Monday, August 24, 2009

first day of school, a new space, and some rambling

Well today we got back to our school schedule...Hallelujah! I enjoy Summer with my kids, I really do, but I start to miss the structure of our school days long about August every year. I miss the cool weather, the quiet mornings when everyone has their own little project going, the way they start out with such an excitement about learning....oh I just missed it, and I sure am glad we are back here. God really knew what he was doing when he gave us the changing seasons didn't He! Change is a good thing. Starting out this year I needed to change things up a bit since my little man is officially a kindergartner and will be doing "real" school every day. I wanted our schedule to be a little different since I now have my loft and I can kind of work along-side them, but there really wasn't enough desk space for everyone in the loft. I LOVE challenges like this! So my simple solution was to turn the space under the stairwell leading up to the loft into a little school nook for Molly (my big 2nd grader!), so that Tim could work at the cutting table next to me. Oh my goodness I love it! Before this was a catch-all cluttered mess with no purpose at all, and now it's like we have a new room. It's not big but it's perfect for what we were needing and Molly really feels grown having her own little "office". I added a little table and chair, and sewed a little curtain to hide the storage under the stairs.
Then I got out my vintage Dick and Jane classroom book that I have been hoarding for years and filled the walls with them. I have been waiting for the perfect place to use these for so long and I am just beyond happy with the result. I mean, what could possibly be better than seeing Dick and Jane everyday?? With just a few little re-purposed things from around the house and attic we had carved out a sweet little space that is not only functional but very motivating!
These little projects always get me thinking...I start looking for other little catch-all wasted spaces or corners that I could make into usable space. Last month I turned part of Molly and Maddie's walk-in-closet into a little playhouse for Maddie. It was piled up with stuff that needed to be given away or trashed, and their room was always messy with toys, so I put her little kitchenette in there with a few toy baskets and she was as happy as if I had given her a new room! Their room has been so clean since the switch too, and that makes mama very happy!
On the shelf I put an extra special "wock" collection that was given to us by one of my sweet readers, Sharon. She collected all of these different rocks and bits of nature from her home on the West Coast and then sent them to us to study after she saw our Rock Week post. This is one of their most treasured collections. She was so sweet, she even wrote little notes for each little group to tell them a little about it and where she found it. She even sent seagull feathers, lava rocks, and a jar container of West Coast sand and shells! Sharon if you are reading thanks again!!
And here is my big boy on his first day of kindergarten. It really doesn't even seem possible..but I guess you know that...It never is possible is it? Our first day went really well, we seemed to get a lot accomplished, which isn't always the case on "first days".
We started out with Bible and as of this year it is Molly's job to read the story every morning. I caught this little moment from the loft as I listened at all of the big words she's cranking out this year. I hope I remember this....first days, new spaces, and how little they look in this picture. While we're on the subject....Remember this? It's the homeschool planner I started last year. I have made a few changes, with the help of several other homeschooling mamas, and I hope to have it ready by the end of the week. It will be a free download with a donate button (donations will go towards our adoption). Print as many as you like, use them year after year, and spread the word! I can't wait to be homeschooling our other children and finding new places to put their little nooks!


Marlya said...

Wow, Samantha, the little "office" looks great!! I also love organising rooms in my house and making great use of space.. I want to do some more of this in the next few weeks! (you should see my sewing room!!)
If you would like any bits and pieces from Australia for the children, just let me know!

6blessings said...

The picture of your older reading reading to the others is just precious! I'm sure you'll always cherish the memory!

6blessings said...

That should be: The picture of your older daughter reading to the others is just precious. I'm sure you'll cherish it always!

Anonymous said...

Your space is darling. We live in a 1970ish rambler that has no character, I like the twinkle light idea, I need more lighting in my scrapbook nook, that just might do the trick. Oh how I miss those days of early elementary, our youngest is now doing 3rd/4th grade work all the primary materials are packed in boxes, waiting for the next generation.

Goosegirl said...

Oh Samantha, I LOVE the new little office. I the details are so cozy and interesting. Sure to inspire deep and creative thoughts.

little dresses said...


Yes! Yes! Yes! The kids would love it! Maybe I should organise a swap where we can all share our collections with people in different reigons....hmmm...I'm sure there are lots of homeschoolers who would join in! What do you think??



Molly said...

I LOVE Molly's new space! How fun! Doesn't it feel great to accomplish things like that?!
And the swap idea...I'm in! You'd just have to figure in the fact that it takes things significantly longer to get there from here. Things get here from the States in about 7 days, but it takes about 4-6 weeks to get there from here...they're just a bit slower on this end, I guess. :) Or another idea might be to send photos (via e-mail) of unique things or geographic locations, etc., with written descriptins maybe. Just a thought. Either way, count me in! I am always looking for great ideas like that to make school more interesting and apply to life! Hey, what curriculum are you guys using? We are probably going to be making some major changes for next school year (long story) and I am trying to get input from other home school families. I know it seems way ahead since school just started, but we have to plan ahead in order to find a way to get our books down here with work teams, etc., that might be coming down throughout the year.

little dresses said...

Hey Molly!

We wouldn't mind waiting for stuff! That just makes it better when it does arrive!

We use Bob Jones, and I really love it. Each grade level has a set of text books and a set of workbooks. I can usually find the text books on ebay for a good deal and then all I have to do is buy the workbooks (about $10-20 each). So for the next kid all I have to do is buy the workbooks. For Kindergarten I use Hooked on Phonics and some K5 workbooks from Walmart. I really love the hooked on phonics program, it really gave Molly a good head start on reading and when she started Bob Jones first grade I felt like she could hold her own from the start.

I think I may try Switched on Schoolhouse when she gets a little older. I have friends that really like that program.

I will try to get a post up soon asking about a swap and see how many taker we get :)


Elise said...

Oh my goodness, that is the cutest place EVER!! I love it!!
Wonder if I can turn an under the eaves storage place into something like that??

SHEILA said...

Tim and Molly,
I hope you have a great school year! Molly, I know you love your little office. I would want to work really hard if I had such a cute space. And Tim, what fun working up in Mama's loft!

cjoy said...

Back when you started talking about your H.S. Planner, I had no idea that in a few months I'd be taking my son out of school with a dire need to homeschool him. I've been on the hunt for a good planner and nothing floats my boat, then I remembered you were creating one, so I think I'll be giving yours a shot. :) I'll keep an eye out for it...thank you!

Vivienne said...

How lovely. Your children are very lucky. I love the idea of homeschooling, but they are not big on it here over in England.