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Monday, June 24, 2013

Homeschool Room Evolution

When we bought our house I was very excited about the family room off the kitchen.  Our house is basically split at this point, one side is the kids rooms, bathroom, and laundry room.  The other half is the dinning room, living room and the master room/ bathroom.  I love that this room is the central location of the house.  When we first started homeschooling we had a couch in here and the toys.  We would do school work at the counter or in the dinning room.  Those of you that homeschool know, there is always a mess.  Always! Be it books, projects left to finish the next day, etc.  I was tired of trying to hide evidence of that days schooling; for guests, my husband, whatever.  This is our lifestyle right, no need to be ashamed of it.
I started searching the internet for homeschool room ideas.  Some of them where pretty elaborate.  I loved the look, but elaborate none the less.....and pricey.  I wanted my room to be functional, not just for school but the younger kids as well.  And what about when we had guests over?
So I ditched the couch (donated it) and started searching Craigslist. I made a list of the items I felt I would need:
  • Table/ Chairs
  •  Bookscase
  • Chalk Board
   I found the table on Craigslist for $40.  The woman I bought it from started to sand the top and had already painted the bottom.  Most of the work was already done.  I love a good DIY so I broke out the sander and finished the top.  I had plenty of stain left from when I did my dinning table.  So it matched perfectly.  When I saw the color she had painted the bottom I knew it was meant to be....it matched my decor.  It's a drop side too, so if I need the whole room (like during a party) I can push it up under the chalkboard, nice and flush with the wall.
  I looked into making my own chalk board, which is pretty easy, but honestly even that, to me, was to much money.  (I'm trying to be frugal).  That was a lucky find.  My friend called me from a yard sale: "Hey Crystal, aren't you looking for a chalkboard, there's one here for $3.  Want me to snag it for you?" Heck YEAH! I picked it up from her....lets just say it was rough.  The varnish on the trim was pealing and it stunk...like cat pee. I sanded that bad boy...doused it in vinegar to kill the smell, and stained it to match the table...voila! The one mistake I made, I taped the board with painters tape to keep the stain and  clear coat off the board....When I peeled it up, it took the chalk board finish up with it.  Thankfully my house has a lot of "shabby chic" (code for beat to hell) furniture so it turned out okay.
The Bookcases I got for a killer deal at Target.  They where on sale. I asked a clerk to grab one from the back and took the one that was on the floor.  When I got up to the front to pay, it wasn't there.  The clerk had gotten busy and forgot.  He was very sweet and apologetic, I told him no biggy, as my kids where pulling at me. He said; "You know what, since you're being so sweet about it, we'll take an extra 10% off."  It pays to be nice folks!  On the bottom shelves are coloring books, and reading books for the little kiddos.
I am so glad we did this. I have a functioning room now, the little kids can play while the big kids school.  I can see the back yard from the room too, so I can basically watch all the kids in different areas from one spot!  When we have guests over we have an extra table if we need it.
 The pictures are deceiving....I cleaned up before up took them. Normally you will see books scattered across the table, toys littering the floor (accompanied by the children playing with them).  the chalkboard, when not being used in a lesson has become the family message board, and of course a canvas for the kids.

So...you can throw together a great school room, that functions for cheap! I spent about $83 for the table, chairs, bookcases, and chalkboard. One note for the table....It's not big enough.  I have one kid who  loves to spreeeaaaaaad out while she works.  So I will be watching for a bigger one. I am also on the lookout for more bookcases, smaller to fit under the chalk board, and my husband will be building bench seats under the windows....Still evolving.


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