Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our 2016-2017 Classroom

For some reason, I never got around to posting about our classroom at the beginning of the year.  On this blog-anniversary week, I have decided that this would be a great time to share our current set-up.

Like many families, we school at the kitchen table most frequently.  I'm not completely satisfied with our set up, but I like the elements on our wall.  Our kitchen bench needs to be repainted with washable paint.  I like the white but this white is always dingy and doesn't want to be clean.  With three little kids, white things that can't be washed are just not working.

However, we do love our plastic-covered wood furniture pieces that can be easily wiped off like our main homeschooling Elite cupboard.  Inside the child-lock is a treasure of resources for our homeschool.  I love that even the doors can be used to store and display stuff.  The wire baskets are from the dollar store and are held up with tiny cup hooks.  I use them for the stapler, tape, a glue stick, and other random little things that I don't want to lose.  Underneath, on the left side, is another cup hook where we hang a pencil bag of kids scissors.  Beside it is our AWANA schedule and a stack of post-it notes.  On the other side is my crystal lite pencil holder, some 3M sticky hooks with QR codes for audiobooks hanging off of them, and a few other random papers in a dry erase holder.

Over my summer organization project, it became very obvious that I needed a faster way to grab pencils (they were in a tackle box).  I modge podged yellow paper onto a crystal lite container, leaving about a half inch uncovered in the back.  Then, I stuck it onto my homeschool cupboard with 3M removable tape.  It is a little tall when the pencils get sharpened down a bit but I like how secure the pencils are in the container.  At least I don't have to worry about them falling out.

Starting at the top shelf, I have my school supplies tool boxes, which we use all the time.  It's my favorite organizational thing that I have ever done.  The tool boxes are held upright with a paper organizer.  I'd like to build a shelf system for them eventually.  The right side has our resource binders, a bit of paper and a few random things.

The second shelf has our work boxes and some other supplies on them.  The work boxes are paper drawers, which are another one of my go-to organizational favorites.  We haven't used the work boxes as frequently as I thought that we would, but I think we still will use them in the future.  My kids just aren't ready for independent learning yet.  The blue paper bins came from the dollar store and hold large paperwork.  The plastic shoe boxes have the sand tray, the number popcorn game, and a extra school supplies.  You can get different work box labels on my blog (black or white).

The third shelf is almost identical to the second.  The shoe bins hold our alphabet disks that a friend made, our pink tower, and our magnetic pattern blocks.

The bottom shelf has big plastic bins with books in them.  We're working on our setting up a bookshelf, but the majority of our books are still hidden while we learn to take care of the books we have out.  The shoe boxes have our Safari Ltd Life Cycle in plastic crayon boxes.  The other boxes holds printed cards that we aren't using right now and stickers.

Since I mentioned books, I think now is a good time to show off our latest homeschool furniture piece.  This is a 6-shelf hutch by ClosetMaid.  The bottom shelves are like 13" wide and the top ones are 9" wide.  We bought this one because we have a lot of oversized books.  I got these white plastic bins to hold our books, since we have a lot that would be difficult to shelf properly.  The bins are based on an 11" cube and are available in half (bigger bins) and quarter size.  I need to add some colored tags to the books to help the kids put the books back in the right place.   I love how the white bins blend into the bookshelf and look very tidy.

We have also commandeered a kitchen pantry for homeschool supplies.  This cupboard looks a bit disorganized, but it makes sense to me.  The top left shelf has black CD boxes which hold our altoid tin games.  On top of those is a blue bin of random stuff.  Topping that stack is our sensory bin containers and trays.  In the middle is the paper cutter, laminator, and a book I need to repair.  The right side has our play dough and cookie cutters.  The doors have important things that I don't want to forget I have like our "Where I Live" visual and some giant paper coins.  The second shelf is our science unit printables.

The big bin on the left is a bunch of random supplies for our units, bagged according to the theme.  The other big bin is containers, little trays, pitchers, etc, for Montessori-inspired practical work.  The small shoe box has duct tape, regular tape, and packaging tape (and a few pencils lest you think I'm too organized).  The little bin is essential oils- not the best location but kid safe inside the locked cupboard).  The glycerin is for homemade play dough and other sensory activities.

Lastly, our sensory bin supplies cupboard!  The top shelf is Safari toobs and sensory bin stuff.  On top of the substrate bin is my new binding machine.   On the bottom left is my unfinished crafts box.  All that stuff used to be all over the kitchen island.  I'm trying to keep the island cleaned off (it makes the whole house look cleaner) and to only get things out when I using them.  The blue bins are media boxes from Staples (here).  The bigger one is our DVDs and the smaller one is our device chargers and similar type stuff.  The black CD wallet is more DVDs.

Whew!  That was a long blog post!  I hope you enjoyed a glance into our classroom.

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