planned to do. It worked so well for me last year, and I’m eager to start recording our progress for this year! We’re starting next week too!!

    1. This year, I’m going to map out what needs to be done, but I won’t write it in the kids’ planners until the beginning of the week. That way, very little has to be changed the next week. 🙂 I just need a written to-do list, otherwise things won’t get done.

  3. What a great room! I loo, love the color. Makes me want to pull our stuff together.

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