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    Where do you school?

    Especially those with larger families, though all are welcome to reply, where in your house do you school? Do you all sit together/stay together? Do you allow kids to go off on their own to read/write out answers? (Caveat - none of my kids are doing full MP; some are doing much more than others though.) When my family was three kids, we schooled at the kitchen table. When my dd was born, we moved more into the living room so she could lay around/do therapy stuff while they did school. As they have gotten older, people like going off into different rooms (mind you, we have a smaller house for seven people so there's not too many places to hide) and doing things all at different times. It feels chaotic. I think my oldest (11th grade) isn't giving his full attention to what he's doing. And I feel like I'm having to at least mentally, if not physically, chase after people to check up on them. Our table isn't huge, but it can accommodate everyone if people put their stuff away. (Please tell me I'm not the only one with kids that leave books strewn around.) Ideas, advice, and/or commiseration would be most appreciated.
    Brit

    Catholic mom to five
    2019-2020:
    Ds '01 - College freshman: Thomas Aquinas College
    Ds '03 - 10th grade: MPOA Algebra 2, and a bunch of other stuff
    Ds '06 - 8th: MP Tiner science (chemistry, physics, and astronomy), 8M lit, 8M Exploring Planet Earth, ancient history, OLVS 8 Catechism
    Dd '10 (Down syndrome) - JrK with little brother and BOB books
    Ds '15 - JrK with big sister

    #2
    Re: Where do you school?

    This year, we are sitting around a table in our school room. Even still, some of it gets done on the couch or in the car.

    I am hoping that having to sit at the table without distractions will help us have a more efficient school day!
    Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys (7A, 6M, 2), classics major

    "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Where do you school?

      Kitchen table here. Books are stored in individualized boxes and rolling carts in the dining room. Our Kids' Library is upstairs. I really need to move it downstairs so everything is all in one place. Might get on that this weekend.

      My oldest two school semi-formally at the table (lots of workarounds for poor attention, attitude, belligerence and processing speed). My third breezes in and out. (We did Math tonight after dinner in the dining room at his direction -- he did awesome. That was a nice surprise.) The baby works on emptying every cabinet and bin on the house while we school. I have her two bottom shelves of the rolling carts for her board books and toys so she's a *little* distracted. She loves to turn the pages, look at the pictures and have me read to her. She also loves it when we sing to her (The Itsy Bitsy Spider, et al).

      So -- no: you're not the only one. Our school is messy. But is gets done, more or less.
      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
      ~Pope St John Paul II

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        #4
        Re: Where do you school?

        This varies so much by ages and by house layout for us.

        When we really started school, we had a house with a walkout basement that had full size windows all along the basement level. We turned one of the rooms there into a classroom, with a table and whatnot. The little kids could play in the basement family room while the oldest two did school (which did not take long because they were young).

        Then we lived in MN, and our house was broken up more into specific "rooms." So we would do school according to where the sun was coming in and where the fireplaces were. We started in the living room for the morning, and then moved to the family room in back for the afternoon (both had fireplaces). We stored the books in some cupboards in the kitchen and just pulled out what we needed. We were up to three schooling, and two little ones then.

        For most of the time we lived in VA, we all schooled roughly in the same area. Our house had a dining room that was open to our living room, and then across the foyer was a "study" that we had turned into a toy room for little ones. It had a real kids' tent filled with stuffed animals, tons of books, lots of toys - even their play kitchen. Kids worked at the dining room table, on the floor (carpet), or on the couches. I sat on a couch in the living room and had view of everyone at the same time. Books were stored either in the dining room sideboard, on top of it, or on bookcases throughout. This is when we went from having three schooling to having five schooling, and it worked beautifully. Nothing was fancy in the house at all - it was simply practical to have the toys and school stuff where we needed it. Over time, the oldest three would often go off to their own rooms or to the rear family room for periods of time, but they were pretty good about staying on task at that point (ages 11-15)

