I’ve been working on organizing our homeschool room, something I do every year, but this year I really wanted to take care of some lingering problems that were going to become overwhelming with Lydia starting homeschool officially this year.
My big goal was to create more storage in our homeschool room for curriculum. Here was my solution: the Ikea Kallax shelf system with 4 Lekman inserts. (Kallax is the replacement for the Expedit system. We have the Expedit in Aidan’s room and it’s very versatile. The Kallax is identical to the Expedit, expect the outer walls are not as thick and it has a more scratch resistant surface):
The only storage I had in the homeschool room was in the tall cabinets to the right of the new shelving. I had room for the current years’ curriculum and that was it. Any overflow had to go in the garage. Now I have our poetry, history, faith, and some of our science books stored in this room. Our math manipulative and some of our craft supplies are in the tall cabinets. It’s still a work in progress (as you can see in the two photos of the new shelving taken only 2 days apart!).
I bought some inexpensive photos displays from Joann’s (with my coupon they were only a few dollars a piece) so that I can display books on the shelf for the kids.
I also needed a solution for overflow laptops. The kids had been dragging in a broken card table from the garage to set up one teeny weeny laptop and it was driving me crazy, so my plan was to buy this very basic no-frills Lack side table from Ikea and put it in front of a futon we have in the homeschool room:
But then across the crowded room, I caught sight of this absolutely adorable coffee table: it’s really a rolling cart. It’s red enamel metal, moves on casters, and made my heart skip a beat:
But it was $49.99. Gulp. I walked around the store, telling myself to buy the boring square table, but in the end bought the red enamel one and I love, love, love it! It was my big splurge.
The kids have been using the cart not only for their laptops in front of the futon, but they roll it around and use it sort out their Lego: they sort on the lower shelf and build on the top of the table. I am very satisfied. 🙂 The cute pillows were also an unplanned purchase. They coordinated with the new curtains which I also bought on a whim (seen in our room in the last photo; here are close-up images from the Ikea website).
This is how you blow your budget: little by little. 🙂 These little touches make the homeschool room even more light and fun, but they are not too little kiddy-ish for the big homeschoolers in the house.
Also at Ikea, I found a better solution for our embarrassing collection of Lego which reminds me every time I vacuum that I DON’T WANT ONE MORE SINGLE PIECE OF LEGO TO CROSS OUR THRESHOLD! I purchased these awesome and cheap storage boxes (Vessla: on sale $5 for the box, $2 for the lid). They have casters and are stackable. We previously had all our Lego in 2 huge Rubbermaid containers that the kids could barely move; the boxes had started cracking. Now they can roll the boxes around and I can stack them neatly. Hopefully the Lego will actually make it INTO the boxes after play:
At last our growing collection of paper is organized in this 10-drawer cart from Joann’s. What did I wait so long? The cart was about $50 with a coupon. I labeled the drawers so the kids know where to find the paper they need. Watercolor paper, construction paper, cardstock, different types of writing paper: all organized!
In a small hallway right outside our homeschool room, I have Lydia’s writing center and a shelf for nature studies. I updated Lydia’s writing center with these adorable chalkboard labels: $1 for 8 at Target! And the little sign was $1.97 at Walmart! I used chalkboard marker so the writing is permanent.
Here is our nature study shelf, with binoculars, our nature study bag which holds sketch pads, rock collection, and some other items of interest. Like the Lego book. Not sure why that is there! I just realized I have a basket of field guides on the new Ikea shelving: I should switch around the Lego books and the nature guides, duh! As I say, it’s a work in progress:
Here is a photo of our homeschool room tonight from outside looking in. I was in the back garden and saw this image; it looks so peaceful and inviting.
After having a separate homeschool room for 7 years, I think I may have created a level of order that is workable. My budget was $200. I think I spent closer to $350. That means no new light fixture for the ceiling and no new slipcover for the comfy but dirty beige chair (seen to the right of the Lego boxes in the image above). It was worth it.