Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homeschooling when you have a Small Space

We live in a fairly small house(3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and about 1000 square feet.)

It works for us in this season of life we are in, as we try to pay off student loan debt and save money, but there are certainly times when I find myself drooling over friends homeschool rooms.

Thankfully, though, now that we have been homeschooling for a couple of years we have figured out a few things that work for us.

We don't have a lot of closet space, and what closet space we do have is used for clothes, toys, and bedding. For awhile, I would keep all of our school books in one big tote on the floor of the pantry in our kitchen. 

Yes, I just said on the pantry floor of my kitchen..I can't believe I just admitted to you all that I actually did that....have I mentioned that organization is not my strong point?!

Obviously that method didn't work very well. Not only was it frustrating trying to find all the papers and books that we needed every day, but also random food crumbs(among other things) would occasionally fall into the school tote.

If you have ever looked into homeschool curriculum you know that it's not cheap, and that food is one of the last things you want all over your books(especially if you're like me, and plan on using them at least five more times in the coming years!;)

Thankfully, my husband was blessed with the organized, type A personality genes, and happily stepped in and helped me figure out a system that works. The first thing he did was install some shelves in our room.

Then with some baskets we already had, we designated each basket to a subject. Right now, since I'm only doing "official" school with Anna and Jack I just keep their books together. Each basket has their math, spelling/english, and history. I also keep a stack of books for science and art next to the school books.

One of the harder things about living in a smaller house when you homeschool, is that often the entire house gets messy, and needs cleaned up every day. Case in point:

But, then again, one of the benefits of living in a smaller house is that it gets cleaned up pretty fast, too. Especially when you have five willing helpers. :)

Most of our actual school work gets done in the kitchen. Which works really well for us, since I spend a lot of my time in there anyways.

I keep a marker board and some old windows hung up in the kitchen, and write on them with dry erase markers for our calendar, scripture memory, and copy work sentences.

And about every other week, I order a huge stack of books from the library that have to do with whatever we are studying that week. Which keeps things budget friendly and cuts down on the clutter around here.

It's definitely been a process figuring out what works for us, and learning how to utilize our space, but I'm so thankful we have figured out some things that work well for us right now.

If you homeschool, I'd love to hear how you "do school" at your house. Do you have a school room? Do you just use your kitchen? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All Because of a 2.00 Jar

Sunday afternoon found me roaming the aisles of Trader Joe's. Going to Trader Joe's is definitely a rare treat for me since it's about 30 minutes from my house...and also because, while admittedly the prices are better than most grocery stores, they aren't what, say, Aldi's prices are. And since I'm feeding a small army here, Aldi is almost always where I do our grocery shopping.

But I digress.

So, Sunday afternoon, after spending a fun afternoon in the city with my husband and kids, Erik suggested we stop by Trader Joe's and see if we couldn't get a few things. I happily agreed, gave myself a budget of twenty dollars, and ran in to see what I could stock up on(and promised myself I wouldn't spend it all on cookie butter!)

Just as I was finishing up I stumbled across some masala sauce. I love Indian food, and since I had enough money in my 20.00 budget I decided to buy it.

Later that night, as Erik and I were finally sitting down to eat dinner, an idea occurred to me.

"Tomorrow night is going to be Indian night!" I declared. "Tomorrow we will learn about India. We will have the kids dress up like people in India do...and maybe we can find a recipe for naan!"

And that's exactly what we did. We talked about what continent India was in, and discussed the Taj Mahal.

We looked at pictures of people who lived over there. We listened to the type of music they might listen to over in India during dinner.

We made Naan.

Before dinner we prayed for the people in India, and for the missionaries over there. Which allowed us to briefly talk about different religions, and how not everyone has heard the gospel, and about how not everyone believes in Jesus.

And, perhaps the best part- at least for my girls- was dressing up. Especially since dressing up in traditional Indian garb meant wearing a lot of jewelry.

Lily was so proud. Max was happy for her, but wanted nothing to do with changing out of his dragon costume. :)

Just a sheet, some scarves, and all of mama's jewelry. And, of course, your little brother dressed as a dragon looking out for you.

And what would Indian night be without some henna tattoos?

Such a fun, simple, and educational night. And it was all because of a $2.00 jar.

Linked to Titus 2 & The Modest Mom 

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