Books, Books, Everywhere!

by GfG on August 8, 2011 · 12 comments

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I have a thing for books.  You may have noticed.  Because of this fact, our curriculum is chock full of books and so is our schoolroom.  Acutally brimming over might be a better description.  Ok, ok, a preposterous plethora of books is probably most perfect.

Anyhoo…  this year I’m trying something new (and by new I mean sorta new) for our school room and trying a new curriculum (and by new I mean that I’ve tried it two years, but I still don’t have the hang of it).

First… Curriculum for 2011-2012:

Math- Teaching Textbooks Algebra II (HB), 7 (The Boy), and 5 (Princess); Right Start Math B & C (Faith and Cutie Pie)

Science- Apologia Chemistry (HB) & Astronomy (all the other kids)

Grammar- First Language Lessons (all kids except HB) Levels 1-3 and the new middle school  one as soon as it is released

Writing- Writing with Ease (all kids except HB) Levels 1-4, Institute for Excellence in Writing (HB)

Handwriting- Handwriting without Tears (Faith and Cutie Pie); A Reason to Write (The Boy and Princess)

Spelling- All About Spelling (full on for Faith and Cutie Pie; refresher for Princess and The Boy) Levels 1-?

Greek- Alphabetarian and Hupogrammon

Vocabulary- Wordly Wise (HB, The Boy and Princess), Greek & Latin Roots (HB)

History, Reading, Geography- Tapestry of Grace Year 3 (the 1800s).  We have done two years of TOG, but I’m still getting my bearings.  I chose it because I want a curriculum that the whole family can do.  I’m not in love with it yet.  I have a pretty strong feeling that I’ll end up making my own curriculum by mashing together Sonlight books I like, TOG books and Mystery of History.  I think I’ll call it Mindy Mash.  Stay posted.  We will also be notebooking.

Read Aloud- my own schedule of books combining TOG Y3 and my favorite Sonlight books (hey!  Mindy’s Mash primer!)

Did that even interest you at all?  Well, the next part has visuals.  Much more fun.  😉

Second … Schoolroom: I’m tweaking our system and therefore our room a bit (yes, it’s a kitchen).  I decided to have the binders we use every day out where I can see and grab them, the kids can grab them, they can be ungrabbed just as quickly, and I can know instantly whose books are missing and whose aren’t.  So… on the counters I now have stackable trays with the kids binders grouped (science, notebooking, writing, and lesson plans).  Yes, each kid has a color.  They use it as often as I can possible arrange (cups, binders, toothbrushes, pens, etc).  If I could have them only wear their color, I’d do it.  Seriously.

I really like the workbox system idea, but we don’t have the space for five work boxes and I’m not sure the system would really work over all for us.  The aspect I love is the know-where-your-kids-are-in-their-school-day-at-a-glance (and confirmation they have done their work).  Basically, I would like to have a way of quickly poking my head in the schoolroom and knowing how many subjects a child has finished (yes, yes, I could walk over to the counter and look in their lesson plan book … not appealing).  Have any ideas on how I can do the at-a-glance gig?

I love the whiteboard you see scribbles on, but don’t use it as much as I thought I would.  If I could move the shelves, I think that would prompt me to use it more often (interpretation: I could reach it easier… though, due to my height, I don’t use the upper section much; it’s HB’s zone).   Think I should put the books elsewhere? Back in the box? Don’t even suggest the cabinets.  They’re full.  Stuffed with curriculum I’m not using but refuse to get rid of and other very, very important homeschooling books.

The break down of those books: all four levels of TOG Year 3 (if you are unfamiliar: lower grammar [Faith & Cutie Pie], upper grammar [Princess], dialectic [The Boy], rhetoric [HB]), divided by units.  The one with the Post-It notes are the books I stupidly checked out from the library until February.  I heart books.  Really.  I’m pretty sure I’ve over bought for this year (again).  My goal is to make note of the books I really want to keep and to sell the rest at the end of the year.  A girl can hope.   First step is recognizing you have a problem, right?

The other side of the room has the two school computers and their desks (one terrible and one precious) and my lovely garage sale find and Costco craft.

Though, now looking at this blog post, I think I will hang the United States map AND the world map instead of alternating as necessary.  I also need to go through those boxes on the floor at the right to see what cool historical maps we have for the year.  Fun!  (I have no idea why that plank is there too.  Who lives in this house?)

Our school room works for us (especially the curtain I can close so no one can see the mess) and so do all these delicious books!  (Ok, in looking at these photos, it doesn’t seem there are books, books, everywhere… but it sure feels like it!)

