Today I’m sharing our organized homeschool area. I know most of you knew from my Instagram Stories that we were doing e-learning, but we’ve decided to withdraw Owen and homeschool him for his kindergarten year. But our homeschool isn’t very different from what I was planning to have for e-learning. So if you’re doing e-learning or even looking for homework station ideas, stick around!
And bonus– I’ve teamed up with a group of talented bloggers who are also sharing their at-home learning spaces. So be sure to read all the way through to the end of this post and check them out.
Shifting from E-Learning to Homeschooling
We started back to school on July 29th, and we opted to enroll Owen in kindergarten e-learning through our elementary school. I explained everything that went into our decision, and how we’re extremely privileged to be able to keep him home, in this post. But after 10 days of e-learning, we opted to withdraw Owen from e-learning and homeschool him.
There’s a few things that led to our decision. The four spread out Zoom calls a day (you can see the schedule in my Instagram highlight titled E-Learning) with his class was just too much for us to juggle as a family with Brad working full-time from home and needing to be logged into work from 8AM – 4PM, Emmett not being allowed to be in the room during the Zoom calls, and me trying to get work done. Emmett ended up being babysat by Daniel Tiger and Mickey Mouse way more than we were comfortable with because I’d be with Owen for the Zooms and Brad would be attempting to get work done while watching Emmett.
Owen was also painfully bored with the Zoom calls– partly because he already knew the content (alphabet, sounds, colors, shapes, numbers to 10). I ended up working with him for 30-60 minutes each day to expand on the teacher’s lesson. Owen also had a hard time sitting still in front of a screen and focusing for an hour and a half every day. Plus, it was so much screen time for him.
After talking with my kindergarten teacher friend, a friend and neighbor who’s homeschooling her kindergartner this year and doing some research, we determined it was in everyone’s best interest to go with homeschooling. And while my Bachelor’s Degree is in K-6 elementary education, I don’t feel entirely prepared to teach my kid how to read. I taught third and fourth grades for three years. All my students knew how to read by the time they reached me. But while gathering information on homeschooling, I learned kindergartners only require one hour of instruction per day, which makes it feel less overwhelming. And I’ve printed out our state standards for kindergarten to use as a guide. It also helps having a kindergarten teacher friend on speed dial and my friend who’s homeschooling her daughter, who’s friends with Owen.
No one is to blame for our decision. The schedule and pace just wasn’t working for us in the current situation. I’m trying to look at this as a way to spend another year with Owen before he’s in school from 8-4 every day. Plus, with in-person or e-learning, we wouldn’t be able to go on field trips, and now we can do that.
If you would’ve told me a year ago I’d be homeschooling my soon-to-be six year old and two year old because we’d be in the midst of a global pandemic, I’d tell you to lay off the sauce. But here we are. Pivoting. And pivoting again.
Now with the goss out of the way, let’s chat about the homeschool area I set up for Owen in my home office. Here’s what the space looked like before– a drop zone for random things, like a VCR and a yoga mat I haven’t busted out in years.
I had a brain fart when I sent Brad to IKEA for the ALEX desk and forgot to tell him to pick up a 2×2 KALLAX shelf, so I had to order this 2×2 cube shelf instead. It works just fine, the KALLAX is just slightly more inexpensive.
I’ll go more in depth with all the stuff I’m using in another post, but as you can see, I have dry erase boards, manipulatives, flashcards, books, and workbooks organized in the shelving unit. I have a lot of the stuff we’re using in my Amazon Store under Kindergarten. Thankfully, I had saved a lot of the manipulatives from my teaching days. I used these containers to store the manipulative, flashcards, and other items. And these are the clear, plastic jars I used for manipulatives.
I gave a sneak peek of the IKEA ALEX desk on Instagram Stories a week or so ago. It’s the same desk we used in Brad’s home office area in our bedroom. The desk is great for the price, and I love how it comes with two drawers and a compartment at the back to hide cords. We have a surge protector in the compartment where we plug in the iPad charger and lamp cord. I ordered another pair of our dining room chairs (they come in different colors) to use in the homeschool area.
I didn’t want to clutter the wall above the desk too much, so I opted for alphabet and 1-100 number chart posters. They come laminated and the backsides of each poster are the same thing, just rotated horizontally. I mounted the posters to the wall with painters tape that I looped into double-sided tape. I also put up a small cork board for sight words.
Calendar & Geography
One of my office French doors was turned into our calendar and geography area. I have decorative wrapping paper on the glass, but to cover the backside of the wrapping paper I used some plain white paper. Both the United States and world maps are dry erase and peel and stick, so I was able to adhere them to the paper. I can’t seem to find the exact maps I bought (mine are 17″ x 24″). These are the same ones, just larger.
Like I said, I’ll share another more in-depth blog post about things we’re doing and using. In the meantime, you can check out my Kindergarten Amazon Store.