Monday, September 2, 2013

Schoolroom Organization and Schedules: Our 10th Year of Home Educating ~

We're on the brink of several new beginnings around here as Fall approaches....
 A brand new school year dawns tomorrow.
How can I possibly have a 5th and an 8th /9th grader?
Also waiting to be greeted this September is an exciting
 CYO  soccer season for both boys and new faces, new friends and beautiful liturgical music for my younger son, 
as he has "moved up" to join the older kids in the parish youth choir.
And both kids' initial participation in the homeschool group's orchestra as violinists, 
as well as continuing violin and music theory classes.
Additionally, there will be  guitar lessons, 
 the parish youth group and
 the study of  piano here at home with your truly.
In addition there are a couple of  upcoming auditions at local community theaters
for each of my kids, who as you know, thrill to being on stage.
We'll see how all that works out.
Right now, it's a bit overwhelming

So, our curriculum / resource details will comprise a separate post.
This post's been in the works for a while now.
Given the rigor of my boys' curricula this year,
 I've been placing more time on teaching prep and home and less time on blogging....
Though I have missed churning out daily posts 
as well as
 frequent contact with you, my friends,
 amid the blogosphere!


So, here goes:
~Our "schoolroom" organization ~

We did a tremendous amount of traveling this summer, as you know.
However, around our trip, 
many many days  were filled with the 
purging, reorganizing, cleaning, repainting, 
rearranging, recategorizing and reclassifying
 that embarking on a new school year entails.
I gave our schooling area a new look and I'm pretty happy with it.
As the boys get older and  the intensity of what I call their 
"independent daily work" increases, 
they've been choosing to hole up in their rooms where each has his own quiet space, 
his own desk and a basket of office supplies that I've set up.
I will check on one boy as he is progressing through his work, 
during breaks with the other.
That system worked relatively well last year;
We'll see how smoothly we can progress come the new year given some of the
 commitments which are scheduled during the school day.
While they are productive pursuits, they will no doubt interrupt the instructional flow.
I definitely need to adapt a more flexible, 
okay-we'll-have-to-get-to-that-tomorrow demeanor 
or I'll lose my mind by Columbus Day.

These photos and descriptions are around our community schooling area, 
our resource haven 
and where we meet for direct instruction,
 mini lessons, 
reviews and general meetings around 
our daily, weekly, monthly schedules...
and our individual and family commitments/concerns.

We have two rooms over our garage which for some reason,
we've taken to calling "the loft."
The back room of the area, as you'll see, is lined with shelves.
Where there is wall space,  plastic organizers and 
instructional aids have been placed.
I've taken to buying wreath hangerspunching holes in posters and hanging artwork/charts/study aids from those over doors up here as well.

~Overview of the Space~
This is more or less "Command Central'

As I took this picture, to my left is the computer table, 
which has its own chair, doubling as a chair for the lesson area.
We had another chair around from some long forgotten set, 
which is pictured here with a folding table.
This is where we'll meet and do lessons.

Here's a close-up view of the shelves lining the back wall. 
I cleared out and rearranged so much, 
which leaves the bottom 2 1/2 shelves for my hubby to use. 
His Science resources have been looking for a place to live 
and now they have one.
We are definitely a book family and have been known to 
create "end tables"
 by throwing a small round tablecloth 
over stacks of books!

On the above shelves pictured above are~
top: fiction series, including my childhood Little Women set, Little House, Goosebumps, Choose Your Own Adventure, Hardy Boys, Magic TreeHouse, 
Encyclopedia Brown and Boxcar Children.
Most of these have been "outgrown," but they're still sentimental!
Some of these I housed in my classroom
(those 14 years of  preMommy reading teacher  
and 3rd grade teacher days) 
and some were purchased at garage sales!
Those plastic bins house some 
reading/phonics which are go-to resources,
logic/problem solving activities
and a set of about 30  Zoo Books
Yes, that's a small framed picture of The Bard there too, on the shelf....
For more on how we celebrate Shakespeare, please click here.

