Although I’ve been a Stay-at-home mom for five years, being home these days is just a weeeee bit more challenging; primarily, due to the fact that now I am home ALL day with my children.
No daycare. No dropping them off with their grandparents. No random fieldtrips or quick breaks to the store. No off days.
From the time that we wake up and start our day up until bedtime, and even at bedtime it doesn’t stop! Cooking, changing diapers, doing housework , baby feedings, playtime, bible lessons, and with a 4 years old eager to learn it’s now homeschool! Whew! That is quite a bit. And did I fail to mention that some days I actually try to look cute with my thrifted outfits and makeup on? That quickly becomes a dream differed! #mommymoves for ya.
ALERT! ALERT! This post is not to blame Covid for my cabin fever-I wish I could take a real vacation and be on some other mommy moves type of stuff like, laying in the sun in a swimsuit lookin’ at dolphins!- type of stuff. This isn’t that kind of post.
This is a positive post 🙂 about how I brought school to my home by turning my dining room into my son’s kindergarten classroom! This is Making Mommy Moves.
I recently posted a picture on my Instagram of my dining room -turned- homeschool. It was a small undertaking but well worth the time, and I am very pleased with the outcome.
Here is how I accomplished my in-home classroom…
First things first, there was only one way to create the space for learning in my home— get rid of the dining room table. Where will we eat? No worries about that. We have a bar top in the kitchen and we eat there; although, my preference is to eat at a table. I grew up in a household where we had to eat at the dinner table. There was no eating all around the house. This is one of the traditions that I try to keep with my own family. I thrifted our dining table for a little under $130.00. It was a Havertys piece. It came with two middle inserts and six chairs! We purchased it in pretty decent condition and I had plans to refurbish it. It was what I’ll call one of those, ‘I can’t wait to be creative’ projects. Yeah, about that. I wasn’t sad about parting with it [the table] and freeing myself of the pressure to actually do with it what I had originally intended.
Gathering the supplies took a few days. I did have some items already from different projects and crafts from times past, but it wasn’t enough to give the classroom look that I was going for.
Items I had:
- White board
- My Daily Calendar for kids
- Small desk (I cut the legs down to size)
- Kids Choo-train storage box
- a few posters
- sitting stool
This was a good starting base, but let’s be real, Kindergarteners need color!!!!!! They gotta touch and feel and pull and tug and… well, you get the point. They need those things for learning. So I purchased:
- Color bin storage boxes
- Ten drawer stand
- boarder kits
- more letter and numbers
- more poster boards
- ‘Around the town’ floor mat
- chair cushion (for my bum to sit on the floor for story time- getting older 😉 ).
- art supplies / school supplies
- small classroom toys
SALE! SALE! SALE!
I found majority of these items at Target in their $1, $2, $3 Clearance Section, and Dollar Tree. I was able to gather what I needed for $143.26. Once I gathered pretty much everything I needed to start it was time to put it all together.
The next morning our son came downstairs in complete amazement! “Wow, mom! How did you do this?” He immediately started looking around, flipping through things, taking out toys, and scanning the walls. Every morning from then on he loves to run down the stairs and sit at his desk.
“What are we gonna’ learn, mom?”
The million dollar question. With all of this new learning equipment I’d better be teaching something, right?
Here is a little bit of background information about my teaching experience. When I was about 12 years old I would sit down with the girls [ages 3 and 4 at the time] who lived next door to us, and I would teach them. I did the same thing for my younger cousin. It was literally thee most random thing. I wanted them to know their alphabets and numbers. I was like, “YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS!” I was pretty forceful. (hand to face in shame here). Poor kids, I know they were traumatized. I didn’t know what I was doing; I just knew they needed to learn, and strangely enough I wanted to teach them. Mind you I was only 12 years old. Fast forward to my adult years I taught reading to the children at the church I was a member of. After I had my first child — our kindergarten son— I began to teach him. Seriously, he couldn’t have been no more than 3 months old before I started reading books to him. By the time he was 9 months it was flashcards and counting- all the basics: colors, numbers, alphabets, shapes, etc. By the time he was two years old he could count to 50 and read a lot of words. It blew me away. It was these experiences that I never knew would help me to understand a little bit about teaching children. I’m not formally trained to teach but, through my observations I have been able to grasp concepts of teaching children. Now, here I am years later putting into practice all those little experiences that seemed to add up to this great big moment of…….*drumroll please*…..homeschooling my children!! ((((Get excited with me!)))
∗∗∗∗∗Thou shalt not despise small beginnings.∗∗∗∗∗
Finding lessons and a “curriculum” to teach with wasn’t difficult. The internet is helpful in providing worksheets, lessons, videos, and other cool activities to teach basically anyone nowadays. I utilized those avenues for creating lessons, but I also went too …you guessed it! The THRIFT STOOOORE! Ding Ding Ding. I found practically all of his curriculum books and workbooks at ATL Community Thrift! Writing. Reading. Science. Spanish, they had everything I needed in GREAT condition! I found many of his writing books unused at this store. I feel like I probably cleared their shelves of all learning material.
Check out my post about my shopping experience at ATLCT here . I ♥ ATL Community Thrift!
Once I found the material to teach with it was a matter of taking time to come up with lessons and activities. I wanted to incorporate lessons and learning schedules that kind of mimicked a “regular” school day. Our schedule looks a little like this:
Our Daily Do’s are for repetition purposes, and then I add different activities to keep it interesting and fun (for us both). In the state of Georgia homeschooled kids have to be taught the core lessons: Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading/Writing. How the facilitator goes about this is completely on them as long as they meet the one hundred eighty hours of teaching requirements. This guideline gave me structure and flexibility for incorporating things I want my child to learn about, i.e., black history, financial literacy, God, and how to recognize and cultivate his gifts, talents, and learning ability.
How do I make the time¿¿¿
Listen. It’s a whole HASSLE! Balancing life is an everyday learning process. Everyday I have to practice balance, and having a family makes it stressful to achieve sometimes. I simply try to make sure I devote myself to that which is essential, and I try to be intentional when I do it- whatever it is. OH! and yes, I definitely have to pray! #prayersup. For real! Does it look good all the time? NOPE! Do I look good all the time doing it? NOPE!
In conclusion my friends, this is my story. How you accomplish your classroom look or learning area may look different from mine, and that is completely O.K! Just remember to do your best with what you have for the children you have, and be creative!
**Big shoutout to ATL Community Thrift for the YoungLife Teen Moms “I Make Mommy Moves” shirt (thrifted from their store); which, was a part of the inspiration for this post.** Click @atlcommunitythrift and @younglifeatlanta to check them out and follow!
Peace and Blessings.