Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Homeschool Shelves

One of the best things about switching the girls' bedroom with our study/studio is the mindful reorganization that has taken place. Fabric is neatly folded and visible, reference books are accessible, the paint is all together in one place, what was once lost is now found, etc.

In our NEW study, I've been paying special attention to how we store and display our homeschool supplies. I try to follow the girls' interests from week to week, which means that most of our homeschool work is done in unit studies, which means that the more I can keep like-minded materials together, the better.

The big and unwieldy stuff sits on the floor, so here we've got the conventional globe and the chalkboard globe, a model rocket kit, a crate containing all the base ten blocks (nine thousand cubes, nine hundred flats, and loads of ten bars and unit blocks) and the Cuisenaire rods, and the state quarter map.

Above that is the math shelf--math games and boxed activities, a Playskool abacus and a traditional Chinese abacus, playing cards and dice, a binder for worksheets and flash cards (I'm a big proponent of math fact memorization), lots of workbooks (I'm also a big proponent of math drills), and math manipulatives, such as pattern blocks, tangrams, mosaic tiles, and a geoboard. To the right side of each shelf I've glued little magnets, to hold the various accessories of homeschool work--scissors, bar magnets, drawing compasses, staplers, etc.

Moving to the left and up a level:

That lower shelf is science stuff--magnets, board games, the plaster of Paris volcano, science activity books, the microscope and its accessories, and a chemistry set. Above the science shelf is the art shelf--specialty markers and crayons, extras of the crayon, marker, and colored pencil sets that we use regularly, the stapler and extra glue, books for cutting up, extra lined paper and dry erase boards, pipe cleaners, the UV-reactive beads, and the acrylic-dyed school glue.

To the right, on the same level:

The lower shelf on the left has biology stuff, with the plaster of Paris skeleton mold, the human x-rays, a couple of anatomy books, and several biology and medicine DVDs. Then we've got some environmental science stuff, with sun-reactive paper, a kite, and wind energy stuff. In the front is ferrofluid and iron filings for more magnet play, then biology encyclopedias and children's magazines, and then books on all branches of the sciences.

The top shelf is still art, with a glass bowl of acorns on the far left, then Waldorf window star paper, professional-grade art supplies, and modeling beeswax in the front. To the right is language arts, with workbooks and mad libs, sticker letters and sight word flash cards, and Scrabble and Boggle on the far right.

Higher on the shelves is the stuff that requires my prep work, or the stuff that the girls don't usually choose without my encouragement:

The lower shelf there is history on the right, with Magic Tree House books (the girls have these memorized, and regularly re-read library copies, so I usually only bring our own copies down when we're studying something relevant), all the Story of the World activity books and other children's history books, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. presidents flash cards, and the ink that we use with our quill pens.

To the left on the lower shelf is geography--a map quilt project of Willow's, some atlases, a blank U.S. map paper pad, and a sailor's valentine kit from Florida. Above that is the art materials that require either adult prep or adult supervision--powdered tempera, professional-grade artist's acrylic paints, watercolor paints, things like gesso and sealant, and beads.

The top shelf is stuff that we're not ready for yet--higher-level workbooks, and cut-and-assemble paper model kits. There's also a bag containing a ridiculous number of little paper bags, good for goodness knows what.

Here's what the shelves, or most of them, at least, look like in panoramic, including one show-off and a colored dinosaur picture:

And when the girls aren't simply digging around in the dirt or playing with toy ponies all day, that's some of what we have to do!


Tina said...

It is always interesting to see how other people handle their school and art supplies. I am in the process of paring down and cleaning up, so thanks for the inspiration!

Allison said...

I'm a relatively new member of LEARN and popped on over to check out your blog. My kids are two and three. I love your shelves! Keep up the hard work!