Archives For Homeschool

Homeschool Space Tour

A few weeks ago, I shared about homeschooling in a small space. We don’t have a dedicated school room but we’re making the most of the space we do have.

Our dining area doubles as our learning space which mean this area of our home works all day long. Once breakfast is over we clear the dishes and wipe the table down so we can begin school. Once we’re finished with school for the morning, it’s lunch time and we once again gather around and eat. Many afternoons are spent around the table doing art projects, writing or playing with Legos. And, of course we use our table for dinner each evening.

Homeschool Space

This is the view from kitchen into the dining area. Our table and our school cabinet are the main components of our school room. The black wall you can partially see to the left is our chalkboard wall which is a fun learning space element.

Homeschool Cabinet

Our learning cabinet holds all of our school books and supplies as well as some games and learning toys for our toddler. This cabinet is actually a former TV cabinet that my mother-in-law gave us. A few coats of white paint gave it new life and it’s a great piece to hold all of our materials.

School Books

This top shelf holds our smaller Sonlight books and school supplies (pencil sharpener, scissors, glue, hole punch, stapler, etc.) are contained in the white basket.

The bottom shelf holds our Sonlight books as well as some workbooks we’re working through. The green bin holds the school work for the next day. Each day when we finish our lessons for the day, I spend a few minutes gathering all of the books that we’ll need for lessons the next day and put everything together in the green bin. When I’m preparing to do school in the mornings, I grab all of our materials out of this bin and we’re ready to start learning for the day.

Homeschool Shelf

The shelves to the right contain the kids art and coloring books and hold their crayons, color pencils and markers. The middle shelf is our library shelf. I have found that having a place for library books makes keeping up with them much easier and also makes them not seem like clutter while they’re here (a place for everything and everything in it’s place!) The bottom shelf holds things for Cecilia to play with while we do school. I try to keep these items rotated. And, truth be told, she’d much rather be sitting at the table, trying to get in on the action and attempting to write on things than play with her toys!

My StudentAnd, here’s my student. I’ve been planning on homeschooling him since before he was born and it’s hard to believe that Kindergarten has finally arrived and we’re actually doing it. I was so nervous about finding a good rhythm before we started but so far it has been a really enjoyable experience for all. We’ve had a few moments, but overall I’m thankful for the opportunity to educate him at home.

Homeschooling in a Small Space

Five years ago, when we sold our first home and started looking for a new one, one of the home features on our wish list was a bonus space of some sort that we could use for a school room. Even though our son was a baby, we knew we would homeschool and thought having a separate room for school was a necessity.

We ended up compromising on several items on our wish list in favor of a home that was smaller than the first home we owned but below our housing budget. For us, giving up extra square footage was well worth it since we have a very affordable mortgage.

We’ve lived in this home for 4.5 years and have attempted to sell but have realized that choosing to live small allows our family more financial freedom. And, a few months ago we set a goal to pay off our mortgage by May 2020 so we’re planning on staying here until the mortgage is gone!

Last month, our oldest started Kindergarten and we began our journey of homeschooling without a dedicated school room.

Homeschooling in a small space has proven quite simple for our family.

Our learning area is our dining room. Our table is the most used piece of furniture in our home. It’s where we eat 3 meals a day, do school, create and write (I’m currently sitting at our table writing this!)

As soon as breakfast is over each morning, we clear the table, wipe it down if necessary, then pull out our learning materials for the day and jump right into learning.

We have a cabinet in our dining room that holds all of our school supplies and books as well as our art supplies, coloring books, library books, learning games and there’s even a shelf with toys for our toddler.

Homeschool Cabinet

While our dining room may have a bit of a classroom feel, I think it’s quite charming. I love having a map on the wall, our children’s art work displayed and books in our dining room.

Instead of viewing our limited space as a challenge, I’m embracing the simplicity of making our small space work.

The cabinet is our learning material storage space which makes me think carefully before making purchases and I ruthlessly declutter items that are no longer useful for our children.

I’m also thankful for our library, we check out our limit of books almost every week so our children are exposed to a variety of stories and information but we don’t have to deal with the clutter! Having a dedicated shelf for our library resources keeps them from getting lost and gives them a place to belong while they’re in our home.