2nd shelf:
 Resources to which I commonly  refer, categorized as:
Literature and Analysis, Latin, Grammar, Vocabulary, Creative Writing, 
Homeschooling, Foreign Language
( I have a few Spanish and a few French resources there,
 though this year we're not formally learning either)
I hope to come back  and link direct titles at some point in the near future.
I do have some extraordinary resources, but not enough time to link them up right now.

3rd shelf:
Science workbooks,in the physical, earth, marine, life sciences,
 general math resources,
 algebra resources, which will undoubtedly be a separate post!
Yup, we're embarking on a journey into polynomials, variables, graphing,,,,,yikes.
I have found some great resources,
 which I'd love to share with you, as well as getting your algebra input!
That's coming soon.


~Individual Curriculum Baskets/Mom's Basket~
I printed out subject area headers and glued them 
onto poster board.
These serve as dividers between each subject area 
make life a lot more organized when their geography, their math, their Latin, etc,
 is easily accessible.
It  has helped to give them a sense of flow and a 'system'
 when they take out and put back  items they're using.
Plus, it looks nicer than just having stacks of books leaning in baskets.
 ~T, grade 5~

~ Mom's resource/teacher editions basket~

This basket's filled with my home school planner, math, history, faith and 
literature guides for easy access.
A huge thank you to  Tracy, 
who offered this little gem in her back -to - school post!
Great idea. I know I'm going to like this system!


~History Shelving Unit~
Separated into these sections:
(with the poster board "dividers" such as I used in their work baskets)
Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, 
Middle Ages, General World History,
Colonizing the New World,
Colonial Times, American Documents,
US History, US Presidency/White House,
American Heritage Encyclopedia,
Cricket magazines.

~Science shelving unit~

Arranged according to area of specialty such as:
General Sciences, Geology, Evolution/Geologic Time, Life Sciences,
Animal Habitats, Taxonomy, Dinosaurs,
Endangered Species, Science Experiments, Chemistry, 
Physical Sciences/Physics


~Astronomy shelving unit~


~Game shelves~


~Fiction Shelves~
As in libraries, our fiction section is organized by authors' last names.
I used poster board strips and these silver glittery bulletin board letters 
to separate each letter.
Then we arranged the unit alphabetically.
Having the boys help me ensures, too, 
that they are aware of all our titles in our library and it even sparked an interest in 
classics that have been sitting on shelves forever.


~Faith Resources~

The basket above is loaded with our commonly used go-to religion needs such as 
Fireside Youth Bible, 

The Religion shelving unit has additional titles 
but ones that are not quite as frequently used.

~Other storage areas~

These are plastic drawers I bought at walmart, 
where I keep additional supplies, paper, notebooks, flashcards, sentence strips, etc....


~Wall charts/Study aids~




                     Because every schoolroom needs a TARDIS!
We made this for my son's Doctor Who party last year.


Lastly, our family calendar:
I'm a planner-junkie. I'm addicted to them.
 I need a new one 
every September and then again, every January.
New beginnings, new spaces to record.

I write everything down on my master planner which I keep in my bag at all times.
Whenever I sign the boys up for a bookclub at the library,
 get an invitation to an event, 
 or make an orthodontia appointment, 
it goes right down there.
At the beginning of each sports season, all practice and game times get recorded.

Now, how to make this accessible to all 
so that everyone can make his own plans 
once in a while and not have to continuously ask me when they're free?
(Beside less interruptions in the  instructional program asking
 unnecessary questions, I think it's a good idea for me
to build a bit more independence in the boys, too.)
So, I've color coded a master calendar /dry erase  wipe off board
 which sits on the window ledge of the kitchen.
This way there's no confusion about who goes where, when and  
at what time as well as what equipment is needed.

