Behind the Scenes ~ The New Homeschool Room

Behind the Scenes

I know many have wondered about our new school room and where it is, or where it came from. Today I hope to share a bit of the behind the scenes info about it and how this amazing blessing has come into our lives! The story will be as condensed as possible ;-).

When we moved to the inner city to be missionaries over 6 years ago, we moved into a row home on a major street in our neighborhood. At the time the property next door was up for sale, which we didn’t think much about. Within a few months God began to work and long story VERY short-my parents ended up buying the property to “give” to the church for ministry purposes. My parents “rented” the property to the church free of charge and owned it themselves. {In case you are wondering-properties are very cheap around here because of the neighborhood we live in} At the time I was the children’s ministry leader and ran several programs out of the property which became known as the Hope House. 011Since it was next door, it was very easy for me to balance work and family at the time {this was when I only had Pac Man}.

Fast forward a LOT…years later we realized that we did not have the correct insurance policy to be doing ministry in the Hope House, so research began. In the end we realized that to insure the property for ministry use was outrageous, our current company wouldn’t even do it! My parents had a decision to make-either sell the property or figure something else out.

They prayed and talked and came up with a solution. The upstairs was renovated {very nicely} to make a 2 bedroom apartment which is now rented out by our good friends and ministry partners, a young couple-married almost a year now.

The downstairs was gifted to us for personal use!

My parents truly just wanted to bless us and surprised us with the gift of the space. Since it is right next door to our house AND my husband is the renovation MASTER, it became a very clear reality of what we could do with the space. The plans were made and work began this past spring. We hit the major turning point in July when the houses were connected…IMG_4396 The boys are standing in the current kitchen looking into what is now the new dining room, which today looks like this {well, not quite that clean still}…IMG_6217The dining room was completed last week and today the carpet is being put in the school room which is two steps down below the dining room to the right {when looking at the photo above}! The addition of the dining room is an additional blessing due to the space it provides for fellowship! We have people over here a lot and it is always a tight fit in our kitchen to eat meals and socialize. Now we have a large comfortable space and we are SO excited to share it with MANY!

So yes, the schoolroom was an addition onto our house, but in a most unusual way-totally God! We feel very spoiled and blessed, I have actually shed many tears of joy over this. You homeschoolers will understand that for sure-the gift of a large homeschooling space is something we all dream of. I NEVER thought it would happen for us, I was just thankful to have the 9×10 room we had. It is not something we needed, not even something we asked for-just a total surprise! We are so incredibly thankful!

Stay tuned for the pictures of the schoolroom in progress. The carpet is being put in right now and then the move in begins. I plan to share an update with you soon!

UPDATE 11:00 AM…Feet have hit the carpet!!!!!!!!

Out of the Zone ~ Our Current Zone

out of the zone2

We are in a major state of “WAITING” around here.  We are waiting for our wonderful new schoolroom to be complete so we can move in and set up!  I have chosen Pac Man’s new desk {table and shelves} and have designed the space on the Ikea Planner ;-).  I have the furniture picked out the $$ saved to buy the items we need to buy, and a family eager to move in!  We are so close now I can taste it, but we still have a month or so before we can set up shop.

In the meantime we are in our current schoolroom, which is completely fine, just very messy and crowded right now.  This room worked fine for the past several years, but we have slowly outgrown the space now that I have a 3rd grader who really needs to be able to focus, a wild preschooler, and an all-over-the-place tot.  If we wouldn’t have been blessed with the new schoolroom {which I will share about in detail soon}, I would have had to come up with some other plan.  Us all being in this small room {approx 9×10} for school just isn’t working.

Kirsten was home and walked in one day and snapped some pictures of Pac and I working.  This is how we are set up right now..IMG_4228

My command central is right there on the right and Pac’s is on the left, we share the table.  It is very hard now that his books are bigger and he needs more space to spread out.   We have had to remove his Workboxes for now due to space, but plan to get a version of the system back up and running when we move in to the new room. 


