homeschool, honestly : our home, our school

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To begin school last year, we gifted our sons with this book. The colorfully illustrated story shares a little boy’s home/school life all under the same roof, with his family. He shares happily and candidly. The illustrations cast vision for our home and help us cultivate what it means to live+learn together.

This book has helped me, the momma + teacher, to peek inside a little boy’s heart and mind to see what he saw of his home/school life – and to go after the good he shares.

This illustration, for instance, has us all dreaming of where we can put our tree house and how big we can make it in our own back yard.

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image from orange marmalade blog

With how much this children’s story has inspired me, I thought I would share a few peeks into our home/school. I am no illustrator, but I have taken a few quick iPhone pictures to show you around, and I hope these little images will help you as you begin into the proper-school year.

Ok so here is the first one :

our downstairs living room, aka homeschool spot

For all of you homeschooling-mommas, you know that this quick snapshot took a lot of effort to get – to get the cabinet organized correctly, to realize that yep, those folding tables and stacking chairs at Costco are in fact a good idea. Perhaps the couch or the green chair or Tyler’s desk chair pulled in from his desk is a good place to sit…  I sit and stand all over the place in the course of the hour and a half that it takes (when we do all-the-things) to do “school proper.”

We opened our Sonlight box and excitedly began. I do love their curriculum and how they plan everything so I don’t really have to. The weekly schedule tells me how much of whatever book I should be reading, broken down into days, and if we get ahead, great. If we get “behind”, I just keep going to the next week, knowing that eventually it will all shake out. And if it doesn’t, really, really!, it’s not a big deal.

Well, my excitement soon fizzled into frustration. Nothing was organized. Which meant  I was spending fifteen minutes getting all of my little mess together and then the boys were already distracted and doing who knows what (jumping off of the couch, playing a board game, asking to watch a TV show, or arguing). Obviously frustrating.

So I emphatically t.o.l.d. Tyler I had to get my mess together. I had to get organized. I stared at all of the stuff and I stared at my space – which is that cabinet, and after I stared and stared some more, I went to Target. I bought every plastic bin I thought might help, brought it home, put it all together, which really was the shorter part of the whole ordeal, and returned the plastic bins that ended up not being used.

In those bins…



I have math manipulatives, handwriting manipulatives; math and language arts games; a box for Leland, and a box for Grafton; my “side” of the cabinet, and a space for the books we are currently reading. Other games and books and all sorts of stuff are in the play room. We can go get them any time, but this cabinet is reserved for the “school stuff” and the play things, like play doh and paint, that we play with t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. 🙂

On any given day the cabinet is not fancy, but it is functional and I can close the doors, which is fantastic!

Sometimes we get out the folding tables and chairs, which I tuck away in the coat closet when we aren’t using them… and sometimes we sit at the kitchen table. Other times we go outside to the picnic table, and I hope as the weather cools to take school to the park.

Typically the boys get dressed in the morning, but sometimes pjs are just fine for school. #homeschoolperks 😉

My favorite time is couch time aka reading time. Truly, the manifold reasons are obvious. The boys and I sit together, we read great stories, we take about all that we are learning, I answer a pile of questions, and, did I mention we are sitting on the couch?!

our reading corner

I’m not too far into this whole homeschool thing, but so far, I am enjoying so many of the inherent benefits of living and learning together under the same roof. Sure, sometimes it’s hard. I have learned that we all need a snack before we start school. It evens our blood sugar and fills our tummies so we can actually listen to the story, do our work books, and get through the time a lot more happily. We begin with prayer and end with thanking the Lord for school and learning. We make sure to play out side… which is one more place I want to show you.


Sometimes we have visitors (see sweet Story and Selah?) and we haven’t constructed a tree house yet, like in This is My Home, This is My School, but we are on our way to having a pretty good backyard. And funny enough, this is where we have recess.

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