I love having a separate room as “The Schoolroom.”
I know many homeschoolers who just do school around the kitchen table. And this picture had always appealed to me. I thought my kids would sit at the table, doing their work while I made bread or loaded the dishwasher. But it never quite worked out that way.
I would get halfway through measuring out flour, get called to help with math, go back to my flour, stop to disclipline, go back to my flour . . . . and so on. It was very frustrating and I always forgot what I was trying to do. And if we weren’t finished with school before lunchtime rolled around, it was especially inconvenient to clear the table of school stuff, eat, clear the table again, get school stuff back out. I know some people who can work very well this way. I’m not one of them.
When we moved into our house and I set up the schoolroom, many of our schooling frustrations have just disappeared. My attention and focus is solely on the kids in this room, so I’m not getting distracted by the sight of dirty dishes on the counter. I am totally focused on what they are learning and behavior. And the kids are learning that the schoolroom is not the playroom (that is the rest of the house). Rather the schoolroom is where we focus quietly on whatever task is before us. If we speak, it is in a whisper so as not to disturb our neighbor. This quiet speaking alone has been wonderful training for Prairie who tends to sing loudly wherever she is.
I don’t have a phone in the schoolroom, so when it rings, it sounds far away and is not a distraction from our studies. Such a simple thing, yet it makes such a difference in our concentration and attitudes.
Finally, having a PLACE to put all our school supplies that is close-at-hand is a beautiful thing. In our trailer, I had things stored in different rooms and the travel to get a necessary item was not conducive to getting work done. It was conducive to frustration, distraction and the used items not finding their way back home again.
Because we now have a special place for art and craft materials, I am daring to use them in our school now. It is making a huge difference in the kids’ interest levels and excitement. Instead of writing a report on 5 animals of the desert, Lincoln makes a lapbook with his own drawings, colorings or tracings. Instead of a report on the polar regions, Sidney makes a pop-up book to present his research. The girls are all girly and would color and make things all day if I let them. They wake up wanting to “color” and “do school.” They go to bed wanting to “color” and “do school.” I honestly don’t know what the girls did with themselves all day before we started doing artsy stuff.
I took a few pictures of my little scholars today hard at work on their school and Valentines crafts.
Sidney reading his history assignment on Ancient Egypt.
Lincoln researching animals of the desert, his geography assignment.
Prairie playing with her beloved melt-a-beads.
Rachel coloring her heart.
Lincoln, with his tongue between his teeth, making a valenitine card. This is dangerous work, requiring a high degree of concentration, hence the tongue between the teeth.
Sidney with his heart glasses and basket-weave heart.