Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Way to Set up a Home Classroom for Young Children

There are many different ways a home, or a room within a home could be set-up for homeschool. As you read below, it may sound a bit Montessori, and I think it is. Although we don't use Montessori as our primary homeschool method, it is the way I try to organize the home. Montessori is definitely the way we use our free time.

I think of setting up my home for "school" as an extension of the way my home was organized for toddlers. With toddlers I tried to encourage exploration by placing appropriate activities on low shelves so the children could independantly explore what they were interested in.

Now that they are in school the materials are a bit different, but the method is the same. I try to place challenging and fun learning activities in locations where the kids can easily get and put away the activities. I put materials that would support different subjects together, and occasionally rotate the materials.

Every Day Materials - We have a bookshelf for materials we use every day during school time. We have a couch for reading, and a table for other work. There is also plenty of floor space which gets used for cartwheels, dancing, reading, math and pretty much everything else too.

Reading - Each child has their own shelf with books at their reading level. We have tons of books and the kids are in no way limited to their shelves, it's just a way to help narrow their selection. In addition we also have a basket on the floor which contains books. The books in the basket are rotated frequently.

Art and Writing - We have pencils, crayons, scissors, and paper down low so the kids can get them easily. The interest and attention the kids give to this area is a close second to the crafting supplies. They love to dig through the paper recycling located in this area. I hardly every throw away cereal boxes that have not been altered into mail boxes, masks, containers for pulleys or some other purpose.

Math - We have some math games, card games and manipulatives on a low shelf. They have access to measuring devices such as rulers and scales. They have access to the kitchen and cookbooks to try new recipes. In addition, I believe many of the crafting activities they do support their mathmatical learning.

Crafts - We have lots of crafting materials. A potholder loom, a cardboard loom, a wooden loom, yarns, scrap fabrics, old clothes, knitting needles, crochet needles, beads, copper wire, wire bending tools, fiber and needling felting supplies are all placed on low shelves. The kids play with these items more than any commercial toys or games we have.

Geography - We have a state puzzle, world puzzles, blank outline maps with colored pencils next to them for the kids to color and a globe.

Music - We have a simple CD player and CD's the kids can operate. We recently purchased ipods they can use as a substitute to the CD's. They are filled with classical, jazz and folk music as well lots of free stories downloaded from librivox through itunes.

Science - We used to have a nature area that contained pinecones, seashells, rocks and other nature items with a magnifing glass nearby. Unfortunately most of these items are in a storage facility in Colorado while we continue on our European adventure. Now we have nature items scatterd around the house and mostly in the backyard. I could probably improve this area quite a bit.

How do you organize your homeschool?

Natural Parenting Group

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