Thursday, September 8, 2016

From dining room to learning room - Part 1 - Repurposing THAT shelf

Back in January, the baby officially became a big boy!  No need for a nursery when you have a big boy in the house. AND 3 boys, at the right age, that can easily share a room.

That nursery became an office...My very own homeschool office!  In the past (at other homes), I had always converted a closet into my office.  I had never had a WHOLE room!!! How exciting, right?
*Side note - we have been in this house over 1 year.**

At the time, yes, it was exciting.  But that office quickly became a LARGE closet aka cutely, decorated storage unit.  It was the room that I would go to only when I need to grab the document that I had printed from our wireless printer.  I even told the cleaning lady not to worry about cleaning it!  Say what!?

A lot of this stuff wasn't getting used in our homeschool.  Which led me to set some goals that needed to reflect the use of materials and space.  And I simply started by asking these questions:

1)Where do we learn and play the most?
2)Are my resources and materials being used? Why or why not?
3)How can I create a new space without buying any new furniture?

And this is how I answered them:
1) We learn the most downstairs in the kitchen/dining table, couch or outside.
2) Nope!  My resources and materials are scattered all around the house.  Some are upstairs and some are downstairs.  Some are in the office and others are in the laundry room.
3) Could I thoughtfully reorganize my materials based on the types of storage that I have aka not buying any thing.  I could start by bringing everything downstairs (furniture and supplies) and see if it will work.  If it doesn't, get rid of it!

We started by turning out dining room into our learning room.  We brought down the long shelf for storage, adjusted the table to help utilize wall space and work space on the floor.

And then...I brought down ALL that had been stored upstairs that wasn't getting used!  Scary huh?  This took me a good day to get through it all.  It was a Saturday and the boys enjoyed some Daddy time while I went on a reorganizing redo!

 I also had to remember that I didn't have a baby anymore!  So the markers (washable), playdough, paint and such that had been sealed up and placed high could now come down.  

See these past posts on how I organized our last homeschool space at a different house.  

 And TAAAADAAAA!  Here's the finished product.  THAT shelf went from storing stuff to being used!  

I am a BIG fan of giving kids the freedom to use anything they'd like to learn with.  So I wanted this shelf to be all theirs!  The baskets are clearly labeled (I made them using Google Docs/Drawings).  And the boys even helped me put the label on each box.

We also turned this GREAT Ikea storage into our Art Cart!  It can roll around, inside or outside.  The kids can use ANYTHING, as long as they ask first and help clean up!

And I think the easy way to show our new and improved shelf, is by showing you this picture:

Will it look this perfect in a month or two?  YES!  And why?  Because I have trained my kiddos on where everything is and how to return it back to its spot!

As a former classroom teacher,  I led a successful classroom bc my kids felt valued to use any of our materials, as long as they used it with respect and as long as they returned it for the next person to use.

So that's exactly how I run OUR homeschool!  **Keep in mind that you have a different homeschool!  I hope this post inspires you to adjust your ideas to fit what works best for YOUR homeschool space!  But if it's a desire of yours to eventually create and keep an organized space, like this, set some small goals!  Try keeping just one area organized, then add another in a few months.  Include your kiddos!  That always makes a big difference for me!**

Come back and visit next week when I take you to the other side of our new learning room.  And from there, I'm going to show you our NEW STEAM CLOSET!!!!

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

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