One of the first rooms we painted and decorated in our new house was our school room, which also serves as my craft space and office. This room was top priority for me because I knew that the boys and I would be spending majority of our time in this space, even though we were months away from our homeschool year actually beginning. And as I predicted, the boys have spent many of their summer hours in this room crafting and playing, and now that school has begun, we are in here for several hours each day.
When it comes to education, I wholeheartedly agree with the Reggio Emila, Montessori, and Charlotte Mason philosophies in that the learning environment is just as important as the curriculum itself. I know that everyone does not have the space in their home to dedicate an entire room to homeschooling or arts and crafts, but I do think it is important to create environments and spaces wherever you can throughout the home where children have access to art supplies, self-directed activities, open-ended toys, and great books to encourage independent and creative learning and play.
We place enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating and animating force in creating spaces for relations, options, and emotional and cognitive situations that produce a sense of well-being and security. ~ Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia Italy
The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences. ~ Maria Montessori
Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. ~ Maria Montessori
Education is an atmosphere. ~ Charlotte Mason
Our school room is in the room that would be considered the formal living room in our traditional floor plan. It is the first room to the right as you walk through the front door into the entryway. We painted the walls a pale, fresh green by Sherwin Williams called Celery. I LOVE natural light, so I chose not to hang any curtains but rather just some light bamboo shades that I leave drawn up.
When you walk into the room, in the immediate right corner an IKEA chalkboard and a couple of educational posters. Between the windows is a cabinet that my husband saved from a dumpster years ago, and at one time served as a changing table for our boys. When we moved here, I repainted it using some leftover paint from our den (Porter Paint Cape Blue) and it is now fully stocked with art supplies and also serves as the location for our new fish aquarium. Hanging above the cabinet is a vintage school clock that my husband rescued from a school in Virginia that was being demolished. To the right of the cabinet is a basket full of puppets and our weather trees, and to the left is the quilt I had made for the boys’ room at our old house, along with some pillows, creating a cozy reading nook. The table and chairs in the center of the room are from Pottery Barn, but we found them on Craigslist for a great deal! I also bought a cute white cutlery bucket from Target last year to use as a marker and colored pencil caddy.
On the back wall is an arrangement of Expedit bookshelves from IKEA. The 8 center cubbies hold all of the boys’ books. A sweet lady at our old church knew we loved books and she was always bringing me boxes of great children’s books she found while thrifting. The lower right half of the shelves hold activity boxes, games, and coloring books, while the top right section holds most of my educational books and curriculum. The left side of the shelving unit houses most of my craft supplies and books and our artwork/keepsake trays. The alphabet cards hanging above the shelves can be found here on Amazon. I LOVE these alphabet cards and they inspired the overall color scheme of the room.
On the wall opposite of the windows is my desk and sewing table. The desk is made from a pair of antique wooden filing cabinets that I found on Craigslist a few years back and recently painted orange. We added casters and a piece of butcher block from the “as-is” department at IKEA. The curtain is made from Amy Butler’s Cameo Harriet’s Kitchen Sugar. My desk chair is an old thrift store find painted bright mustard yellow. It isn’t the most comfy chair, but it’s cute!
Jack keeps rescuing things from our regular recycling bin to use for art projects, so I made him a little recycling basket to keep in the school room to hold anything that he feels has potential for a future creative project.
To the right of the entrance to the room is a cabinet that Phillip and I purchased from Garden Ridge when were first married. It has served many purposes throughout the years, and now has found it’s resting place in our school room as our main craft supply and activity storage cabinet. To the right of the cabinet is a plastic caddy that holds various craft paper and my current sewing project is usually thrown on top. To the left of the cabinet is a wooden crate that holds our puzzle collection.
I don’t know what I would do without this cabinet!
So that pretty much completes the tour of our school room. I LOVE this room and look forward to seeing how it evolves and changes as our family grows.