Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Changing School Spaces

Well, I'm doing it.

Didn't think I would.
the old living room

It will be an experiment.

Since 2008, my son and I have lived in an 800 square foot apartment (advertised as 850, but I couldn't mever find the other 50 square feet...) - the bathroom was huge, the master bedroom walk-in closet housed clothing for both us and storage of typical storage stuff, it was that big; the kitchen was awful, tiny and dark ---- so you can imagine the rest of the apartment. Just not that much space. And we did Montessori at home, in full. Legoboy had the very small bedroom and for a while we had materials in there (clothes in the master bedroom closet; doors on his closet removed for more space; a small couch as his bed because he fit it). The living room was actually decent size but housed our dining area (kitchen too small to breathe - long, narrow, dark) as well. The master bedroom was a library, sewing room, wood-supplies storage, and eventually I just stopped sleeping in there!
the new basement - a small portion of it ;)
is bigger than our old living room!

For 2 1/2 years many of our Montessori materials were at our local parish's old school building - we rented space to run a co-op there.

Then we brought it all back home and I didn't do much sharing with other people, because it was just so impossible to re-integrate with everything else happening in life.

In 2014 - end of September - we finally found a HOUSE to rent in our area. It is amazing how quickly we integrated to house living. We could BREATHE! (figuratively and literally) - and I could vacuum at 11:00 at night when needed (won't be disturbing the neighbors!). Now, I hardly think about the apartments, I have half-forgotten our address, despite living there just over 6 years. It just wasn't living in the way he and I flourish (we have a good friend who lives in the same building - it works for their family - that's awesome)

Our new home: 
We have 3 bedrooms - one large and one small upstairs and 1 "medium" on the main floor. We also have a separate room without a closet or a door that currently serves as our dining room and sewing room. We have a large enough living room, an average size square, sunny kitchen (with a red sink! haha), an entry way, a hallway that looks like Elsa's ice palace, a normal size bathroom (no more keeping our easel in the bathroom!) with those thick stone glass bricks for a "window" - it is SUNNY!

Our upstairs landing holds the keyboard and music supplies; as well as games. The upstairs bedrooms are going to be a girls' room and a boys' room - one of the *many* large closets upstairs is actually large enough to be a small bedroom and is Legoboy's "lego cave".

The basement (we have a basement!) has three sections - the back-section has the heater/a/c, a wood-cutting area, the washing machine, freezer, a shower (?) and under-stair storage. The middle section is Legoboy's taekwondo/workout area with a large front section empty... The far side of the basement had a long very narrow room (about as narrow as our old kitchen, but longer!) with a pantry at one end and the other end I removed the wall to convert an old wood-working area into a painting area.

Our yard - we have a decent size garden, plants on the porch, two driveways; we are getting chickens and bees in the spring; we have a few maples (some died this past winter :( ) for maple syrup.... more plans ;) And we back up to the home of two beautiful chestnut horses!

So the "medium" bedroom on the main floor. My original intentions:

  • closet holds toys
  • set the main portion of the room as a full library
  • child work table
  • school supplies
Extend some school into the rest of the home. 

This has been working just "eh, ok" for the visitors - and I am finding I really want each room to have its specific purpose (could be more than one purpose) and not be moving things all the time (getting toys out for visitors is ok).

I also need a bedroom of my own before I officially open my home to foster children. 

Then I  brought home a TON of my atrium materials - and if I don't want to use the upstairs bedrooms, they need to go somewhere....

So - I have been hemming and hawing about moving the school room downstairs to the basement; keep the library but make it my bedroom too. I really wanted school stuff on the main floor - no going elsewhere for it (out of sight, out of mind). But honestly?

  • My son is 11 - upper elementary and approaching adolescence - he just doesn't use the Montessori materials as often anymore. What he needs, he is quite capable of going to GET. 
  • Starting with foster care, it would be best to have the materials in a special place - this is where I *can* bring out some specific things for the foster children as they get used to being here (and may only be here temporarily anyway), rather than take a chance of having many things destroyed by a child who has gone through severe emotional trauma (I would rather they rip apart books which we can repair together) then cut up Montessori language materials that are harder for a child to help repair without completely replacing (I would want to teach the right example of lasting consequences). 
  • Our visiting co-op/tutoring children are here for a specific purpose anyway. 
  • If we set it up right in the basement, things can be covered when not in use (a good idea anyway, since my son doesn't use them on a daily basis anymore), thus protected from taekwondo use ;) but when we have children over, they can use the softer gymnastics mats to sit on with work mats. 
This allows me to get a futon for the library - a bed for me as-is, a comfy couch for the daytime, a bigger bed for overnight guests (Joshua's godparents!).

So --- 
  • I can have a schoolroom in the open area of the basement, put some things on casters (IKEA sells casters that are already mounted at either end of a support bar!) and close/open up areas according to who is visiting and utilizing the space. 
  • I can have the library as a quiet place; doubling as my sleeping area at night.
  • The living room can mostly remain a living area, bringing out toys when appropriate. 
I have just really enjoyed having an empty space... ;) 

Shelving has been ordered for downstairs; as elementary Montessori videos finish up, I am moving the elementary materials down there.

The futon is in place - needs a cover so it is easier to keep clean.  

I will post more pictures when we are done! 

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