A Fresh Year

A new school year is upon us and with it comes big changes for me.  My oldest son is going into the tenth grade and starting school this year, a real full day brick and mortar school.  This was a decision that was years in the making and is the right one for him and for us.  So far, so good.  He has attended for one week and has survived.

Later this week, I will embark on a new homeschooling journey with the rest of the kids.  I will be attempting to do what I have always avoided doing and am, in theory, somewhat opposed to doing.  I will be structuring things like “school-at-home”.  I will be following the lesson plans I have made, teaching in our newly decorated homeschool classroom, being scheduled and structured, and having the kids do bookwork.

The reason for this change is very simple.  It’s what my kids need.  Perhaps there will come a time when I can go back to being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spontaneous homeschooler, who gives the kids the freedom to learn just by living, but for now, this is what they need.  Our thirteen year old son has been asking for about a year now for more bookwork, more learning, more predictability.  I think he will take to this rather well.  It’s the three eight year olds though, that I truly made this change for.  Two of them have special needs that cry out for routine.  The other is learning English as a second language and his learning needs to be more purposeful for this to be effective.  Last year, I just assumed that he would magically learn a new language and a new alphabet and we could go on our merry way.  It didn’t happen.  This will also probably benefit the two five year olds as well.  Part of my plan will include teaching FOUR kids how to read this year!

None of this will come naturally for me and is a big step out of my comfort zone, but this will be a year of many changes, so I’m adding this one and am going to make it work.  There will be a lot of prayer that comes with this and my intake of chocolate may increase!

Here is the new homeschool classroom.

this “world wall” has a map of the world, quotes, a holder for the kids’ lapbooks, clocks with times set to our local time, the time in Ethiopia, and in Nova Scotia (where friends of ours live).  The best part is the Africa decal with a cut-out of Ethiopia, the birth country of two of our children!

The bookshelves and games cupboards…notice how organized the books are – there are even labels on the shelves – they won’t stay this organized for long!

a view of most of the room – the table is where we will do most of our schooling

This used to be a fireplace that made the house drafty.  With my mom’s help, we put some insulation in there, and covered it with cork.  Now I have a huge corkboard to display craft projects or theme units on.  The mantle works perfectly for setting out the books and models for the theme we are studying at the moment.

The reading corner is my favourite.  It’s already been getting a lot of use.  The bean bag chair is a great place to snuggle up and have some one-on-one time with each of the kids.

All the wall graphics in the room are from Peel Monkey.  In the next week or two, I will be doing a Peel Monkey giveaway so be sure to check back often!


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jessica on September 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Sharla, I absolutely love your classroom! It looks like a wonderful place to learn in. I’ve enjoying your blog(s), wow, when you said Grace had stitches I had no idea there was such a story behind it. I’m glad that she has obviously improved a lot in quite a short period of time. Your family will be in our prayers!

    Jessica (from Millennium place this morning)


  2. Posted by Deanne on September 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Wow, that is some room makeover – good job! Can’t wait to see it in person!


  3. I LOVE your school room – the pictures really don’t do it justice…it is so warm and inviting – even I would like to go to school in your school room 🙂 I think the best thing about it is that when your kids go into that room, their brains will (hopefully) switch into a different mode from play mode and be ready to learn. I look forward to following your homeschool journey this year!


  4. How do I sign up for a chance at the give-away? Next week, the flooring goes into my newly constructed basement school room and I’m starting to plan how the room will take shape.



  5. Wow, your school room looks lovely!
    With my 9th grader requiring textbook work for the first time since we homeschooled, I can really relate to your decisions. There are skills that this type of schooling require and can only be learnt with a more structured and formal approach.
    I trust you find your rythmn and strategy teaching your little ones to read!


  6. Posted by Lindsay on September 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I don’t know what you’re using for reading, but we really love Reading Horizons. Since you’re teaching such a wide age range, I’d recommend it. It’s very user friendly, and naturally paces with the child. They also specialize with ESL kiddos, which made me think of it. Your room is gorgeous, I’m showing this to hubs so he can make my school rooms as learning-friendly!


  7. I love your school room!! The reading corner is my favorite too! I can see that getting used a lot.


  8. Sharla … I LOVE your schoolroom!!! I would have never thought of that color scheme, but it looks GREAT!!! The Africa on the wall is so cool, and the reading corner is my fave, too! What a cool learning space! 😉


  9. Posted by timbuck2mom on September 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I love your reading corner and the idea of covering the fireplace with cork. It looks lovely. I wish you the best in your homeschooling this year.



  10. […] We love Peel Monkey’s wall graphics and have used them in many rooms in our house.  They are super easy to install and can instantly change the look of a room.  For an experienced decorator or a hopeless one like me, these are fantastic!  For a view of how we have used different Peel Monkey wall vinyl’s in our newly created homeschool classroom, click here. […]


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