I have been toying with the idea of moving our formal school subjects that we typically did around the dining room table to a school room in order to create a more peaceful and relaxing environment for myself. There is something about homeschooling that creates a constant need for me to think about and never quite shut school out of my brain when it is time for other things…homeschooling truly becomes a way of life. :) Especially when you are trying to set an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
Anyway, my problem is that we would get involved in a big project, or someone would still be finishing up something that couldn’t move from the table and so it would stay – through dinner, through a few days to a week. I couldn’t stand that there was no where else to have those things. In order to do a school room, I would have to sacrifice my craft room and the room the kids had their toys in. Hmmmm!
As you can tell, this room also became the catch-all room for stuff I wasn’t sure what to do with.
The other problem was stuff! I had stuff everywhere. Yes, it was generally tidy. Everything had a place. But one day I realized that I needed to stop going up the walls. I needed some space. Something HAD to change. I was unhappy, school was starting to suffer, and I was feeling guilty.
In the midst of these ideas swirling through my head, I attended a homeschool conference for the very first time. I went because the Sipmly Charlotte Mason team was coming and Sonya Shafer (the public face of SCM) was giving several workshops on various topics such as habit training, the Charlotte Mason methods, and was presenting a brand new workshop called “When More Is Less: A Call To Simplicity.” I went with one of my good friends and planned to meet other friends there. My friends and I also had the opportunity to eat dinner with the SCM family and the Creating A Masterpiece artist and family team. It was wonderful to have 3 uninterrupted hours with Sonya, Doug, and Karen. I had so much fun and learned so much from them!
During dinner, Sonya urged me to go with my ideas and feelings. The next day when she presented her new More Is Less workshop, I knew that the Lord was confirming all these thoughts and I was going to make some changes and find a new balance in my life. All the way home, I was full of ideas and was mentally rearranging my house to better reflect the ideas I wanted my life to hold. Instead of hoarding things, I needed to share them. Instead of saying yes to everything, I had to start saying no to less important things. My family was somewhat shocked at how adamant I was about changing our lives! I had to educate them on WHY these changes were important for ALL of us – not just me.
In order to help me stay motivated and continue to make these changes, I read the book called How To Escape the Clutter Trap. (You can read my review here.) We held a huge yard sale of really nice stuff (and my sweet sister drove 9 hours one way to help me!) and whatever did not sale, I donated to the resale shop, Book Samaritan, and other educational places around town.
Here is the basic school room when we first finished it. There is lots of floor space that I didn’t take pictures of. ;) I painted the walls a light green and made white curtains to match the white furniture. I am deliberately trying add some blank wall space to the room. It is calm and peaceful. The table is a fold-up table and is easily put away when we have company coming to stay. It fits in front of the short bookcases like a door on the shelves and makes the room feel a little less “busy”. Since I took these photos, I have added a nature table/bookcase under the large window. I moved the cd player down there and put the nature study books on the shelf next to it. On the bottom of the shelf I put my Five in a Row books and SCM reading recommendations. That is another post for another day. ;)
Something that I added that I haven’t had before is a whiteboard and some book rails for easy display of wonderful books.
I love this room. I am actually amazed at how much more consistent we are in a daily schedule, how much less I get interrupted or distracted, and how much better everyone’s attitude is about school and life in general. Yay!!