After just one month of homeschooling, we’re loving the lifestyle of teaching and learning with our children. We also know that being content in our small home and homeschooling in a small space has given us more freedom.

Favorite Children's Books

We love reading.

Our children love having books read to them and all three enjoy looking at books. Our homeschool curriculum is literature based. We even keep a selection of books in our van for them to ‘read’ while they’re riding.

Of course, not all children’s books are the same. There are many books out there that are considered ‘twaddle’. We prefer quality, classic children’s books that inspire and spark imaginative play!

Here’s a list of our favorite books for baby, toddlers and preschoolers as well as a few of my favorite parenting books.
Baby Books

Baby

For babies, we like simple board books with bright pictures. We really like Bright Baby books, they’re simple with big pictures for chubby little hands to point at and learn basic words. We also like books that are interactive (like touchy-feely books).

Toddler Books

Toddler

The best books for toddlers are books with bright, colorful pictures and not too much text per page. Our toddlers have all loved animals and trains so we have several of those type books on this list.

Preschool Books

Preschooler

As children grow, their attention spans begin to increase and you can start reading them books with more text per page. Of course, they’re still young children so illustrations are still very important!

 

Parenting Books

Favorite Parenting Books

While these aren’t children’s books, they all have been inspiring to me as a parent of young children and I wanted to share my favorites!

What are your favorite children’s books? (I love book recommendations!) Are some of your favorites on this list?

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

Sonlight Preschool

We’ve made our very first homeschool curriculum decision and are looking forward to starting our first year of preschool at home. We found a curriculum that fits in beautifully with our philosophy about preschool education and are excited to begin learning with a little bit of structure.

Last summer, a Sonlight catalog arrived in our mailbox. I started reading a little about their approach to learning and was immediately impressed.

‘We believe most children respond more positively to great literature than they do to textbooks.’ -Sonlight

I love books. In my own education, I’ve learned so much more from reading interesting books than I ever learned from textbooks.

Paxton loves books. I started reading to him from birth and he has an insatiable appetite for being read to. And, he’s learned so much from reading storybooks.

I was feeling like Sonlight just might be the perfect fit for us! I excitedly turned to the page that had a picture of their preschool curriculum and was immediately excited. There were several books on their preschool lists that we already owned.

The thing about these books, they were the books that were Paxton’s favorites and my favorites to read to him. This immediately convinced me that they have high standards when it comes to children’s literature and choose quality books that both parents and children love.

Now, remember this was over a year ago. Believe me, I was so excited about finding a curriculum that I loved the philosophy behind. I was ready to order the Preschool 3/4 curriculum and dive in.

Instead, I decided to squelch my excitement and slow down. We have years and years of homeschool ahead of us but the laid back days of just playing and reading leisurely are fleeting.

I talked to experienced homeschool mamas who encouraged me to slow down, enjoy my time as a mama of a baby and 2-year-old and do a little more research on options. (I did more research and kept coming back to Sonlight. It fits perfectly in with what I want for preschool, not sure beyond that because I’m not at that stage just yet.)

My husband and I talked about budgeting for the curriculum and since we already owned several of the books. He suggested that I start piecing together the Preschool 3/4 curriculum as I found books at used book stores and thrift stores. Once we were ready to start, we would purchase the remaining books from Sonlight.

At the beginning of this year, I started acquiring books that were on the list. Each book that we purchased quickly became a new favorite and reinforced my decision to use Sonlight.

Sonlight P3:4

The thing I love the most about Sonlight’s Preschool 3/4 curriculum is that it really isn’t a curriculum. There isn’t a schedule to follow. The instructor guide comes with a checklist of books to read and activities to do with your child. It’s a very laid back approach with the emphasis being on spending time reading and making memories with lots of free time for preschoolers to play.

I like that as a parent, I have a guide to follow that gives me ideas and will allow me check off the books we’ve read and activities we’ve done. I feel like this is a wonderful fit for me as a first time homeschool mama to start easing into the lifestyle of structured learning at home.

We’re planning on beginning our preschool at home in September. I’m looking forward to reading a lot of wonderful books, enjoying fun activities centered on those books, and creating memories with Paxton.

Our very favorite Sonlight Preschool 3/4 Books:

Sonlight CurriculumThis post includes affiliate links that help support this site.