Our classroom was originally the home's loungeroom. We live in a home that has fairly good sized rooms but not a lot of them so we needed to be very organised when planning how to best use our space for teaching all the boys and allowing them enough room to learn and play. I moved the loungeroom into the smaller room that I guess was intended as a formal dining room. We don't need to use it for that as the kitchen is huge with more than enough room for our large table and 6 chairs. I thought outside of the box and realised myself and the boys spend the majority of our time at home in that classroom so it not only needed to be the bigger of the rooms but also central to the rest of the home. Putting them all into a bedroom located at the back of the house would just be a recipe for disaster as I wouldn't be able to properly supervise when working and cleaning in the kitchen (let's face it, with 4 boys I spend quite a lot of my time in the kitchen).
So we made the move into the loungeroom, added some new blockout curtains to avoid the afternoon Summer Sun flooding in and ventured off to Ikea to fitout the classroom. I have found the Expedit series of storage solutions to be the best for our purpose. We've been able to make the most of the vertical space in the room by shelving up against walls and right up to the front windows. Unfortunately the only downside is we have little wall space for displaying posters and artwork.
I recently bought a new Expedit bookcase to serve as the resources library. It houses all the workbooks for both Bailey and Dane, curriculum and reporting materials and some cool educational activities and toys. I find that by tucking it away in the corner beside my desk it deters the little ones from thinking it's interesting enough be pulling things out.
Our large Expedit shelves store art materials along the top in lightweight mesh Ikea storage boxes. The far left side stores boardgames and we keep more Art stuff on the top shelf next to more advanced educational toys and our little library of Usborne Young Readers. I plan to add more Usborne books to this library as time goes on as the boys adore the pictures and Bailey finds the word layout easy to read. We also store Playdo & tools, puzzles, cars, trains and playfood things to use with the play fridge and oven/stovetop.
It is great that the room has timber floorboards as any playdo, paint, collage mess is very easy to clean. Each pigeonhole within the shelves have boxes with the name and a picture of the items that are stored inside. This way we all know exactly where everything is and it makes packing away a much simpler and quicker process.
I have a large desk for myself which I use to plan and organise workbooks and lessons. It also houses things like our current curriculum so I can constantly reflect and assess areas we haven't yet covered. We display on the wall a weekly planner for all the family to see. This is a great visual aid for Bailey so he can expect what may be coming in that week and also look forward to special events or spending the weekend at home with Daddy. We also have a World Map poster which is not only great for the boys when learning where places are located but is also used during our various units of study (eg: whilst we were learning about endangered animals we flagged the locations they live).
We have a good sized bookshelf but I am fast realising that this is not going to be big enough down the track. Here we store various encyclopaedias, science books, books on history and geography, animals, transport, etc. We also keep our special family reading books here at a higher shelf level away from little fingers. The two little boys have 2 of their own small bookshelves where we keep baby, toddler and young children's books. Ehren quite often takes a book from there to look at or selects a book he wants me to read to him. We have a road playmat that doubles as a softer floor to sit on an oversized cushion to have a little read of a book.
In our room we have various educational activities that help with an array of skill building areas. We have a lovely set of scales purchased from Edsco which is great for teaching measurement and mass in a more hands on manner. We have 2 sets of different tesselate shape sets for counting, sorting and creative play. We have a small container of counting bears which proves very beneficial teaching addition and subtraction and well as teaching younger children their colours and sizes. We have a Tupperware Shape-o-ball and a Stack-a-peg set which are good for teaching shapes, sizes, colours and great for improving fine motor skills and cognitive development. We have a sentence building set bought from Modern Teaching Aids which is awesome for sight word recognition, sentence building and spelling skills.
I'm guessing by now you've all got sore eyes from reading too much so I'm thinking I might continue more on this topic in a part two! Thanks for reading :)