        Our new house has a room off the kitchen with bookshelves and lower cupboards from floor to ceiling on one wall. We put one bookcase in there and together, everything school-related fits. We put our kids desks in the middle of the room (plain Jane black desks from Ikea - $20 each) and the kid-size dry erase easel in there. The kitchen table is just a hop, skip, and a jump away...with the family room just a bit past that. So again, I can have people in various places but have visuals on all of them. We also have a front study that has a desk with a computer and the piano...so the older kids go in there to work, watch video lessons, or practice piano. I notice my oldest daughter floats from place to place - she likes variety. My second oldest works at the desk in the study, or the desks in the school room. Plus he spends a lot of time outside or on the piano. I give them pretty free reign because they keep up on their work. It took me a while to mentally remember to check in on them (like - a WHOLE YEAR) because if something is out of sight, I forget about it in a snap. But last year I got better at it, and I am hoping this year I will continue to improve. 12 yrs and down they all stay somewhere where I can see them and it works great - NOT all at the same table (because they will easily distract each other) but spread out in many places seems to work really well if you can do it. I do have my two littlest at elbow's reach at the table while they school.

        And yes - mess happens. But mess makes dh nutty - not a peaceful way to return home after a long day. So while I am making dinner, there are usually kids who have been given specific rooms to tidy up, and I try to rotate between who does what from day to day. Thankfully all the toys are in a bonus room upstairs that my dh would have to purposely walk into to see - so the main areas stay pretty good. It's just school pick-up.

        In my experience, so much of the daily routine depends on the house in which you live. Our priorities have usually stayed the same - you have to be in my sight until you can prove that you can handle being out of it; house gets tidied up before dad comes home; you don't get to irritate each other at the table; etc. But we have tweaked the arrangements based on what was available in each house. If you are regularly hitting snags of frustration, fix it. That is what prompted me to turn our old "study" into a dedicated toy room. It was what we needed at the time. You cannot add rooms to your house, but if you can figure out ways to make what you have become more efficient and helpful, it is worth the time you give to it.

        But nothing is perfect either. Last night I was finishing with my fifth grader, while my 8 year old and 14 year old were sitting and waiting for me - and messing with each other. Totally good humored, but totally making my fifth grader laugh (she can't resist it) and totally driving me nuts at the very end of the day, with dinner still yet to do! ARGH! But we get through it - sometimes ploughing on, sometimes giving up and saying, "Enough!" for today.

        Hang in there - I hope you figure out a system that works for this year and many folks on here are more creative than I when it comes to this sort of thing!
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 8
        DD, 6
        +DS+
        DS, 2

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          #5
          Re: Where do you school?

          I only have three children. *I'll wait while you all stop laughing at the slacker family*

          We have a big, beautiful room that serves as my sewing room, the toy/play room and the homeschooling room. It has a beautiful secondhand table and a large (think school size) whiteboard that my husband carefully installed on the wall. It has beautiful floor-to-ceiling shelves (Ikea sale - woo hoo!) outlining the outer walls. We have the *perfect* room. ...and we barely use it for homeschooling. *I'll wait for you all to stop gasping in horror* I use the whiteboard to write up their Timeline paragraphs for copying, during every CC lesson when we brainstorm words/do re-writes (so that I can put up their answers for them to copy down later) and sometimes for math. Oh, and I once drew out a perfect map of Africa for them to study in Geography. It was one of the high points of my career as homeschooling mother.

          My kids prefer to work in their workbooks at the kitchen table or in their rooms and they prefer to do literature and any other oral reading on the couch. My little one likes to do "homework" at the little table in her room (she has a Kidcraft table and chairs in there that I got for a song at the local thrift store). We also have a Quiet Rest Period every day from around 1 until around 3pm. I never took naptime away; rather, it just morphed into this quiet time for finishing homework, listening to audiobooks, reading, playing with Legos and dollhouses and generally having some space. Perhaps if you're feeling too splintered in your day, you could require your children be with you in the mornings and then let them go off to finish assignments once you've gone over the material/they have a good grasp of what's expected for that day...? *Just a thought - this might not work with an 11th grader! My kids are still young!*

          Each kiddo has his/her own bin containing his/her workbooks, texts and notebooks. We have a caddy on the aforementioned homeschool table containing pens, refill ink cartridges, pencils, erasers, paper clips and a stapler. This year, I've noticed that nothing stays in bins or in the caddy. It all somehow wanders away. We do have a lovely library (front room with built-ins - a Christmas gift from the dh a few years back), where all books are kept. I have different sections - the art/history/science section is grouped by subject (history one shelf, art another and science another) by size. The young readers are arranged in alpha order by title. The older children's novels are arranged alpha by author. Then there's the "Mommy" section, which is grouped by subject, then by author. It is the ONLY PLACE IN MY HOUSE that is always in perfect order. I escape to this room often because order is so soothing to me. (But that's another conversation entirely!)

