Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

P is for Planner June 20, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 10:43 pm

Last year was my first year using a full-blown planner to organize my homeschooling.  I just needed a couple of charts and an appointment calendar in past years!

Being the “DIY” type of a gal that I am, I couldn’t be completely satisfied with any pre-printed planner or even any of the complete printable planner e-book files out there.  Instead, I put together my own planner using free printables from a variety of sources, as well as a few pages I created myself.   Here’s what I made for the 2011-2012 school year:

I wanted my planner to be a go-to source of information for school plans and for our other activities. I also thought I would use some custom “weekly planner” printables I made to either plan out each subject or jot down what we did after the fact.

As it turned out, after a few weeks I didn’t use those weekly planner pages at all! I had fun creating something that looked good nice, but it just didn’t reflect the way I actually plan.  And while I liked in theory the idea of keeping a record of what we did each day…in practicality I forgot to do it.  We don’t need a detailed record to meet any legal requirements, so personal desire did not turn out to be a big enough motivation! (And then I started this blog, which has a nice side benefit of being a different sort of record of our weeks!).   (I did replace section of the planner partially with a simple chart of weekly assignments for Miss M. I printed out a chart to give her each week so she could check off her independent work, but this year I may just bind a bunch of these sheets together for her!)

After I printed all these pages, I took them all to the copy center to be spiral bound together.  I also had the cover laminated since it was too large to fit in my home laminator.

This year my planner will still contain a monthly calendar for noting family events, a section for meeting schedules and other important handouts, and excel spreadsheets I create to track what I hope we will do when with certain subjects like science and history.  I also will included photo-copied tables of contents for all our subjects that are “do the next thing” sort of lessons.   I don’t really need to plan out in advance when we will do which math lesson — we always just do the next thing.  But sometimes it is helpful to know what topics are coming up.  I like having information like that at my fingertips even if we aren’t at home.

I’ll save myself a trip to the copy shop by using regular size cardstock for the cover, and using my pro-click binding machine to bind it.  That has the added benefit of being able to re-arrange the pages if needed during the year.  I put many of my pages in page protectors last year so I could swap them out if needed (yes, the page protectors worked in the spiral binding just fine!).  This year it will all just go in the pro-click spine, and I’ll open it up if I need to swap anything out.

I found several sites helpful for finding DIY planner instructions and tips as well as free planner pages of various types.  Everyone has different needs and styles when it comes to creating a planner, but I think most people’s needs will be met somewhere in this list of free printables:

New Beginnings — Lots of Great instructions and printables.  One of the most helpful sites I found!

Donna Young — Tons, and tons of free planning pages and charts and calendars.  Most are pretty basic in terms of style/appearance, but almost every conceivable column combination is available on her site.

Vertex 42 – Free printable calendars (monthly, yearly, academic year, etc)

Daily Assignment Sheet @ Homeschool Creations — The printable assignment sheet I used for Miss M for the past few months

2012-2013 School Year Calendar — I am using this printable to plan my history units for next year…filling in little squares in various colors for each unit is fun!

Homeschool Planner Pages at Money Saving Mom

Another Free Homeschool Planner @ An Intentional Life

A big round-up of lots and lots of links to free homeschool planners @ Are We There Yet?

Happy Planning!



Making a Summer “Bucket List” June 12, 2012

Filed under: Fun Stuff and Extras,Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:10 am

Last summer I made a “Bucket List” of sorts for the summer that I just kept in a file on my computer.  I referred to it when I was trying to think of things to do on any free summer weekends or on days I thought the kids could use an outing or fun activity.  This year I decided to include the kids in our list making!

A Summer Bucket List for us is more than about filling the time when we are taking a break from our regular academics (though this is part of it).   Summer in Minnesota is such a beautiful season!  While we had a mild winter and a beautiful spring this year, some years it feels like the three months of summer are the only time we can consistently expect to enjoy a lot of outside activities!

