When we began homeschooling, we set up a room in our home with desks, computer, books, lamps and thought, “Now, we are ready to homeschool.” What I quickly began to see was that the desks, would rarely be used, but would be a great way to show others, that we were serious about our ‘schooling at home.’
Slowly, we have migrated from the desks to the beginning of learning centers. Now, the desks are gone and the learning centers have become the center of our home. Because we decided to quit homeschooling and have implemented changes to disciple and teach our children - I truly believe the change in direction and learning centers are going to really help with our homeschool curriculum.
Homeschool Central Meeting Area
We still use our dining room table and white board for time when Mom must use something to write on and it’s easier to see when it’s big and gives opportunity for others to join in. Yes, the basket is still on the dining room table and I’m not sure I’ll ever change that.
Bible, Reading and Principle Center
This year, we are reading through a series of the Lamplighter books for our Read Aloud and Quiet Time reading. Those books are so precious, they will have their own shelf or area as long as we have them. These, along with our Webster’s 1828 Dictionary ,Ray’s Arithmetic, McGuffey Readers, Blue Back Speller and New England Primer sit together on an antique table with a very special candle and lamp. Beneath the table is a basket for our Bibles.
I recently found a cd player that will also play DVDs, as well as songs/music from my iPhone. This was a good price and a great way to create a music center. I have music books, cds, dvds, etc stored in a basket below the table. This is also where we store our devices the children use during the day.
History and Worldview
Our History and worldview books are now resting in baskets in front of our fire place. We love sitting around and reading – and this makes these books easily acceptable to the children. When it’s time for these lesson, the pillows and blankets come out and everyone relaxes to hear Mom read. On Fridays, my son usually picks something from History to read for His ‘elected learning opportunity’ – so, he can easily find a history book that takes him back in time to learn and grow his knowledge.
Mom’s Quiet Place
I have moved the white chair that used to be in the ‘school’ room back in it’s corner. Next to it, I have magazines, my Bible, Bible studies, books, etc that are growing my heart. I purchased a cheap lamp to put behind it and love that I have my own area to curl up next to a window and enjoy a little time.
Arts and Crafts
A new feature in the dining room is our arts/crafts center. I decided that the arts and crafts no longer needed to be tucked away in the closet. Our children are older and two love getting their hands dirty with paints and pastels. This is a favorite spot in the room and being next to the dining room table, gives the children ample opportunity to be creative.
Nature and Science Center
This is one of my favorite centers. I took an antique table that had been my Mother’s and placed our new microscope on top with some nature books, rocks, shells, etc on top. Underneath, I placed a basket that maintains all of our science curriculum, magazines we subscribe to and a big basket of shells from our trip to Fla. The children love this center and can’t wait to use the microscope.
This year, we are using Right Start math for our younger children, Video Text Online for our oldest, Life of Fred and Ray’s Arithmetic for our entire family. Right Start Math is great for our younger two- who are very kinesthetic. I’m loving the Montessori style and wish I had gravitated to it before. But, the center we set up works great. I have the math books on one shelf with some of the manipulatives in a plastic shelf container. I also have some games on that shelf. Other manipulatives are on a shelf next to the one that houses most of the material and the children have enjoyed being able to find their manipulatives and (so far) everything is staying where it’s supposed to. I have also included some fun math/strategy board games, dice games, etc. The kids are loving it!
Language Arts Center
This center is not all that exciting, but I’m working on it. I have added a few new games. One is a fun dice game that helps children learn how to tell stories. My youngest loves dice. So, I’ve tried to integrate as many fun things as I can so that as we are working through those tough subjects, I can pull out something fun to help him grow a love of learning.
This center is one I am working on. I have a globe on top of a book shelf and the books are on the bottom shelf – while maps are on a different wall. There isn’t really a good place to maintain the geography items together. So, this one is a little more hodgepodge.
Ok – there has to be something that is just flat out fun – that the children have no clue – is associated with learning. So, that’s this room. What you see are our Kapla blocks and a few other fun things we enjoy building in the background. What you don’t see – is the sewing center, big blue comfy couch, piano and the violins.
All in all, it’s been great setting up our home for fun learning this year. The centers kept me from having to buy new book shelves and our frugal ideas – like using garage sales for used products, have really helped as well.
Are you moving from a desks and a homeschool classroom to learning centers?