Monday, August 15, 2011

Our New School Room!

We recently have set out into the world of homeschooling and part of my "conditional surrender" to actually doing this was to have a school room. If you're interested, you can catch all the details of how and why we decided to homeschool in this post.
I know that we'll probably end up doing school work all over the house or outside or on the road but to have a visually pleasing space where I can shut the door if necessary has been a huge help in getting me to the point of wanting to do this instead of just gritting my teeth through it.

This spare room had some water issues when we moved in. We think we've resolved the problems but we don't want to take chances so all the furniture has plastic or metal feet and the bookshelves are set up on small ceramic tiles. We pulled out carpet and yucky paneling, painted the walls, doors, trim, and floor, and added an electrical outlet and 2 additional light fixtures.
Here's what it looked like when we first saw the house.
Here's what it looked like post-paneling/carpet removal.
Inviting, eh??

After all the down and dirty work, here's what you see when you look straight in from the main door.
And looking from the main door in towards the long wall.
Details: a few lanterns for color
A fun rug (easily movable in case of water) on sale at Ross.
Our quickly filling bookshelves. (On sale at Target.)
A close up of the bookshelves.
On top I have 3 canvas bins from the Target dollar spot (But they were $2.50, so why were they in the dollar spot? I don't think that quite makes sense but they were still a good deal.) One is for math manipulatives, 1 for games and flashcards, and 1 yet to be filled. I also found a file folder box at Target that holds file folders for each kid's school subjects. Throughout the year, I'll file worksheets, random papers, field trip info, and weekly log sheets to be used to compile year-end portfolios. The 2 magazine holders, painted to match our color scheme, hold mom stuff like catalogs.

The next shelf holds fiction books for independent and curriculum reading. I combined lists from a classical Christian school's website and Sonlight to create a list of books for each grade level that I'd like the kids to read. They're voracious readers so I want to try to steer them towards good literature and classic fiction that I remember reading while growing up.

The next somewhat empty shelf holds art/music/Bible/character books, then language arts/literature books, a couple of geography puzzles/play money set/magnifying glass, and computer disks for this year's curriculum.
The next shelf holds magazine holders. I bought several sets at Ikea for super cheap and then painted them to match our room's decor. The left side starts with Soprano's nature study binder (for completed pages) and MFW binder. Her current items (Math, Reading, L/A) are in the first pink mag holder. Her current MFW geography game, flag sticker book, and eventually passport are in the 2nd. Extra lightunits, reader, and math workbook are in the next 2 holders.
The orange ones are for me. I have MFW student sheets for each kid and teacher supplement in one and random current curriculum in the next (PA History worksheets, nature study blank pages, health worksheets).
The other side is similar but holds Tenor's things in reverse order. These will be our sort of version of a workbox. They'll just pull their magazine holder of current stuff and reference their weekly log to see what needs to be completed each day. (That's the plan anyway. We'll see how it works in real life!)
The next shelf holds our MFW books on the far left, other geography and PA history books, then T's globe, and at the far right, science books.
The very bottom has some curriculum we got at a yard sale before we decided on this year's plan that I might use in the future, a magazine file box that holds my current teacher manuals, another canvas bin from Target for library books that we'll borrow for our MFW studies, and then a whole shelf of history books. (If you look closely, you can see the tiles we used to lift the shelves off the floor.)
On the right side, we used command hooks to hang their storage clipboards. They'll use these for their weekly nature walk/study. I found great story sheets at an educational store that have space for a picture at the top and handwriting lines at the bottom that they'll keep in here along with regular and colored pencils. I also tucked a yard stick and meter stick over here.
Another fun Target buy was this butterfly chair. It's really comfy and perfect for a cozy reading spot. We had lanterns left over from our Vacation Bible School to hang in the corner and got a fuzzy, shag rug at Ikea to soften the floor. You can see the curtains hanging there too. That wall had paneling removed (see the before pics above) so it was blank cinderblock with a less-than-pretty sewer pipe running along the entire length. We got Deka wires and clips and Knoppa flat sheets from Ikea to hang and disguise the uglies.
On the short end wall, we set up Tenor's desk area. (We thought it might be best to have the younglings face opposite walls to try to minimize potential annoying and bothering.) The desk is the Vika series from Ikea. We got the white top and white legs for both younglings' desks as well as for the long work table. New spinny chairs, lamps, and wastebaskets were all on sale at Target. I got the cork board at Michael's with a coupon and painted the frame white and then covered it with fabric. I found a super cute bulletin board set at a local education store and used the clip art to decorate his bulletin board. It came with a lot of guitars so I cut letters out with my Cricut, adhered them to the guitars, and then had them laminated. I used a simple piece of ribbon and colorful paperclips to create a name banner.