To get the brainstorming started, I taped up several large pieces of paper to the dining room wall.  I added headings to each sheet of paper to get us started:

  • Places to Go
  • Things to do Inside at Home
  • Things to do Outside at Home
  • Plans to Make
  • Yummy Things to Eat
  • Things to Learn
  • Projects to Work On
  • Goals to Accomplish

There was some overlap between the headings (a few things we debated momentarily about which list to put them on), but the headings were really just to help spur on our creative thinking.  I wrote down pretty much anything the kids said unless it was clearly too dangerous (Sorry Mr E, no rock throwing fights!), not possible in our current situation (We don’t have an appropriate tree for a tree fort, so that’s out. We’ve already decided that an inexpensive “in state” summer vacation is in our budget this year, so we didn’t write down, “Go to Colorado” for this year), or just generally not possible (Mr. K, you will have to be a grown-up before you can become an astronaut or a race car driver!).    I also explained to the kids that we might not do everything on our list.  We only have so much time and money.  Some ideas might work just as well during the school year, or we may save some for future summers.

Looking for some summer activity inspiration? Check out my Summer Fun Pinterest board! And here are some of the ideas we came up with for Summer 2012:

Place to Go (Local to the Twin Cities, aka Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN and surrounding area):

Things to Do Outside at Home:

  • Treasure Hunt
  • Fire in our Firepit
  • Water Gun/Water Balloon Fight
  • Food Fight
  • Silly String Fight (hmmm..I see a theme here!)
  • Backyard wading pool
  • Sprinkler
  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk/paint
  • Put on a play
  • Get all wet in a hose fight
  • Lemonade stand
  • Picnic outside at home

Things to do Inside at Home

  • Play-doh
  • Pillow Fight
  • Make a Movie
  • Have a “Backwards Day”
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Make an Angry Birds level out of toys
  • Make a Robot out of Legos
  • Raise Monarch Caterpillars
  • Play games with balloons

Yummy Things to Eat:

  • Homemade Popsicles
  • Mix Vanilla Ice Cream with Popsicles
  • Homemade Ice Cream
  • Make Preserves or Jam
  • Go out for Ice Cream
  • Eat homegrown Lettuce and tomatoes
  • Try new vegetables we’ve never had before

Things to Learn:

Miss M wants to learn about:  Sewing, Tennis and Swimming

Mr E wants to learn about:

  • Spiders
  • How houses are built
  • How lotion is made
  • How paper is made
  • How to play soccer
  • Reading and writing
  • Electricity

I want the kids to learn about:

  • New chores (we might have a “chore bootcamp!”)
  • Cooking
  • Bible studies on Biblical character traits

Plans to Make

  • Playdates with Friends
  • A BBQ for 4th of July
  • Look into Pottery classes for M and E
  • Games for the Block Party
  • Summer Adventure camp (Miss M wants to have her own camp with her friends!)
  • Meeting friends at the pool
  • More camping trips

What’s on your “Bucket List” this summer?


O is for Organizing June 6, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:07 am

We’re currently on a six week summer break from most of our formal academic work.  And wow, it has been hard to get in the mindset to think about anything homeschool-related at all, whether it be for this blog or for planning and getting organized for next year!   But I also know that now (when we are on break, and really all summer long until we get back to a “full” school schedule) is the time to get all my ducks in a row for a great start to the next school year!

The past few summers I’ve had to spend major time organizing our school room/supplies.  This year, we are still fresh from a big re-do of our school room back in January:

I only wish it still looked that clean! (The only down side I’ve found so far to the Trofast drawer set up is that big, flat open space…it’s a clutter magnet!).    The main thing I need to do is clear out this past year’s stuff and possibly make some labels so everyone knows whose stuff is where! Our art and game cabinets need a bit of “touch up” organizing — but they are still pretty fresh from our big January clean-out as well.

I do have two other areas that need my organizing attention this summer: Our non-fiction kids books and my electronic files.  I tried to get some of our non-fiction books organized into Ikea magazine holders last summer.  But I never got the magazine holders labeled, and the result was those books didn’t get used very much.  I need to move out of the way some history books we probably won’t use this year to make more space, and find a better system (or maybe just labels on the old system) for the rest of the non-fiction books.

My electronic files need the most organization of all.   You know all those great free PDF-format printables and Ebooks?  Or those $1 sale files from the Scholastic teachers express store? Or the great deals that currclick offers? I must have dozens of those files, spread out between two computers, my iPad and even still sitting on Currclick and Scholastic’s servers, having never been downloaded.  A few files are nicely in a big folder labled “homeschooling” and some are just in the general “downloads” folder along with every other random thing we’ve downloaded in the last couple years.   I’m not making good use of the files I have, and I have nearly re-purchased a file for a second time that I had already paid for once (because it looked just as good the second time!).

