Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our Homeschool Room--On a Budget

I wanted to share some pictures of our homeschool/playroom (yes, it has to do double duty) that we put together without spending a whole lot of money. It's amazing how far a little paint and sweat-equity will go!

Just so you can get an idea of where we started, this is the room before (it's pretty small--about 11 1/2' x 12'--your standard, icky, suburban white box).

And . . . here is what it looks like now . . .

Now, I like to think of myself as cost-conscious, but let's face it, I'm actually just cheap. So, in order to create a comfortable place for the Things to do school and play, I had to go bargain-hunting! Here's a run-down of some of my finds:

  1. The map--I originally fell in love with this map in the Pottery Barn catalog. Yes, it was laminated and markable, but it was also $200. I did some searching online and found this one (the same map) from a map dealer in PA. It's not laminated, but at $75 (including wallpaper paste) I was thrilled! I love it! (although, due to lack of wall space, we did have to lose Alaska and part of Japan. Sorry, guys!)

  2. The table and chairs--unpainted, small dining set from Ikea--maybe $150-$175 for the set; can't remember. Needs another coat of paint (it's on my list of will-do-it-eventually). I'm in the process of getting a topper for the table--glass or plexiglass, I haven't decided. I like the idea of being able to change out what's underneath it. Right now I'm having a U.S. map laminated at Office Max--free!

  3. The rug--one of my favorite finds; it determined my color scheme because I found it first. Lowe's clearance table--$5!!!

  4. Roman shade--J.C. Penney clearance. Think it was $17.

And in the other corner . . .

This picture shows three things Dear, Dear Hubby has done--just for me!
  1. Those of you who knew me way back when (in our beautiful base housing--ha!) will recall that the ladder bookshelf(ves) used to be in my living room, and black. This was another one of those Pottery Barn desires that wasn't going to be fulfilled, so DH (using every bit of his carpentry skill and any left-over college engineering knowledge) made these bookshelves for me, using the PB catalog as a guide. They still work great, and are just perfect for holding the fabric bins I found at Wal-Mart, which, fortuitously enough, coordinated with the $5 rug.

  2. The beadboard DH put up and painted by himself. Yes, I owe him big time! It wasn't expensive, just a pain in the, well, you get the picture.

  3. And last but not least . . . my fabulous white/bulletin board. Very simple--just a piece of whiteboard from Lowe's, some cork tiles from Target, and trim moulding to pull it all together. DH even cut out the closet light switch for me on the whiteboard. What a guy!

  4. This picture also gives you a glimpse of the inflatable solar system I got online for about $40. It travels across the ceiling, via fishing line and cup hooks, with Pluto (not voted off of our solar system) hanging somewhere near where Alaska should be. It's an odd perspective, but it works.

Here are a few last items . . .

I got several packs of various-sized, glow-in-the-dark stars in the cheap toy/party favor asile at Wal-Mart. After agonizing for a week or two about whether to create a "Milky Way," I finally just got out the ladder and stuck them on randomly with some of that gummy stuff teachers use for posters. Looks very cool with the lights off!

Pluto, hanging out in Canada. :-)

The other corner. The clutter on the shelves drives me nuts! (I have issues.) But I try not to stress. After all, it is a tiny schoolroom and playroom for three kids under 9!

And last, but not least . . .

  1. The chair pads my mom sewed for me from napkins I found at target ($3 each).
  2. The placemats (which I intend to put under the table topper), also from Target, on clearance, $1 each.
  3. The frames for the Things' "Star" posters, 1/2 price at Hobby Lobby. Still $25 each, but the posters are special keepsakes.

So there you have it, my schoolroom/playroom (P.S. the closet door is hiding the floor-to-ceiling shelves DH built for all the toy storage--it's organized, but full!). I haven't actually totaled up how much we spent, so if anyone bothers to, let me know! I do know that I could have spent a whole lot more! I guess having such a small room can be a blessing!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Our 2007-2008 Weekly Schedule

This is our weekly schedule for the coming year. All the non-school things we do together are in brown (well, ok, I'm the only one doing the coffee/paper thing), Thing 1 (3rd) is in red, Thing 2 (2nd) is in blue, and Thing 3 (private K) is in purple. The school classes we do together are in green. Not sure if this will pan out, but I needed to get something down on paper! You can click on the picture to make it actually readable.