It has taken us awhile to get our classroom sorted out, but I finally feel like it is somewhat presentable. I’m going to take you on a tour of our cute little “pretend school at home”, as Piggy One calls it. I suppose I don’t mind that he thinks we are “playing” school. I guess that means he’s having fun.
My wish list for our school room is still a mile long, but I feel like we are off to a great start. Thankfully, I had a lot of things from my teaching career packed away in the attic. I taught First Grade for 15 years, so a lot of my stuff is very relevant for primary children.
Here is the main overview of the classroom. This room is suppose to be a formal living room, but who has those these days? It was my office when we first moved to this house. I was finishing up my masters degree in Reading and Literacy, and Piggy One was only 2 months old.
Sorry for dark picture. What is it with formal living rooms never having overhead lights? We installed two sconces on the wall to help with the lighting, but to put in an overhead light required lots of sheetrock removal and drilling through joists. I just keep the blinds open, turn the sconces on, and keep my eye out on a cute floor lamp for our room.
About a year ago, we turned my office into a playroom. One of the first things I did was move our board book collection to this room. It gives Piggy Two some freedom with books without fear of him tearing them up. My huge children’s book collection is still in Piggy One’s room. Piggy Two still needs supervision with those. In the bay window, you can see a small bookshelf with board books, a couple of adult chairs, and their work table.
I love this table! It was a craig’s list find from about 6 years ago. The top of it actually spins, like a lazy susan. The thing I don’t love about this table with little boys, is the fact that it is a beautifully finished wood. I want to get a glass top for the table so they don’t accidentally draw on it or scratch it. Until that’s in the budget, I had to find a way to give them a drawing and writing surface. I printed off these templates, cut them out, and attached them to the table with clear contact paper. They boys can use Vis-A-Vis or dry erase markers to write on them. After we get glass, I can slide templates under the glass and let them draw on the glass.
The next thing I needed to do was to create a wall dedicated to the calendar part of our daily meeting. At this age, the biggest part of their math curriculum can be taught using the calendar. Luckily, I had a calendar saved from my last classroom. I wasn’t able to find all my seasonal numbers, so I had to order the cutouts for the calendar. This gave Piggy One the opportunity to pick what he wanted. He chose a robot theme.
On this wall is our calendar, the number of days in school (which we keep track of using straws), our weather graph, our weather boy that we’ll get to dress (as soon as it arrives and I can get it laminated), and our hundred’s chart. I also hung our counting bug jars. The boys love these!
The opposite wall is our Focus Wall for Literacy. While shopping a few weeks ago we found this magnetic dry-erase board for $15 at BJ’s. We bought it immediately. I have several sets of alphabet cards in my teaching stock-pile, but I had to really think about how I wanted to teach my boys to read. Out of all the programs that I’ve ever used, my most favorite for teaching phonemic awareness was Open Court. I decided to see if I could find bits and pieces of the program. They actually make a homeschool kit. Before I sank a lot of money into a kit, I looked on eBay for pieces of the program that I knew I wanted to get right away. That’s where I found these cards for $12.
The Apple, Tree, and Smiley Face sentence charts I had in my teaching stash. I put those up for displaying sentence strips, vocabulary for books we are reading or other teaching tools.
I am calling these my literacy centers for the time being. A lot of them are alphabet games, puzzles, reading games, etc., but a lot of them are things to keep Piggy Two busy while we work with Piggy One. At not quite 2 years old, Piggy Two is having a little bit of a hard time staying in the classroom while I teach Piggy One. Luckily, the hubby’s schedule allows him to be at home during home school hours, so he gets to help work with the littlest Pig.
That’s the classroom so far. The top two big purchases on my wish list are a storage closet and two 10 drawer carts to use for work boxes. For now I am using disposable aluminum pans. I line my kitchen counters with my pans on Sunday night, fill each pan with an activity along with the supplies needed for that activity, stack them all up and store them in my filing cabinet. I am picking the activity they complete because I don’t want to drag all the pans out. Eventually they will be able to use their carts to pick their own activity.
Do you have a room designated for school? How do you organize your home classroom? I would love to hear your ideas or suggestions! We will have to consider desks in the next 3-4 years. For now, this is perfect for their age.