Here's a picture of the calendar:

Right now, it looks pretty empty
 because we are still awaiting violin lesson info
 as well as music theory class times and orchestra rehearsal times.
Timmy's guitar lessons will be added in on Sunday afternoons  in a week or two
and if Kev does get a role in a play for which he is auditioning next week, 
the rehearsal info will get posted asap.
Each family member has his own color as do "family events."


Lastly, for a how-to on my personalized back-to-school message boards,

And for details on our first day celebratory pencil cake,


Well, friends, thank you for stopping in and perusing our school room set up, 
our schedules and my musings over keeping it together this year!
I do hope to come back soon with details 
around our curriculum as well as some nitty gritty structuring of our days.


Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And one more thing:

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Until next time,



  1. This looks amazing! Could you please come here????

    1. Lisa,
      You're a doll! Thanks, friend! Hey, I love your set up as well!

      Enjoy your first week back!

  2. Very nice! I have current books in baskets also, but I like the idea of leaning them up and placing a marker in them with the subject BOLD on it -- great idea. I'm going to do that among my bazillion other things I have to organize as we progress through this crazy week ahead!! LOL I'm still prepping religious ed stuff at the church -- I have a young man recruited to paint the chalkboards even :) while I spend time photocopying, collating and stapling the PSR guidelines handbook together this week, and adding the finishing touches on registrations. Good heavens ...when I'm 70 I'll not know what to do with myself!! HAHA!! Best wishes for a great new school year!

    1. Wow, you're one busy lady Denise! Good for you!

      Thanks for stopping over and saying HI!
      Good luck and God bless you too on your new year!

  3. It's always fun to see other people's school rooms. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Shecki! I agree...I enjoy it very much as well!

      Thanks for stopping in! Take care

  4. Wow, that's amazing! It takes real commitment to embark on some adventures and I can see you're up for it! Happy schooling to you...

  5. Your school room looks very much like ours did. Books everywhere and baskets, games, tons of posters. I too am a planner junkie. Still am! I have always written down everything on a calendar. I have them in a box. If you need to know when Jesse lost his first tooth, it is on a calendar somewhere.
    Great job. Planning was a month long process. Great job. Enjoy another year!
    Spatulas On Parade

  6. Chris,

    I am so impressed by your book organising skills! All your fiction arranged alphabetically by author names? How easy it must be for you to find a particular book! Our books are all mixed up. I must do something about that...

    You are a very musical family! And you play the piano. It must be wonderful to have musical talents you can share with your boys. I am very unmusical. I missed out totally on musical genes. Fortunately Andy passed on some of his talent to our kids so I can enjoy listening to them sing and play the piano. I guess we can't all play music. Someone needs to be the audience!

    Now you are all organised, you can dive into the new term. I hope all goes well and you all enjoy a new year of learning together.

    God bless!

    1. Sue,
      Thanks for stopping in! Yes, I did feel quite organized and then at the end of Day 1 it looked like my shelves exploded! (LOL) We do need to get a working system of PUTTING THINGS AWAY!

      Thanks for stopping in and Good luck to you too this Autumn!!

  7. Chris, this is amazing! I can't believe all the work you've done to organize. Those bookshelves? ::swoon::

    I'll be back later to peruse more. There's a lot to get to in this post. Thanks for linking up!

    1. Micaela~

      THANKS for the kind words:)

      YOU gave me much inspiration in your post. I appreciate it greatly!

      Be well and enjoy your trip to The Big Apple!

  8. Great job. I am following you from Simply Helping Him.
    May the Lord bless you during this school year. May you lean on Him to guide you in your teaching and learning.

    1. Janis~
      Thank you for stopping in and for the kind words!!

  9. Oh, I love your little book table idea! You seem much more organized than me, lol! And I can hardly imagine having an 8th grader! Thanks for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday at Preschool Powol Packets!

    1. Carla,
      I always enjoy your visits! Thanks for taking the time to come by!

      And yes, the years do go quickly. I can't fathom that I have a teen!!