So one of my challenges to myself this summer is to take care of this organizational disaster.  I think I need to condense everything to one place, possibly with file folders labeled by subject area and maybe even a master list of files I have purchased.   And now that I’ve told the world I’m going to do it, I’ll need to follow through and actually do it! 😉

To see what other bloggers are writing about for the letter O, visit “Blogging through the Alphabet” at Ben and Me!



10 Things to Do With Kids’ Artwork March 13, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 5:00 am
Tags: ,

I’m often amazed by how many items made of paper my kids produce every week.   Whether it is schoolwork, drawings, paintings, sticker collages or more elaborate art work, it can be a big chore to deal with all of it.  Here are few ways that we try and tame our “paper tiger” without just throwing all our kids’ hard work in the trash can.

1. Have a designated spot to put it (and sort through that spot regularly).  Here’s our current “done bin” as the kids call it…hmmm…I think it’s time for a clean out! 🙂 Unless something is obviously trash or someone wants to display it right away, most paper items in our house go here first.   Maybe it’s procrastination, but I like not making each and every clean up time a battle over what to save or toss.

2. Display it.  This could be a Top Ten list of its own, and more.  A search for “display kids art” on Pinterest  results in many, many creative ideas. We currently have a bulletin board in the school room.  The kids can pin any of their work to the board, but they either need to take something down of their own or get permission from a sibling to take something down before a new item can be added.   For quite a while I had a special display area in the dining room that I stocked with pictures. I took an old poster frame, added black posterboard to the back, then put 4 of my favorite pieces of artwork in the frame.  I hope to get this back up soon, as it was a great decoration for the dining room.

3. Make an artwork binder.  Maybe this is where  I am being a little bit lazy, but I have been letting Mr E in particular save almost any flat 8.5 x 11 piece of paper that he wants to save in a binder.  Here’s how this got started.  He and Mr. K love stickers.  They love to just sit and put stickers on paper.  That’s art to them, I guess.  It just killed me to be spending money on stickers and then throwing them away so fast once they were put on paper.  Enter the artwork binder! I punch holes in the paper, and many, many sheets of paper fit in each binder.  And, you know what? The boys actually sit and look at these two (so far) binders and enjoy looking at sticker pages and various drawings.  They tell each other stories based on what they see.  The items in these binders may not be “keep forever” sort of things, but it seems to be something they enjoy greatly for now!

4. Scan it.  What about the “good stuff”?  Well, if it is flat and standard size, I often scan it.  This gives us a lot of versatility of what to do with it in the future!

5. Photograph it.  Items that are too big to scan, like this “Happy Halloween” banner, or 3-Dimensional items can be saved for posterity in this way.

6. Save a few items for the “permanent collection”.  I ask Mr. E and Miss M to choose 5-10 pieces of 2-D art to save each year (or I may pick a few favorites myself).  I may or may not have scanned the items first, but after a few favorite items are no longer being displayed, I pack up these items in a large plastic bag.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever do anything with these, but they don’t take up a lot of space, and I think my kids may at some point fondly look back on these items. Or maybe I’ll just be fondly looking back at them when they are grown.  🙂

7. Make a photo book from scanned or photographed art.  I got this idea from Pinterest and I have followed through on actually doing it yet…but wouldn’t this be a fun thing to have on our bookshelf?

8. Use photos or scanned files to make calendars or other gifts. This has become an annual tradition for us.  Grandparents love to get a new calendar every year decorated with kids’ artwork!  Photo sites like VistaPrint, Shutterfly and Snapfish have dozens of “photo gift” options and often run really great sales.  Why not make a mug, keychain or notecards decorated with your kids’ best artwork to give as gifts?

9. Re-purpose it.  Once you’ve scanned the artwork you want to scan, and you’ve saved the cream of the crop to store for the future, turn some of the originals into something else?  Large pieces of art could become wrapping paper.  Smaller items could become part of a greeting card.  Or if you want to really get crafty, check out this idea for re-purposing your toddler’s scribbles!

10. Give it away.  Grandmas seem to love having their grandkids’ art to decorate the fridge.  You could go one step beyond just giving it to Grandma by thinking of other distant relatives who might like getting a drawing in the mail, or even giving pictures to older friends and neighbors who might find that a child’s art would really brighten their day.

Do you have any other great ideas for dealing with kids’ art? I would love to hear them!

I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings!

