It's the "Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: Week Two," and the subject is School Spaces! I missed Week One, Curriculum, so I'll come back and catch that subject later. I've mentioned a number of times in this blog that we are military, which means frequent moves, and over the years my "schoolroom" has consisted of anything from a pile of books on the dining room table to a full room with bulletin boards and maps on the walls. What I have now is somewhere in between. We do have a separate "schoolroom," which is becoming more and more of a necessity for me now that I have 4 students in my school, and they are all getting older and bigger. The books, curriculum, and craft supplies could take over our entire house. The room we are using now is our Carolina Room - which is basically a sun-porch for those of you who do not live in the Carolinas.
Forgive the little Christmas tree - these pictures were taken just after Christmas, and it was the only thing that had not yet been removed. That blob of white fur in the top picture is our school mascot, our Eskie, waiting for someone to let him outside!
Although you can't see the second one, I have two small tables in the room. The other one is just a card table. I love having the storage space that I do, an easy-to-clean floor with no carpet, an older card table on which I don't mind getting paint and glitter, and the amount of light we get from all the windows and sliding glass doors in this room. One of the doors leads out to our deck and picnic table, should we wish to study out there or just open the screen on a nice day. The cons are that it is a small space, and because of all the windows and shelves, I don't have a lot of space to hang maps and bulletin boards on the walls. You might be able to see the folded easel with the white board tucked behind the bookshelf in that second picture. That comes out just about every day so that I can use the white board, the chalk board on the other side, or so that I can prop maps and other posters on the easel. Moving around with the military, I've had to learn to make good use of small spaces!
Since the room is small, the kids often get tired of doing all of their work crammed in there together. We spread out quite a bit during the day, with kids working at the dining room table, Dad's desk, or the kitchen counter. We have two comfy recliners in our living room, which are rather a treat for the kids. They are not allowed to take a lot of toys in there, because it is the one room I try to keep clean in case visitors just stop by. They are, however, allowed to sit in the recliners (with a toy or two) to read or listen to music during the school day or on their free time. Our plethora of musical instruments are also in that room, so they can practice in there without bothering those who are doing schoolwork in the schoolroom. Of course, we also take a lot of field trips and do a lot outdoors. When the weather is nice, we do all of our "out-loud" reading gathered around the swing in the backyard.
When I was in college, one of my favorite classes was one in which the professor would often take class outside on nice days. There was a large, old fountain that no longer had any water in it, and he would climb in and lecture from there while we sat around the edges, taking notes. One of my favorite high school classes was a chemistry class in which the teacher also frequently took us outside to do experiments. He really, really, really liked to blow things up! I'm sure that many teachers would like more freedom to do school-on-the-go with their students, but it is difficult when you have a classroom full of kids, and limited space and resources. It is a privilege we have as homeschoolers that I don't want to take for granted!