Friday, 4 March 2016

Our library and construction area

Every year there are more and more people looking into homeschooling, eager to make the switch but filled with doubts and questions. Some are not easy to answer, because HSing is such an individual journey. Every single one of our friends homeschools differently to each other: each child is different, each parent is different, family dynamics, location, suburb, house floorplan, finances, it takes each family a little while to create their own way of doing it, and there is going to be lots of trial and error, but in the end each one will find their groove.
So here's what I'm getting at: everybody's learning areas look different. Have a look at a few blogs and websites for ideas, ask other homeschoolers, but ultimately, you have to work with what you've got and create an area that works for your family and that creates an inspired and harmonious learning environment for your family.
Since we don't have a rumpus room per se, we created different activity areas in various parts of the house. Here's part of our lounge, which really should be renamed Lego World...
In those bookcases are only reference books (fiction are elsewhere). 97% of them were super cheap" between op-shops, ex-library book sales, BSS pages, a couple of presents and a few hand-me-downs, I have scored a humungous amount of books at a fraction of the cost, I am positive I saved thousands of dollars.

As I said, this is what works for us. We are bookworms. We need to be surrounded by books... Topics that I feel are more of interest to the kids are on the lower levels of those tall bookcases (top shelf has high-school/uni books, my language books, naturopathy, botany etc, my stuff really), as I feel that kids should have free access to their educational resources. I've added a couple of simple labels for topics (history, anatomy etc), and both kids do enjoy just going to our "library" to grab a book.

Some sections are quite diverse and rich in numbers, others we are still building on, but thus far I have mostly focused on subjects of interest to us. We have a whole shelf for anatomy, animals and nature, arts, history has 2 shelves, dinosaurs share a shelf with geology, astronomy shares the shelf with cookery, science and technology have a shelf, and "humanity" gets its own entire bookcase, since that's what we're really into... 
Here's what it looks like:

To the left, a basket of mementoes from different parts of the world (thank you people for donating all your kitschy souvenirs to op-shops, what a treasure trove for homeschoolers!). Above, another few country specific souvenirs; globe; basket with coins of the world; basket with Mondo figures. On the shelves, the books are sorted by continent and country, with less country-specific geographical books below, including folkloristic stories, mythology, theology and creation stories (we are atheists but have a keen interest on myths, human traditions and religions).

Above the bookcases, I have scientific kits and other bits.

The rest of the area is devoted to construction: on the shelves and inside the Trofasts that serve as a display for Lego, we have the train set, wooden blocks, Goldie Blox, Magformers (thank you Schoolkids bonus...), a full case of Magnetix (op-shop find, can you believe it???), marble run, castle set and, of course, there's all the Lego... lots of tubs of Lego (sorted by type), the table is for Heartlake City, and the shelves to the right have Lego booklets, books, Lego games and more Lego...

So here it is, one of the main hubs of our days :) The couch is in the other part of the lounge, so it's quite easy to grab a book and just sit yourself comfortably there to read it. Often, I will leave a couple of books laying on the couch (strewing) to spike the kids' interest. The floor is usually (lol) clear so we have room for building and to assemble puzzles etc.

Next post will be about our craft "room", which used to be the kitchen, but has since been moved outdoors...


  1. Wow, what an amazing space you've created!

  2. As a book lover living in a caravan, I LOVE this room! So many books, and so much space!