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings


B is for Binding Machine March 1, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 7:25 am

Here’s my newest toy tool for homeschool organization:

I’ve been pondering getting a ProClick P50 binding machine for quite a while.   I think the first place I read about it was in this post over at Our Busy Homeschool, one of the many great homeschooling blogs I read.

Homeschooling involves a lot of paper — workbooks, printable worksheets, projects, planners…and the list goes on.  The last couple years I have taken stacks of items to be bound at either an office supply store or a printing shop.  The cost and time involved adds up quickly, but I so love having books that can lay flat or be easily kept open to the proper page.

I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas, plus I got a couple of small gift cards as “thank you” gifts early in the year.  After buying a few books from my wishlist, I still had almost enough left to buy the ProClick and the spines.  As a treat to myself, I went ahead and splurged a little past that gift card amount to buy my binding machine.

I bound my first item earlier this week — a stack of worksheets for Miss M from a “Read and Understand Science” book.  Instead of loose copies flying around, they are now neatly in one of her school drawers, taking up less space than they would in a binder.

I have visions of many things I’ll be binding in the coming weeks and months — custom coloring books for the boys? Math practice pages for Miss M?  Pages for Miss M’s “lapbook” on horses that she is currently working on? A new-and-improved planner for me?  Don’t mind if I do!

While this is definitely not a necessity for homeschooling, I think I will have a lot of fun with this tool!

I’m linking up with:


Homeschooling with a New Baby in the Family: A “Day in the Life” February 4, 2012

Filed under: Babies and Tots,Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:33 pm

Homeschooling with a new baby in the familyYesterday, I wrote about a few things I’ve learned about homeschooling with a new baby in in the family.  Here’s an outline of what a “typical” day might look like for us with a 7.5 year old 2nd grader (Miss M), an almost-five-year-old doing some pre-k/k level work (Mr. E), a three-year-old (Mr. K) and a new baby (baby J, now 3 months)!

6:30am — I get up for the day and make a latte and some days make something for breakfast. (Some days I’ve made something the night before, other days we have a breakfast I don’t have to cook, like cereal or bagels).  This is my goal time to wake up — other days realistically it is 7am…or 7:30 if everyone would let me. 🙂 Usually Mr. K and sometimes Mr. E is up with me.

At maybe 6:45 or 7am until about 8:30am: I Eat breakfast, catch up on blogs and email while feeding baby J and also read my Bible (sometimes while feeding baby J, other times while eating breakfast).  If I am lucky, I also find time for a shower or bath.  Meanwhile, the kids eat breakfast and play (or Miss M reads).

8:30 to 9am: While the boys are playing and Miss M is getting dressed and reading her Bible, I make sure we’re ready for our school day and clean up from breakfast.  Or if we’re running behind, I’m still eating or getting ready for the day.

9am: We start school.  I encourage Miss M to be ready to go for the day by this time, having already read her Bible chapter.  She and I meet in the school room and I go over the plan for the day.  I show her the list of independent work I have for her, tell her what other work we have to do together, and discuss any other plans, chores or expectations for the day.  In an ideal world we would also have “calendar time” with the boys too…but the reality is that this happens maybe once every couple weeks!

9am to Noon is essentially our “school block” exactly the order of things depends on everyone’s moods and when baby J is sleeping and eating. Here’s how one day looks: (I don’t have actual times — it’s hard to watch the clock while all this is going on!)