          Because of the wandering-to-study-in-every-room-of-the-house syndrome that's afflicted us, I have baskets everywhere containing the workbooks, pens, pencils and long-lost homework that seems to walk away from that big, beautiful homeschooling room.

          I was initially worried about being splintered off but I am glad that my older kiddos are more independent. I've taken to keeping my Latin, math and literature teacher guides right next to my computer on the kitchen table so that when the Bigs breeze through after Quiet Rest Period, I can grab their workbooks/notebooks and grade quickly. The deal is that they are allowed to work like this as long as their grades keep up AND as long as their assignments are finished by the end of QRP, unless prior arrangements are made or if I am aware that they have some heavy duty stuff going on that day. In our house, 90% is passing. Anything less needs to be reviewed and re-done. It is amazing how they will rise to the occasion when the bar is set high!

          I hope some small part of this was helpful. I think you should know that even smaller families are all over the place! You are doing GREAT! <3
          Mary

          DD15 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
          DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
          DD8 - SC level 2

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Where do you school?

            We are a family of 9 living in 1800 sq.ft. -- including the 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, so actual living space is much less than that. The house was built somewhere around 1900 so it has one of those ridiculously huge dining rooms (26x13 or something like that). We turned half into our school room and the other half into our "living room" -- a 13x8 space with a couch facing the wall/closet, a chair facing the couch and a cubby toy-shelf on the wall at the base of the stairs. The dining table is in the kitchen which is next to the "living room". The house's original living room is our office. So we pretty much live in the kitchen and school/living room during the day. The older kids will use the couch and chair when reading literature or classical studies but I require all written work to be done at the table. Little kids definitely have to work at the table since so much is writing-based at that age and because it helps with their attention issues.

            So here's our school space, in all it's "middle of the school day" glory. It gets picked up in the afternoon/evening and sometimes after lunch.

            Click image for larger version

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            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
            DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
            DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
            DS11: SC 4
            DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
            DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
            DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

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              #7
              Re: Where do you school?

              Current shots from Pickandgrin Academy.
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              Our "home base" for all the books and supplies and things is our formal dining area which is one end of our living room. I have my desk and computer there along with all the TMs. Each of the kids have a bin with all their SGs and texts. We store reference books and binders between each bin. We all rotate to and away from this table. I sit with the Ker and 3rd grader here. The bigger kids work here when they are "alone" at the table, usually early mornings. We are never all here at once--too chaotic! To keep the agitation to a minimum (the "XX is breathing too loudly" type things), we play classical music all day long in the background. I stream it on my computer on my desk. The third, sixth, and eighth grader take work to their bedroom or different tables for space. We have a regular kitchen table, plus we have tables outside for when it's nice. They do a lot of reading in cozy chairs or on the couch. Making someone bring work back to the table is usually a good threat if they are losing focus or not getting along.

              As Sarah's story conveys: how you do this is a moving target depending on your ages, cores, babies, home situation, etc. Praying you find what works for now!

              PS: The house isn't always this clean. We host a house church gathering on Tuesday nights and the win for me is a very tidy house on Wednesday morning!

              ETA: You can "Where's Waldo" a five year old standing on a piece of furniture in one of these. Keeping in classy, folks.
              Last edited by pickandgrin; 09-13-2017, 01:28 PM.
              Festina lentē,
              Jessica P

              2020-2021
              11th year HSing · 9th year MP
              @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
              11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

              Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Where do you school?

                Thank you everyone! And I love the pictures (and descriptions). Today we did most work at the kitchen table. There was some complaining and gnashing of teeth, but it was nice having half a clue what people were doing. I think starting next week, I might allow reading to be done in the living room instead of at the kitchen table. Maybe. But all written work for now needs to be done at the table. I'm hoping that we can slowly establish some routine and order (our words for this school year are order and beauty - they really are fighting the order, which ultimately is my fault for being lazy, though having an almost 2 year old who has been the hardest/most intense baby hasn't helped the last two years). But I think my poor habits the last few years have caused school to feel too chaotic (and opportunistic children who like it when mom's distracted by a tyrannous toddler LOL!) It isn't pleasant realizing their bad habits are really due to my bad habits.
                Brit

                Catholic mom to five
                2019-2020:
                Ds '01 - College freshman: Thomas Aquinas College
                Ds '03 - 10th grade: MPOA Algebra 2, and a bunch of other stuff
                Ds '06 - 8th: MP Tiner science (chemistry, physics, and astronomy), 8M lit, 8M Exploring Planet Earth, ancient history, OLVS 8 Catechism
                Dd '10 (Down syndrome) - JrK with little brother and BOB books
                Ds '15 - JrK with big sister

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Where do you school?

