Sunday, February 19, 2012

NBTS: Our Learning Area

Our Worldwide Classroom
This week's All Aussie Not Back To School theme is Your Learning Area. I've shared our learning area, which seems to be ever changing, recently, but I thought I'd share it again now that we've put it to use a bit. Some areas still aren't completed, mostly in regards to wall decorating over desks, but we're still getting our daily use out of the room.

Here's out nifty little learning space. Actually it's not little at all, it's considerably more roomy then any other learning space we've ever had. Our first learning space was the lounge room of a two bedroom apartment. We had a timeline hanging on our lounge room wall, a globe sitting above the tv, & our bookcase was full of school books. It worked for us. Since then we've schooled in dedicated rooms, lounge rooms, decks, libraries, bedrooms, dining rooms, & even in the back of the car. However, most often our learning happens right here in this really beautifully sunny room. In fact, sometimes when the weather is luring us we just step out onto the patio and sit out there to do our learning.

This is where the majority of our learning happens, right here at this table.  The boys each have their own dedicated chair which is clearly marked by the backpack hanging on it. Their chairs are ugly & came with the first dining set we bought when we moved here. We've since tossed all but those two chairs. We start our days at this table with our Memory box & Bible. From there the boys might disperse to their own desks, the computer {math}, or to their bedrooms {reading}. It just depends on the day. We do have a general schedule because the boys are on separate levels for reading & math, & so I have to balance the time so that I'm available for one-on-one time for certain subjects as needed. For the most part all their morning studies are done independently, which can leave me feeling lost at times. Do I get involved in something or do I wait until they need me? I'm not the only one, right?

The computer station & student desks flank one wall. The boys current math programme {Teaching Textbooks} has them using the computer, when we change math programmes next month that will change a little. But for now, this is where they go for their math.  My kids honestly don't use the computer for much other research type topics. Not because it doesn't occur to them, but because their first inclination is to find the information in a book, & their second inclination is to have Mom google the answer for them. Last week we did a Mystery Geography book. Morgan picked up every clue in the book and had it narrowed down to 3 US states. He scanned the map & when he couldn't find what he was looking for actually googled the answer himself which I found quite impressive.

We have this absurdly small section of wall in our school room which is just perfect for the calendar station. When Jayden was at the preschool/kindy level I made these fun little Thomas Train calendar cards. He use to love getting up every morning and racing to them to change what he could. We even had a little thing for him to put the day of the week on for  "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" as he was learning his days of the week. Honestly, I think I'm the one who moves the arrows now, it's sorta sad, but Jayden doesn't want me to take them down. Apparently he still uses them to make sure his calendar isn't tricking him. Yep, he cracks us up all the time. {Between you and I, I think he just doesn't want to see another Thomas Train item packed away. Which is more then okay by me.}

Of course we have our wall length bookcase which is all broken down by topics. If we ever get all our books shipped from the US we'll have to double the size of this shelf. The top shelf boxes hold many of the books we'll be using this year. It's much easier to tell the boys they'll find the book they are looking for in box a, b, or c rather then on the left hand side of the second science shelf. The Magazine Boxes are holding various Teacher Manuals that are ebooks or bound books. I find i's easier to keep them upright that way.

The boys notebooks & lapbooks are all kept on this side of the shelf which L's around the corner. This does not include their Timeline notebook which is kept beside each desk. All though, I should probably make room down there for it it move the lapbooks to another space. Those timeline notebooks are crazy heavy and need support to stand upright! The top shelf holds many of the Teacher Manuals I'll be using this year, and a few for next year too.

There's this infamous Blue Cabinet, which is only infamous in our home. When my mil moved the first time last year we had to clean out her shed. Inside were many pieces of furniture that my father-in-law had made. This was amongst them. We snapped up a few pieces, but as is the case with many things that my fil made they are heavy. I dropped this big old thing on my foot and was rewarded with a beautifully purple bruise for a week from it! This cabinet happens to be our current printer stand and inside the cabinet holds various art supplies all tucked away out of view.

Then there's the art & map wall. This is behind us when we're sitting at the table. The maps gets used frequently, and the art line usually does when the kids draw & paint pictures. I disposed of, in many ways, what was hanging on it before we moved house. As you can see from the emptiness of our art line we've not attended to much art since we've moved into the new place!

And that's it, that's our learning area. Of course, we do a good bit of our reading on the couch or sprawled out in some way in the lounge. I often sit icing my bad knee while reading our books while the boys either work on a corresponding project {notebooking page, mapping project, etc.} or building things out of lego. I don't know I'll do when they decide to read the books themselves.


Laurie said...

Now that is a serious learning area! It was nice to get a peek at how you have it set up. I love the days and months. That would actually be good for my son (who would be considered too old for such things) who can never keep the month or the day of the week straight. And Thomas never goes out of style.

Heather said...

nice Kendra!

Love the book cases. Tell me...I've been wondering a while now, what are the things that hold up your shelves? Wood cylinders?

Heather W

Kendra said...

I agree, Laurie, Thomas never goes out of style around here! All his movies have been shelved though, I think dh might have cried the most on that one. hehe

Heather, I went to the hardware shop & picked up what they call Pine Fence Posts. They are basically large wood cylinders. Most people dig a hole and put these wood things in the ground to hold up their fences. I just asked the guy on duty to cut them to my measurements. They work well, but you do have to make sure your top shelf is heavy to weigh it down or they seem kinda unsturdy. We had a marble maze on the short end of the L and a child clipped the shelf running through and knocked it over. But, the other shelves with buckets of books on them have been knocked and didn't budge.

Rosemary said...

Just love your space! The bookshelves are very clever. I see you are an Australian-American family, too! We are also covering both countries in our studies.

Caz said...

Love your space! Oh I wish I had a big room like that to spread out in :) (another American/aussie here :)

Anonymous said...

Great space! It looks like you have a nice big area to work in. I adore the blue cabinet, so quaint :)

Kylie said...

I have a boy here that would love those Thomas calendar ideas too!!

Erin said...

I love the natural materials you haver used with your bookshelves:)

Academic Connections said...

Wondering, How cutely you manage your educational environment. Its one big example and people should learn from you. As environment is one major part of Homeschooling

Love the stuffs.