      Take care!

  10. You are so well organized, thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Lexie
      Thanks for the kind words! They really mean a lot to me!

      I appreciate your visit!

      Take care....

  11. Your school room looks like heaven to me, between the organization and all the books. Books are the one thing in life I don't think you can ever have too many of. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

    1. I so agree! We could line our walls with books, it seems. No reason to really paint, when you get down to it!

      Thanks for your kind words and for stopping in!

  12. I am so behind reading, but your school room is fantastic. I think you have more books than I do:) but I had to get rid of a lot when we moved, I will be back up to your level soon:)
    Loved seeing a picture of your boys, don't they grow up too fast:(

    1. Thanks so much, AnnaMarie!
      I appreciate your visit and your compliment. I don't know HOW you did...a trans Atlantic move! Unreal. I couldn't move across the street, much less across the ocean. I give you a lot of credit!

      Be well and take care, friend!
      Thank you for taking the time to visit!

  13. Wow, you've done an amazing job organizing your schoolroom, Chris! Thanks for sharing this at Inspire Me Monday. I know you've inspired a lot of homeschool parents this week! :-)

    1. Aw, thanks so much for the kind words! It's so much fun to share ideas and home organization, isn't it?

      Thanks for stopping in from your busy blog! I get so many tips and so much inspiration from your link ups!

      Take care!

  14. That is organized. Do you also home school religious education? That is, with your oldest receiving confirmation this year, are you still allowed to home school? My parish requires parish-based participation two years before each sacrament.

    1. Thanks Teresa, for your visit!

      I just headed to your blog to reply....


  15. Wow,this is so inspiring. Thnk you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank YOU, Helle, for stopping in and for your kind words!

  16. You are so organised! I'm in the process of reorganising my school room for this coming school year, we start back up in October. Thank you for sharing!!!

    This post has been selected to feature on Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy's Hearts for Home Blog Hop on Thursday. Congratulations. Thank you for linking up with us last week.

    The blog hop post will go live on Thursday morning. Please remember to grab the "I was featured" button.

    1. Thank you, Jo, SO very much for your kind words and for choosing the post to be featured!
      How very exciting!!

      Good luck as you begin your new year next month!

  17. Looks like some great organization!! You homeschoolers always amaze me!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

    1. Thank you, Carrie!

      What kind words...I appreciate your visit very much, also.

      Thanks for hosting SS! I will be back tmrw with more.
      Love your hop.

      Take care

  18. Thanks for sharing! I'm always looking for ways to better organize all of our many, many homeschooling supplies! I'll definitely be heading over to the homeschool organization hop :)

    I found your post on the Friday Flash Blog @ The Jenny Evolution.

    1. Thank you, Missy, for your kind words!

      I appreciate your visit!

  19. Wow! I'm a bit jealous of your school room! We don't have the space in our house so our school stuff is spread everywhere - shelves in the living room, shelves in the bedrooms, and shelves in the basement. I dream of one day have a house big enough for a school room. Even if we don't "do school" in the room, it would be nice to have all our supplies in one location.

    1. Stephanie~
      Thanks so much for your kid word and your visit!

      We, too, wind up with school stuff in every corner....we start out all organized each Sept and in a week, well, complete disorganization! It's a constant battle isn't it ? :)

      Take care!!

  20. I LOVE your classroom! I know I'm wayyy late in seeing this but I still had to comment. Our 'classroom' also doubles as a dining room & bleeds into our 'other living room' I call it. LOL...we moved a little over a month ago so it's still not set up. We basically have 2 living rooms (ours & theirs ;) ) with the little dining room table area in the middle of them.

    And yes...NO school room is complete w/out a T.A.R.D.I.S. Looks like we need to get our own!!


  21. Wow! You are able to pack a lot of stuff in your space...and be organized, too! Visiting from Homeschool Blog and Tell

    1. Thanks SO much Channon!!

      I so appreciate your visit and your kind words


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