                  Brit,
                  That acceptance of personal accountability is tough. Good to do - but tough nonetheless. I give you credit for trying to right the ship, and I will keep you in my prayers that it will be fruitful.

                  But please know, (I think I speak for all of us here) we all understand those kind of seasons, and I personally chalk it up to the fact that we are trying to home school while life is happening all around us. I know having kids in school is no picnic, and you don't get "off the hook" from chaos and stress that way either. But when I think about the seasons of morning sickness, sleep deprivation, toddler training, and every single childhood mood under the sun - all while trying to school...I cannot see how we can be expected to NOT have our difficult seasons. (that does not even include family crises, illness, surgeries, natural disasters, major life changes, etc - and yet we must keep schooling!)

                  You are among friends here...and we will continue to encourage you. Make the tough calls, be the firm mama your kids need right now, and hopefully more peaceful days will be ahead.

                  hugs,
                  AMDG,
                  Sarah
                  2020-2021
                  16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                  DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 8
                  DD, 6
                  +DS+
                  DS, 2

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Where do you school?

                    Oh Sarah, thank you for your sweet, kind words. I was just talking with my two oldest and they both said they preferred doing school at the table today, so that was nice to hear. We'll see how they feel tomorrow. LOL
                    Brit

                    Catholic mom to five
                    2019-2020:
                    Ds '01 - College freshman: Thomas Aquinas College
                    Ds '03 - 10th grade: MPOA Algebra 2, and a bunch of other stuff
                    Ds '06 - 8th: MP Tiner science (chemistry, physics, and astronomy), 8M lit, 8M Exploring Planet Earth, ancient history, OLVS 8 Catechism
                    Dd '10 (Down syndrome) - JrK with little brother and BOB books
                    Ds '15 - JrK with big sister

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Where do you school?

                      I only have one kiddo right now. Mostly we "couch school" upstairs in a spare bedroom on a our "hillbilly" office sofa unless dd needs a desk to write, which she has in the same room. We have a seriously ugly set of book cases for school books that appear to be threatening to collapse. I can never get MP-type books to stand up in a crate, so they live on a shelf.

                      DH banned us from the kitchen table. He's a mellow man, but was tired of moving art supplies and books to drink his coffee. We're generally tidy people, but art supplies never go where you tell them. And books are never on the shelf. Unruly.

                      When I had the daily church basement cottage school everyone was at the big 8ft folding table with me for math, Latin and grammar at their level, but we all chanted Latin together. I got good at reading upside down to answer questions. After that they could disperse to floor, bean bag chairs, etc for reading until lunch, and I'd work with whoever needed phonic work or help with literature. We'd meet back at the tables for whatever our afternoon special was (I mostly kept everyone together for science and such, and adjusted the output requirements. Bad, I know.) We had extra kids that came in 1-2 afternoons for writing class, so we pushed tables together and had a grandma in to help with the littles.
                      Bean. Long time MP user. I'm usually posting before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                      DD- 10th- AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Where do you school?

                        Originally posted by MyLittleWonders View Post
                        I think my poor habits the last few years have caused school to feel too chaotic (and opportunistic children who like it when mom's distracted by a tyrannous toddler LOL!) It isn't pleasant realizing their bad habits are really due to my bad habits.
                        Ouch. I know the feeling. It's hard to have a standard of imitation, but that's really what we are doing, right? I love your words: order and beauty. Those are lofty and worthy goals. It's great to hear that positive feedback from your older kids. Maybe you all can own it and move into this next season, sucking it up together because you all know it's worth it. It sounds like they are old enough to be your allies in this.
                        Festina lentē,
                        Jessica P

                        2020-2021
                        11th year HSing · 9th year MP
                        @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
                        11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

                        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                        Comment

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