On his bulletin board are a handwriting chart, grammar/writing cheat sheet, and required reading list (for independent reading time.)
We found this little supply box at Wal-Mart which is perfect for holding freshly sharpened pencils, much needed erasers, and other handy supplies. (No excuses of 'I can't do my work, I don't have a _____.')
Next to his bulletin board hangs a clipboard. I painted the base and then covered it with scrapbook paper in his colors of green and blue (and several coats of Mod Podge.) This will hold his attendance chart and weekly log/assignment sheet.
Moving to the long paneling wall, we have our maps. We used a tri-fold foam display board and a sheet of cardboard to create a map backer. This side has our world map. We hung the US map on the other side. Because it's light-weight foam, I can take it off the wall and flip it around as needed.
Next to the maps we have our clock and large corkboard. On this wall, we put a long Vika table for group study and art projects.

This side has mom's basket of supplies. The little tins were also at the Target dollar spot. (They were actually $1 though.) I have my handy-dandy red pens, dry erase markers, decorated clothespins, notepaper, etc. and tissues for the upcoming fall allergy season.
This is where I will probably sit to correct papers. The little magazine bin I found at Big Lots for $3 has handles which make it super easy to cart around. It will live on the bookshelf when it's not needed.
A close-up of mom's clipboard.
Our big bulletin board has a clip art 'Welcome' and will hold our memory verse of the week. (I found adorable, free printables for MFW's weekly memory verses at Mama Jenn.)
Also on the board are our pledges. (dressed up in MS Publisher)
And classroom rules (also dressed up a bit in Publisher)
I totally borrowed that idea from here and just made them coordinate with our decor scheme.

At the other end of our project table, I have another mesh bin and Target pails with art supplies for the kids.

Just to the left of the main door is the door to the workshop area. I laminated the clip art and poster from our bulletin board set. The star clip art is now announcing 'superstar work' along with a bulldog clip to show off great schoolwork from each kid. The poster (since it's laminated) will function as our whiteboard.

Then next to the workshop door, we're back to Soprano's desk that is the first thing you see when you enter the room. She has the same set-up as Tenor only in her color (pink, in case you missed it.)
Soprano's supply box

Soprano's clipboard
A quick reminder of before:

And after:

Doesn't that just make you want to do school?? We haven't let the kids in since I started decorating and shelving books to try to build their anticipation. They keep trying to sneak a peek though and have said they're totally ready to start school! Here's hoping that enthusiasm will last!

Linking up to this fun blog hop (with tons of great school room ideas)

and a few of these great linky parties!

This redo was featured here:


  1. This is one amazing before and after! What an inspiring place to do your school work. I LOVE the colors and the organization! I found your blog through the delightful order link party and I am your newest follower!

    Brie from

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    First of all thanks so much for visiting and commenting on my rope ball post yesterday, I have become a follower of your blog and would love you to follow my blog too!

    You did a fabulous job of creating a really inviting school room, so glad the paneling is gone. I am a real sucker for before and after pics! My 70's basement was a dark wood paneled dungeon and I opted to paint it ...took me 10 weeks on and off but the result is well worth it. Take a look here, here and here

  3. Followed from Delightfully Inspiring Thursday. I love your classroom. I am now a follower! I like your blog! Come check out my blog at


  4. What a very fun school room! Good luck in the new school year

  5. What a great room to learn in! I wish I had the patience to home school. We can't get through homework in our house with how tears! I admire your ability to home school. Thank you for stopping by my blog! Come again soon!

    I am a new follower!

  6. I love it! All the pops of colour are great! It certainly looks so much better than when you started! Angie xo

  7. AWESOME! We home school! This will be our 3rd year! Your room looks awesome! It's the best decision I ever made! if you ever care to stop by!

  8. Your room looks awesome! I hope you have a great homeschool year!

  9. Looks great! I love the colors!
    Kelly K

  10. Love this! You are making the room very fun and I hope school will bless you all this year!

  11. I am so smitten with all of the great colors you brought into the space to make it such a fun and great environment for kids!


  12. What a transformation. The colors are fantastic and your attention to detail is amazing!

  13. How gorgeous is this school room?! What a wonderful vision you had and the ability to carry it out is flawless :) Thanks for sharing!
    Carlie visiting from:

  14. Oh my! You really did a lot to change things into a very welcoming homeschool environment! Inspiring! I'd love to have you link this post up to the linky party I just started for homeschool rooms/spots, organizing tips, back to school fun, etc. :) I plan to leave it open through the month of August in hopes of getting a nice collection of ideas and inspiration for homeschooling moms! :)

    1. Thanks! I'll definitely stop by the linky party... I love seeing how other homeschoolers set up their spaces!


Your kind comments make me smile!

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