We make it work though and it just makes us both more thankful for what lies ahead in the new room!!!  Currently he and I do his schooling al together here.  IMG_4230 Teaching 3rd grade is so much different than 2nd and below.  It requires so much more out of him, and out of me!

How do those of you who school in a small space deal with this?  How do you handle an older child who needs to focus but won’t stay on track if sent to work alone {easily distracted}?  I can’t send Pac Man out of the room to work or something that should take him 20 minutes will take 2 hours ;-).  But, when L and K are in there, he has such a hard time focusing…plus he just talks to me a lot, sitting right next to me!  I am hoping the new {way bigger} schoolroom will really help with this.  Those of you with more experience, do you think it will?


I have written a few other school room posts, but it has been awhile.  I promise I will share in great detail as we move into the new room!!!!

If you are wondering where K and L were…K was watching a movie {that’s how we roll around here these days-so I don’t lose my sanity} and L was napping.

Preschool ~ More Planning and Organizing

Organizing Preschool Units

I got my hands on this wonderful organizer for free and my brain was instantly spinning!!!! Oh the things I could do with many, MANY little compartments like this! Organizing preschool units was a need, I wanted a place to sort my RRSP and file folders and/or boxes just weren’t doing it for me. Here’s what I came up with and I am in L-O-V-E.

I hung a small sticky note on each cubby in the order we will be dong the units. I am then not only placing the printed unit from RRSP in the slot, but also extra printables we will be using, books for the week, and any craft supplies we will need!!! If you can get your hands on one of these babies, I highly recommend it!!!

Organizing Preschool Units

I have been a foam-cutting-fool lately. I have prepared just about all of the Crafty ABCs that we have yet to do. We are now going to do them along with the letter of the week, so I sorted them all in little baggies and now the baggies are in their proper cubby!


Here is a shot of our main preschool “wall” where most of preschool takes place now. I got it all cleaned up and organized for K’s return 😉


We will actually be moving out of this room soon {projected date is October, we’ll see!}, so things are as organized as they can be while we wait and prepare for the big move {which I will share in detail when the new school room is complete}! If I were to turn the camera around and show you the wall on the opposite side, it would be embarrassing!

Another new feature I have added is a baggie system to our calendar routine. You can see our calendar board here, and all we do during this time. {the board itself actually hangs on hooks in front of the RRSP board, I just took it down for the photo above} I put each small calendar time supply in its own little baggie and clipped them together and hung them on a hook. I am hoping this will help me stay neater 😉 and not forget certain things that don’t fit on the board. The one thing I added to our morning routine is these awesome ABC movement cards. I plan to have each boy choose one card a day for us to do! They are larger cards but I scaled them down to print and they all fit in a tiny baggie now.


I also added a hook for K’s RRSP review materials, so they can be easily accessed.


~ The white shelf you see above the board is the same one that is on the floor in Ladybug’s room in this post. It is from the picture frame department at Ikea, here it is online. It is awesome, I plan to get more!

More Preschool Links…

Our School Room ~ Ready for the New Year!

First, I must tell you, I used to be a public school Kindergarten teacher. This is important for you to know for 2 reasons…#1 it explains my LOVE of bright colors, it just isn’t school for me without a classroom like this-it makes me happy. #2 I have tons of stuff (school type stuff) that I saved from when I used to teach. I was one of those teachers who bought things with personal money for my classroom when I taught, and I got to keep all of that when I quit, I just boxed the MANY goodies up and now finally have a use for them!!

I have purchased many things for this room, but have spent a very moderate amount of money. I thank Ikea and Target for that!!! I sure wish they were paying me because I am about to put a big plug in for them :). I will try to link up specific things I love in case you are interested and have an Ikea near you!