  • Boys are running around pretending to be clone troopers shooting battle droids.  I encourage them to play with the Lego clone troopers instead since it is more quiet, and I help them get the Legos out.
  • Next, I go over the school work for the day with Miss M.  Since baby J is neither eating nor sleeping and the other two boys are playing , she starts on her independent work.  Today’s list includes cursive copywork, one row of a telling-time worksheet, a short page of subtraction facts, practicing her US States memory work, reading a chapter of a “classic starts” version of Little Women, and a page of spelling words to copy in her spelling workbook.
  • Meanwhile, I start a load of laundry and talk to the boys about their Lego creations
  • A short while later, baby J seems like he is getting tired, so I lay him down for his morning nap.  I let Miss M know we’re going to do Math soon.
  • As soon as J falls asleep, we start math. The boys wander away from the Legos, and I direct them toward some coloring books and dot-to-dot books.
  • We start working on the math lesson, but I haven’t reminded Mr. K to use the potty in a while, and he has an accident.  Miss M works on independent work for a few minutes again while I help Mr. K with clean up and new clothes)
  • Back to Math.  We finish the lesson, while the boys are now cutting up pieces of scrap paper into tiny pieces all over the school room floor to amuse themselves.  This is fine motor practice, right? They grudgingly clean in it up when they are done, and color a bit more.
  • After a quick oral quiz on spelling words, it’s break time.  I help everyone get a snack and set a timer for 15 minutes so I don’t lose track of time to get Miss M back to her school work.
  • Baby J is still asleep at the end of break time, so Miss M goes off to continue her independent work.  I ask Mr E if he would rather do a page in his phonics book (Phonics Pathways) or work on reading a book.  He picks reading a book, so I get one off the shelf (a “Now I’m Reading” book by Nora Gaydos) and he reads it with my help, while Mr K listens in.  I try and spend 10-15 minutes on some kind of focused learning activity with Mr E every day — but if he isn’t interested, I don’t push it.  Mr K is just turning 3 this month, and I rarely do anything formal with him.  He is picking up letters and number sort of by osmosis, I guess and he loves to color, cut paper and “write A’s” (he loves the letter and does not care to learn to write any other letter right now I guess!).  I’ll probably start trying to spend 5 or 10 minutes a day with Mr. K on something a little more “formal” starting next fall, if he is more inclined by that time. Mr E will be “officially” a Kindergartener in the fall, and I would imagine that his school time will increase to 20 or 30 minutes a day at that point.
  • Baby J wakes up and I call Miss M over to read a lesson from Mystery of History while I nurse the baby.  The boys don’t want to listen today, and they wander away to play in their bedroom.  After the History reading is over, Miss M goes to check off one remaining item on her to-do list, and then she is free to do as she pleases.  I call to the boys and see if they want to pick books to read while I finish nursing the baby, and they do.  The get books from the library basket and join me on the couch.
  • After J is done eating, it is time for me to make lunch.  The kids remind me they haven’t done anything on the iPad yet today (sometimes they use it during the school block for something educational…other times I use it to distract the boys if I am having trouble keeping them quiet while I work with Miss M!).  So they talk me into letting them each have a short turn to play a game for fun while I get lunch on the table.

Noon, or sometimes sooner: I make lunch, and we eat!

After lunch to 1:30ish: Unless we have somewhere to be (like our homeschool co-op days, where we actually eat around 11am and leave the house by 11:45), the kids have time to play freely.  They might head outside to our fenced in back yard if the weather is nice. Miss M often chooses to read for fun.  I feed the baby again if needed, and relax for a bit.

Afternoon “block” 1:30 to 4:30 or 5pm:  The block of time varies considerably from day to day and week to week.  Twice a month we have co-op.  We go to the library once a week (and sometimes this is combined with another errand as long as we are leaving the house).  Some weeks we also need one afternoon for a trip to Target or Aldi.  If we’re at home, the kids may play games, work on art projects, or just play inside or outside.  Some days I convince them to help me with chores.  Miss M often spends time reading.  I will try and read aloud to the boys while I am feeding J if they are willing.  While not tending to the needs and requests of the kids (or dealing with discipline issues), I am often trying to get a few chores done myself, work on some sort of project or do some cooking.  Or I am reading blogs or Facebook if I am too exhausted to be productive! 🙂  Toward the end of this block of time we have a snack and maybe do some clean up if I have the energy to follow through with making them do it! To be honest, clean up time is not usually very pleasant, and some days I just feel too tired to make sure they actually do it and not just complain about how they hate to clean up. It’s a character issue we’re working on around here!

Sometime around 5pm, or maybe 5:30pm I start cooking dinner.  For a while we were very successful in just having the kids play while I try to cook dinner…this has been more chaotic lately and stressful, so I am back to having them most days either watch half an hour to an hour of shows (DVD or Netflix), or letting them play a game on the computer or iPad.

Sometime between 6 and 6:30pm we sit down for dinner, then enjoy some time as a family before our bedtime routine!

That’s a general overview of what our days look like…but of course with 4 kids you can expect the unexpected!


5 Tips for Homeschooling with a New Baby in the Family February 3, 2012

Filed under: Babies and Tots,Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 4:57 pm

Homeschooling with a new baby in the familyThere’s no doubt that the arrival of a new baby to a family brings schedule changes and requires extra work and flexibility from everyone.  Homeschooling is so wonderfully flexible, and many families chose to take an extended school break of some sort when a baby arrives.

