Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Preparing for Fall

Anticipation is high around here as tomorrow we begin another exciting year of homeschooling! And while I would by no means qualify myself as an "experienced" home schooler at this point, having improvised for what felt like most of our Kindergarten year, I do have to say that I feel much more at peace about our chosen lifestyle than I did last year. Budget constraints have challenged me to create a mostly free, and definitely flexible, curriculum for this year, and, while I would love (and do plan) to share the "nuts and bolts" of what we've got lined up, I just first have to share how much I love our new learning environment!

Although it had become increasingly impractical, I was so saddened by the dismantling of our home school room last Spring. It was really no longer adequately serving it's purpose, but still...I was charmed by the notion of a school room and it was really hard for me to let it go. If there's one thing I love, though, it's the creative rearrangement or repurposing of what we've got to best suit all of our needs, and, if you'll allow me please to beam for just a moment here, I've got to say that I am so very pleased with what we've devised in our dining room! I don't really think I realized it until this morning, but I'm certain now that I've been enormously influenced by the ever inspiring Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight. She and her boys enjoy such a cozy space that every time I stop by for a virtual visit, I just want to crawl right through the computer screen to join them for a cup of tea! :)

So, here is what we've created over the past few days:

I love it so much! The bay window still seems a little bare to me, but I'm thinking that it's ornamentation will provide a fun project for the children and I to work on tomorrow. I'm not sure yet how I want to dress it up...last year was butterflies, but this year I'm thinking leaves, maybe? (Any suggestions?) The lights and garland from last year's window display are now part of our new seasonal table, along with our fall angel, this month's art masterpiece, a lovely autumn platter I just couldn't pass up at Hobby Lobby last year, a couple of figurines, pine cones, two small, beautiful books, pecans from my dad's tree, and a cat. Oh, wait, no! The cat's not a permanent fixture. :)

Another feature of our new learning space that I'm really enjoying, aside from our seasonal table, is our autumn reading basket. I've already updated our book list in my left hand sidebar, so I won't list everything that's in it here, but I would just like to say how cozy it feels to have a nice collection of easy fall reading right at our fingertips. Perfect for our tea times! Also out are books that I plan to use regularly (daily or weekly). These are A Child's Garden of Verses, New Catholic Picture Bible, and Devotional Stories for Little Folks.

I tucked a small bookcase beside our craft cabinet, to hold our flashcards, pens and pencils, math games and manipulatives, and all the books we're likely to be using this fall. This has already proven to be very convenient!

Of course, I have to also mention what is perhaps my most favorite feature of all: our seasonal table makes the perfect spot for cooling all of our fresh baked fall treats! We've already tried apple pie, two loaves of bread, and Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies, although those were eaten sooner than I could photograph them. :)

I am so happy. I am so looking forward to tomorrow and a new year of learning with my children!


Charlotte (Matilda) said...

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Dawn should be very honored because your new space has a very Dawn-esque feel to it with touches of original Melissa, of course. Makes me want to climb through the computer screen and have a cup of tea with you!!! Have a great year!

Jill said...

Oh, this post is just so YOU! I love it!
I know how much you love fall, and I also know how much you love creating beautiful and useful spaces for your children to learn and live in. You have captured both things beautifully.
Thank you for sharing, and enjoy another wonderful school year.

Celeste said...

Melissa, I will be right over for some coffee. Your new space is so inviting. I want to come do school at your table tomorrow. What a warmth and charm it all has. As far as the window - what about you and the kids working on a dried garland or swag of sorts of fallish things from your surroundings. I too feel the same way about Dawn - I was so glad to see her back. I so enjoy her and her home. That's another place I'd like to be for coffee right now.


Michelle said...

It looks lovely, warm and inviting. Enjoy it, and your new year with the kids.

Blair said...

How lovely! Maybe we need to have a "virtual home school" field trip one day! Best wishes for a wonderful new school year!

Shannon said...

looks so gorgeous! I'd love to join you for a cup of tea in your new space... looks super cozy!

mom-in-training said...

Melissa, what a fantastic job you've done on your new home-school space. I feel exactly as all the other posters - the room looks so warm and inviting! I, too, am a huge fan of Fall. Our home-school room lacks warmth. Inspired by your beautiful fall decor, I think I know just what we'll need to do to add some color and warmth to our own learning environment! Good luck with the new school year! I know you're going to do GREAT!!!

Martha said...

Melissa - Everything looks so homey and cozy! Your bread looks delicious. You amaze me with all that you do - you are Wonder Woman!

Lillian said...

How beautiful! My girls were looking over my shoulder and were "Oohing" and "Aahing" about how beautiful it looked. They kept asking, "Who's house is that? Do we know them?" I love how warm it feels, especially with the lamp on the kitchen counter!! GREAT JOB!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, it was me who Google searched "Autumn book list homeschooling." I was just looking for some fresh inspiration. Your list reminded me to order the Brambley Hedge book from the library. Also, I bookmarked Devotional Stories for Little Folks. I keep meaning to order it. Thanks!