Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A peek into our first day of homeschooling

If you remember, I mentioned that the church is letting us use a large room in the church basement to do homeschooling this year. It helps us out a lot since we now have two kids homeschooling and we had used the guest bedroom in previous years. That makes it rather interesting when we have so many guests!

So this morning we headed across the parking lot for our first day of school ...

My husband helped carry a few things this morning because I had quite a bit to take over. He and my son were way ahead!

Here's my little kindergartner, excited about school but a little nervous, too!

I don't think I'll require them to dress up all year, but I wanted to make the first day special ... and besides, I was taking pictures today! I've always noticed that kids behave better when they're dressed up, though, so I may just institute a "no denim" rule. We'll see! :)

Let me show you our classroom. It's hard to get it all in one picture, but here's the half of the room that we're using:

From the left, you'll see an extra white board and easel, art supplies (lots and lots of them!), free time activities, a storage cabinet, and the kids' "desks".

This dry erase board on a stand was already there, and it was just the thing to divide a kid-sized table into two individual work areas. A huge bonus: I can write assignments for each child on the board or attach things with magnets.

Here's my daughter's side. My set of charts (secondhand from a friend) was missing this particular chart, so I bought this set of window clings from Dollar Tree and stuck them onto the dry erase board. They work great, and they'll come off easily when I need to remove them!

You'll notice each of my kids has their own small dry erase board. We use these to practice handwriting because it's more fun. They also have their own little trash can. I'm hoping this inspires them to keep the room clean!

Remember this teepee? I have a bunch of books for the kids to look through if they finish their work early. Since both of my kids love books (even though the youngest doesn't read yet), I knew it would be a popular choice, so I wanted a cozy reading nook with few distractions. My daughter agreed to let us take her teepee over, and we placed a kid-sized teddy bear chair and my homemade braided rug inside. They love it!

This is the "free time" station. When they complete their work, they can either get a book to read/look at or they can pick something from this station. I've selected only the items that are on their level at the moment. I'll switch them out with other things as the school year progresses.

We have: tangrams, a patterning game, phonics tiles, Math Shark, a subtraction game, lacing cards, a shoe to learn tying, a View Master with animal slides, a wooden counting/hand puzzle, coloring books and drawing paper, fun workbooks and file folder games. There's plenty to keep them busy!

Now let's peek at my humongous bulletin boards (all of them were here before we ever thought about homeschooling in the room):

I was originally thinking of dividing this into two smaller boards, but this is what I'm going with for now. It's at the front of the room, right behind my desk. I meant to put a background paper up, but I already had the calendar in place by the time I remembered. Oh well! Maybe I'll remember next month!

We'll be posting good work papers under the "Now Starring" header.

The pledge of allegiance poster is from Dollar Tree.

My son's first math theme is pond life, so I made a pond bulletin board to set the scene. Usually I like bulletin boards that have a purpose other than just decoration, but my son really likes it without anything else on it, so I'm happy as it is.

Lastly, this is the other half of that huge bulletin board (originally 4'x8'). His first science unit is about taking care of ourselves, and I copied this idea directly from the teacher's manual. I have an opaque projector that I used to enlarge the tooth patterns onto posterboard.

My kids were really interested in this one, and my daughter even picked out which of the four types of teeth is featured as the biggest (no prompting from me). Hey, if they can learn something from a bulletin board, that's great! :)

Our day went well. We started at 9:00 and were finished by 11:00. Not bad for two kids, right? It won't always be that fast, though. The first few days are an abbreviated schedule with no reading or handwriting plans. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that, but I follow the curriculum guides quite closely and it always works out well! :)


Kristen Bieber said...

Your home school room looks great! I am glad you had a good first day!

Shore Girl said...

Can I come to your school? I LOVE the reading nook and the free time station. (I guess there are some negatives to only having one to teach --- when she's done -she's done...no need for other entertainment!)
Oh, and I totally understand the "dressing up" for 1st day pictures --- we do the same.
BTW - love the pic with Ryan peeking out from under the whiteboard! (smile)
Everything looks great --- have fun in school this year!

DeeAnn said...

Your babies are so sweet. I love the new classroom. It is a perfect school setup without all the school stress and drama's. I absolutely adore it.