Lately, I've really been craving a school room, but in our apartment, I could never find the space for it. We've always had to be creative in the use of space in our apartment, but this takes the cake.
For the three years that we've been in this place, a little balcony in the boys' bedroom has served three purposes--storage, closet, and reading area. On one end was a large bookcase that we use as their closet. On the other end we had 4 trunks that we moved here with. They store outdoor equipment, holiday decorations, off season clothing, and several years worth of deodorant, among other things. . In the middle were 2 small book shelves of kids books.
Last week, I'd had enough of the school-time distractions that come from doing school at the dinner table. I was tired of pulling everything out and putting it away each day. I was tired of constantly running back and forth to get out school supplies. I went into the boys room (which I'd done a million times before) looking for a solution--a way to make a school area.
Like a flash of lightening, it hit me. Two of those trunks are the perfect height for a child's desk, and we have four. It was exactly what I needed to run with the idea. That large bookcase/closet, could easily fit in the main area of the boys room. Since they are getting bigger, they don't need as much floor space for playing, so it's not much of a sacrifice. Moving the closet allowed for a desk at each end of the balcony. Those smaller bookshelves bugged me for a while though. They infringed on the desk space and really didn't fit anywhere else in the house. Then I started thinking about some sort of divider (in my original moment of desperation, I imagined cubicles for each boy because they distract each other way too much), and those bookshelves turned into exactly what I needed. So here it is...
We have a school room!!!
|View from the main room|
|The great divide|
|Tegan's side of the great divide|
|Preston's side of the great divide|
|Tegan's desk area|
|Preston's desk area|
His inspirational word on the window is "SOAR"
His inspirational word on the window is "I'mPossible"
Why didn't I think of this before?
I suppose if I had thought of this earlier, we wouldn't appreciate it as much as we do now. We've had a week to enjoy it so far, and it's been so nice to be able to isolate ourselves during our school times. The boys have loved it. They've concentrated so much better and worked harder than ever before. They even enjoy doing homework at their desks. I love that I've been able to make it look like a "real" classroom. Little things like having a calendars, the writing process, addition/subtraction key words, a number chart, and a map hanging go a long way toward making school more successful. Being able to display their projects, helps them to take pride and put more effort into their work. It's just great all around!
The absolute best part though is that it only cost RMB 58 ($10) for the plastic to make a smooth writing surface. You really can't beat that.
As a spoilt American, I have to admit that I've griped quite a bit about not having enough space, and have dreamt about our next place in the hopes that it'll have a few things that this place doesn't. I keep having to stop myself and realize that we do have enough. In fact, we have more than most of the world. This process of finding space where I really didn't think we had space has been quite humbling. If we are truly good stewards of the space we have, it really is enough. The Creator of creativity will help us, and He is full of great ideas. He is faithful to provide for every one of our needs, even if it means, we have to put in a little elbow grease to make it work. For that I'm grateful!