When baby J arrived 3 months ago, we decided that extended time off wasn’t the best option for us.  While learning can certainly take place at any time, our formal school time is an anchor to the routine in our day.  We also didn’t want Miss M to lose valuable progress she was making in learning addition facts and telling time.   And I really enjoy teaching my children (most of the time, anyway!).

I planned our schedule for the year to accommodate taking two weeks off.  But then Tony suggested that he could be my “substitute teacher” while he took his two weeks off of work. We decided this would be a unique opportunity to not only maintain some routine in the face of all the other changes a new baby brings, but also for him to bring his perspective and ways of explaining things to the table.

But of course, about two weeks after J was born, Tony went back to work! Then it was up to me to carry out our plan of continuing on with school, even with a newborn.  Here’s a few things I have found helpful:

1. Have a thankful attitude and realistic expectations.  I knew that, especially at first, we might not get as much school work done as we had before baby J was born.  I let Miss M (our oldest — 7.5 years old/2nd grade) know what my priorities were (doing at least a few basics every day during the first couple months).  I wanted her (and I) to be thankful for what we were able to accomplish, not focused on what we were not getting done.

2. Do read-aloud subjects while the baby eats.  If you are stuck sitting on the couch anyway, why not read? I’m not the type to follow very much of a schedule at first for the baby’s feedings.  So, when the baby gets hungry, we often stop whatever else we’re doing and move to the couch to read history or other read-alouds.

3.  Make a daily to-do list of independent work.  Maybe this is something you do anyway! For us it, was something new.  Rather than have Miss M ask me for another thing to do after finishing one thing, I now make her a list of all the things she can do on her own on that day.  Sometimes she does all these things, and then comes to get me for the subjects we do together. Other days these independent items are checked off the list here and there while I am taking care of needs that come up for the other kids.

4.  Make a weekly plan of school work to get done for that week. I have to admit that while I made an overall schedule for the year, each week (before J was born) I rarely made a list of what I was specifically hoping to accomplish.  With tiredness or crying baby or potty training toddler to distract me (yes, we are crazy enough to be trying to potty train our almost-three-year-old while having a small baby!), it helps to have it all charted out.  Right now I’m using the daily assignment sheet printables from Homeschool Creations to plan my week.  I know they are meant to be a student assignment sheet, but I think they are cute so I am using them for me for right now.  🙂 I write in pencil, so it’s easy to change things up and be flexible if needed!

5. Do the subjects requiring the most focus while the baby sleeps.  Even though a tiny baby (assuming he/she isn’t crying) is not much of a distraction to school work, I find that I am more focused on teaching if I am not holding baby J while doing math lessons in particular.

I guess I would sum up these five tips as “Be Flexible!”  By being flexible and making school a priority in our day, we’ve found it to be very possible to make progress toward our academic goals over the past three months since baby J joined us.  Now getting the house clean and surviving taking all the kids to the store…I might have to read someone else’s tips on that.

Tomorrow, I’ll post what a “day in the life” looks like for us!


Weekend Project: Overhaul the Play/School Room January 30, 2012

Filed under: Getting Organized — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:28 am

With Miss M’s room finished, the next job on our to-do list was to re-do the play/school room.   With Mr. E moving toward spending more time on school work and having more school supplies, and thinking toward Mr. K even doing some preschool type work next year, our set up needed some tweaks.  Add that to the fact that the boys now have a new “road” rug for their cars and have been taking more and more toys to their room anyway, it seemed like a good time to move more of the boys toys (especially ones that cause loud, noisy play) to their room.

The school room is mostly finished.  While there are a few toys in there (and we’ll need to add in some baby toys as J is getting older and more interested in toys!), we wanted the focus of that room to be quieter activities: schoolwork, crafts, games, reading and building play like legos and blocks.

We have a few more bins that may go in the closet (that area is not quite finished yet).  We also have plans to repurpose an old VHS rack into a book case that would allow for books to sit with their covers facing out. We need to add to the walls the world map that Miss M received for Christmas, and maybe another bulletin board.  And now I have to re-organize the toys we just put in the boys room! They aren’t in too bad of a state, but it definitely needs work in there.

Here’s how things started…

Sorting out the contents of the game cabinet…

Two trips to Ikea and many hours of work later…

After it was done, I sort of felt like a person on one of those cable shows where they redo an entire house in a week.  I can’t wait to use our new school room today!