Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Math for Mom Part 2: Budgeting our Homeschool Space

Math is a most dreaded subject for many moms, and possibly moreso for homeschooling mothers.  Numbers are not my best area, for sure.  But this series is not for giving you pointers or hints for how to better teach your child math.  This is Math for Mom!
First in this series, it's the homeschool budget. Finances are different for each family. Sometimes, time=money or the opposite. You will have to make the best judgement on that for your family's needs. But I've given my points of consideration in this post.
When my children were younger than they are now and we first began homeschooling, it was my dream to have a school room. I wanted my own classroom, with charts on the wall, a great big chalkboard, little nooks for 'centers'……the works! The reality is, we live where we learn and we learn where we live.
Desks: I have found that each child likes to have his own desk, but no one is bound to it. Actually, the children seldom use desks during 'school' time. Each one has a desk in their room. More often than not, it is used for things like building, legos, setting up battles, writing notes to friends and other miscellaneous pursuits. Most of our written school work is done right here:

(Yes, that is a keyboard stand with no keyboard in the sideground.  It was moved out for the  work that was done in here.)

 Yep, you got it right….on the couch, at the coffee table, or even using a clipboard or lapdesk. It's what works. We even use the kitchen table / bar area when we decide to. We are not traditional in that way. J

Chalkboard / charts / manipulatives: We do have one white board in our dining room on the wall. We used to use our dining room only for schooling, but have migrated to the downstairs family room, so it's more of an occasional spot now. I have found that we still like having the white board there. It goes with our contemporary elementary theme! ;)

 I print charts, helps, make manipulatives and whatever else we end up needing along the way. I try to provide a home for each item , but I don't always get that right, as you can see in the pics here. I have given a half hearted effort at organizing my bookshelves by subject, but with a 4 yr old helping out, anything is subject to change! We do have maps and a globe (which is still alive but handicapped at the present moment) around for quick reference.

Storage:  I have three bookshelves, partially arranged by subject.  There is also space that is verbally designated to house library materials so that we are not also having to budget for library fees!  We also have a few plastic rolling carts that hold things that we have on hand but aren't necessarily pretty to look at.  Some of those items are: more math manipulatives, stacks of scratch paper , a place to throw pencils/paperclips/etc.  I hope to collect a few 'pretty' storage baskets over time so that it is a little more visually appealing. 

Common areas vs. personal space: This is just a note with my personal thoughts on this matter and no one who does things differently should feel judged. I believe that the Lord has given our family this home so that we can build ties together. I do appreciate the need of each person to have private space. I, myself, enjoy alone time that is private to recharge. It is not more important that we allot each person a great amount “me space” than it is for our family to have a warm, cozy home that provides togetherness for our family (as opposed to making one or more persons comfortable.) So, in the numbers, I’d say that our “all” space outranks our personal spaces. We could close in our garage and give every single person here their own room. That is not our priority. To some, it is not a “fair” situation. We are not in the business of making everything fair for our children. We are in the business of providing a loving, nurturing family home that will serve the purpose of bringing them up with Godly character. ( I also find that there is plenty of value in learning to live peacefully with others early in life! :)  )

Here’s the rest of the tour (please excuse the mess, we just redid parts of this room and there is still plenty of drywall dust to go around). Remember, this room multi-tasks as our family/game room—so go easy on me.  Also, there is paint on the walls now, but nothing else.  So sorry :) 

 This post is load-bearing so we cannot remove it, only live around it.

 This rocking chair was my grandmother's and she rocked me and many other babies in it. I recovered it myself last year.  It's still rocking.  I'm almost 36 now.  And the afghan, crocheted by my other a few years ago for Christmas makes a cozy spot for a budding reader.

 Desk area that will likely be the last to recuperate from the moving/drywall scenario, but is functional at least.
 Our growth chart that I refuse to paint over.  The memories--one day.
The upstairs couch might also be used for videos as it sits squarely in front of our new (to us) 52" TV.  (I am too cheap to buy something like that new--bought off of craigslist for a STEAL! when our other TV died) At the time of this picture, the 11 yr old princess you see here was thoroughly enjoying Little House on the Prairie--I love that they still love the simple things.

We definitely want our children to love our home--their home. Our goal is to meet the needs of ALL in providing an environment that will be conducive to strong relationships with the Lord and tying heartstrings among everyone who lives here.

Next up:  Budgeting Time

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