Last week a few moms from our homeschooling group had a get-together. With summer winding down we were anxious to talk about our exciting plans for the upcoming school year and share our home organization tips. We see all over the blogs so many wonderful ideas written about school at home; photos of lovely schoolrooms; projects;and accounts of idyllic homeschool days. In looking at some of my past posts showing our homeschool activities it occurs to me that it might be possible for someone who doesn't know me in real life to see me as one of those moms who always has craft days , includes activities in her days based on the liturgical year , does still more crafts , and of course includes weekly civics lessons into the planning.
Did I say planning? Well, it's time for a reality check. With less than two weeks away from my targetted first day of school ( yes, in my world it would be considered a mortal sin to begin formal schooling before Labor Day!) , I am still waiting for materials to arrive. Most of our curriculum is already here. I can't take credit for that, though. Having had five children of varying ages at home for school, I have many materials on hand already.
Our "schoolroom" is more of a storage area and a place to display the kids' work than a place where we sit at desks and do work. But I think for people in our life who don't get the whole homeschooling philosophy, it is comforting for them to see this area and imagine me standing in front of the room teaching lessons. If that makes them feel better it's fine with me. They can call it a classroom, but we know better... it's a storage area. Most homeschoolers I know do their bookwork at the kitchen or dining room table.
So, in the interest of honesty, and perhaps to make you feel better about yourself, I give you some pictures of our school/storage room.
I am feeling a bit exposed, yet at the same time strangely free. You can see that our poor bookworm which Thomas and Hannah made to keep track of books read was dissected in several parts. He was looking pretty sad by August.
. The infamous "morning basket", chock-full of fun activities which we planned on using to keep up our skills throughout the summer sits exactly where it was in June. I did dust around it several times over the summer. It still has the July MagnifiKid in there, in its wrapper. Shhhh.
The craft area. I believe if you dig deep enough, you may find some broken crayons under there. Do crayons count as a craft? Enough about that.
Command central. Every homeschool mom needs a place to keep her stuff. This desk in my kitchen is my command central. I guess it doesn't look too bad, except for the fact that since the computer was dying a slow death for most of the summer, this area wasn't used much. Check back for my post "Keeping it Real:The Sequel" to see how this desk looks when actually being used.
The lost and found. By the end of May, each morning we would have to scour the house for something to write with. Anything... a pencil, a crayon, a sharpie, an eyeliner. Anything. Most often we would find something lodged in a couch cushion. No matter how many writing implements I collected at the end of the day and placed in a jar at command central, by morning, they'd be gone. I suspect some of the students who leave the house for school were loading up their lockers with our pens and pencils. Either that, or elves were swiping them. Perhaps a packrat. But I think I finally figured out where they were disappearing to. This summer, while switching around the upstairs bedrooms, I removed a mattress from the trundle in Thomas's room and the picture above shows what I found underneath. I'm not kidding! Tons of pencils and pens under his mattress! I don't want to know why. I like to think he's working on his novel in his room late at night. It makes me feel better.
I think I better end here. I'm getting a chill from all this exposure. I am planning to spend as much of this weekend as possible getting some planning and organizing done. I've already started actually. But for the times when you or I start feeling inadequate because of over-reading about other homeschoolers' worlds on the internet, it's time to step away from the computer, glean what you can use from so many terrific moms who freely share their wisdom, and begin put it to good use with your own family. And remember, in cyber-world, most of us show our best face. Everything we write about is the truth. But there is always more to the story... the internet allows us to only show the happy endings and not necessarily the sometimes harrowing journey to get there.
Have a great school year!