Here we go…Command central, our table. We do everything here! The table itself is from Ikea, as are the stools, the table trays (which I got a new one for Pac Man for this year), and even the trash can!! I am fortunate that Krash does leave the table trays alone. He is a wild child but is obedient for the most part so he usually stays out of them.Here we have our drawers, P’s storage board, files with P’s school books, our cd player, cd basket, and a storage box. If you want to know what is in the drawers I tell about them on the video linked above. Here’s a close up of P’s board…Krash can’t reach this!We finally hung the dry erase board up on the wall, a task on the to-do list all last year!!!This is our back door, which has been changed a bit, I added some hooks to the wall too. These are the baskets hanging on the wall, they are great! Hanging on the back of the door holding our balls is this.Look, the dark hole is clean!!!!!
REALLY clean!!! I am praying I can keep it this way!!! Sitting on top of the radiator, are these.These are the shelves lining the other wall…These boxes are on these shelves. I couldn’t live without these boxes, they are 1.49 now, I got them when they were only 99 cents! You can’t see them in my photos, but we use these to store books. I have a big bookshelf in the living room, where all of the books are sorted by theme. I pull the box we are using into the school room when we need it.

Here is the far left shelf up close…This is the Tot School shelf, if you want to know what’s on it, check out my Tot School Tools store!Moving along…I LOVE my new dollar trays from Target. If you like them, go to Target, they probably still have them, I just got them last week! Final shelf…
This is the last wall, more drawers (from Target, I think on sale this week for $10), and my storage board. And, holding artwork on our wall now, these neat things.My board close up…It feels so good to have it all ready, I feel SO much better than I did last year! I am praying I have organized it in a way that I can keep it clean. I tried to get rid of lots of junk we don’t use to simplify what is in there. We’ll see!

In case you missed it, here are links to my past schoolroom posts…
Last Week (July 2008)

Our School Room

It is time again, time for a school room post! I have written a couple in the past year, you can find them here and here. Today I am posting for Brenda’s Keeping it Real gathering :). About a week before I found out she was going to do this, I began the major school room overhaul, but I stopped and grabbed the camera before I finished!! I am actually almost done but I will save the final photos for another post. For today, here is the schoolroom–real style!

Our schoolroom is located in the very back of our approximately 100 year old inner-city row home. We have a unique house, and thankfully we are blessed with this unique space to have a schoolroom! You walk into the school room from the kitchen, this is the view walking in. The basket on the top left is my collect all (ooops it’s overflowing) basket-big trouble spot.Keep looking down that same wall and you see this. The drawers are filled with many different school related items, all labeled and organized. I got the drawer sets from Target. I will be posting later about the reorganization and what is in each one! I couldn’t survive without these drawers, they are the best thing in my school room!Then you see this, the wagon used to store all of the outside toys, since our schoolroom is also the mudroom/outside storage area. These great Ikea baskets are hanging above the wagon, I usually store our current lapbook themed items in these. You can see we’re working on oceans right now!This door leads outside to our back (mini) yard. On the wall are awesome baskets from Ikea, where we store outside stuff: sunscreen, bug spray, bubbles, sunglasses, etc. Below the baskets on the wall is an awesome round basket from Target where we keep all of our *backdoor shoes*.

This is looking from the entrance door into the middle of the room, at our school table, where we work mostly. Many of the tot school and other school photos you see are taken here! Pac and I have stools (from Ikea) and Krash has a Hook-On High Chair. This is my awesome table tray (Ikea) that holds all of my most needed small items.This is the black hole of the schoolroom, it’s is mainly out of sight and collects much junk–ugh. I hate this corner. It is actually all clean now, but this was what it looked like the day I snapped the pic!On the other wall (when walking in the schoolroom it’s on the right), we have shelves lining the entire wall (also from Ikea). You can see how overloaded they became this year and they got completely redone last week! Again, after photos will come soon!This is the Tot-School shelf, where I store many of our Tot School Tools. When this pic was taken, things would fall out on me when I tried to take one thing down, it had gotten bad!This is the final wall, which holds P’s computer, more storage drawers and our wonderful storage board (also Ikea).

I had to write this post quickly (I am short on time this week!), I plan to do the finished one more in depth! Feel free to ask any questions about the room and I will try to answer them in the next post!!

Go check out Brenda’s blog for photos of other school rooms!