How’s your room and your book collection, I mean, curriculum for the year shaping up?

Linking to Hip Homeschool Moms and “Not” Back to School/Heart of the Matter


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Autumn Beck August 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm

You know all about our sickness…I mean Michael’s sickness. Of course, he would never put books and sickness in the same sentence.

Your room looks so neat and organized! Let’s see how it looks in a month 😉


Mrs. Mary Joy Pershing @Learning to Live a Surrendered Life August 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I love it! Thanks for sharing your space with us! I really like how you have organized all of their binders. We are doing something similar with colored folders. You are SO organized! I got some great ideas from your post! Thank you! And you made me giggle too…oh how I relate! 😀

Have a blessed day!

Mrs Mary Joy Pershing


Christina August 9, 2011 at 6:12 am

I love reading veteran homeschooling blogs. I’m just starting and it helps to see what others are doing. And I don’t believe there are ever too many books:)


The Reader August 9, 2011 at 7:18 am

First — love it. I wish I had a whole kitchen to use for my school room. Bliss.

Second — the at a glance thing — would it work to have the kids take down all their binders at the start of the day, and put back each binder *as they finish it* that way when you glance and see binders in the rack, you know who is done with what? Or to create one giant “for mom to check” box for them to turn in their stuff for you to check?

Third — our school year is shaping up well. We are using SL, Core 6 and Core 4 and a mix-mash of Core P4/5 and K. We’re using TT Alg. I and 5, and miquon for the little guy. Wordly Wise, Grammar Ace, SL’s new grammar, and various homemade phonics stuff. Seriously shopping around for next year, though, as I’m just not positive we want to stick with SL for history once we hit high school.

Started back yesterday…..should be a good year!


GfG August 9, 2011 at 9:19 am

Oh, that would be a great idea, except most of their work is not in a binder. AND I really don’t like the idea of the binders being ‘free’ very long. Too many binders running willy nilly. 😉
Thanks for chiming in though! Wanna try again? 😉
I have a feeling I may have to make some kind of little chart with something on it that they move over for each subject.

How was your first day?
Ours is Monday!!


The Reader August 10, 2011 at 7:02 am

Hmmm….how many rows are on an abacus? Or, could you make one with color coded beads? And then put the number of beads per child as there are subjects? and they slide the bead over as they finish the work for that subject??

And — what are the binders for? I was thinking each binder held that child’s assignments/IG for that subject, and they would refer to the binder as they did the work….wrong? Explain, please 😉

Alternately – an over-the-door shoe rack? With index cards to go in the pockets, one half says “working” one half says “done” and they flip it over when done? Or they simply take their stack of cards (one card per subject) and replace the card in the pocket as they finish the work??

Of course, all of this relies on kid compliance. Will they follow through?? Mine would struggle with this……

(our first day was good, thanks!)


GfG August 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

The binders are for: science notebooking/journal; history notebooking; lesson plans (all subjects, all assignments); and writing.

Oh, these are good ideas! Thanks! Compliance would be key- so would rewards.

(Glad your first day was good!)


Thyme August 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

LoVe the school room!!! :)

Last night I finished up cutting out and laminating our Letter of the Week curriculum, now just to finish the 4 supplements (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Under the Sea, and Princesses) and I’m DONE. We have lots of books out, lots of lists, and a big mess of papers and file folders. I have until Saturday to finish the rest of the lessons, as school starts August 22nd, and we’ll be too busy to do anything the week before.


Michelle August 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Wow! Totally got distracted and couldn’t finish reading this when I saw how AWESOME your schoolroom is! We plan to build soon and this idea is top.notch! Love it.


GfG August 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

All the cabinets is wonderful! Truly. If I could change it, I’d have a double oven in my kitchen and ditch the one in the school room AND I’d sacrifice one row of cabinets for windows. Wish it had more natural light. The counters are wonderful too.

It really is a huge blessing to have a school room.

How fun that you get to build?


Linda August 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I LOVE this room! I hopped in from the Hop and am starting to get just a wee bit envious of all the awesome homeschool rooms I’ve been seeing! Our basement currently doubles as a bedroom, office, family room, and school room. Not complaining though! :-)

Hope you have a GREAT school year!


Tori August 10, 2011 at 7:56 am

We started a couple weeks ago…doing kind of hit-and-miss. I’m an eclectic so we have LOTS of books too! I pared down everything we are using into a 5-shelf bookcase in the kitchen for the younger three boys, and my 10th-grader keeps his stuff in his room. It’s so painful to get rid of books, but simplifying has let me keep my sanity this year. Blessings on your homeschool!


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