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Gardner Home

GARDNER HOME

When I was a child, I was the one who made pretend worksheets and set up a classroom in my bedroom for my begrudging little sisters. I don’t know why they didn’t want to do my worksheets or sit at a desk after being in school all day. Ha! I however was a VERY willing teacher and a (eh hem) bossy pants.
I like to joke that homeschool is my childhood dream come true. But really, it’s not a joke.
When we first decided to homeschool I started imagining the school room of my dreams. This classroom would have vintage desks and a big chalkboard and a glorious teacher station. I’d have a basket of gold star stickers (of course!), neatly organized shelves and maybe even a class pet! Of course this classroom would also be filled with willing students – sitting at their desks eagerly awaiting my homemade worksheets!

As we settled into homeschool however, things were quite different. I hadn’t set up that classroom yet – that was for the new home – and so I “made do” with our 1,100 sq foot home by being very resourceful. I’d set baskets of learning tools or wooden blocks in any spare corner of the living room floor. My boys bedroom shelves housed beautiful books and craft supplies. Our kitchen cabinet kept playdough, sand trays and children’s kitchen tools. And everywhere we went in our home, there was an invitation to play, learn and explore.

I began to see the blessing of this small space and not having a designated schoolroom.
We started to draw up plans for a new home and people would often ask “are you putting in a homeschool room!?” To their surprise, I would tell inquirers “no we are not building a schoolroom.”

In our new home, I took from the resourcefulness I had learned in our cozy little house. I designed our home with the intention of doing school anywhere and everywhere in the house. Most every room has resources that spark curiosity and learning. The kitchen drawers have dishes and tools in reach of young children. Bedrooms have bookshelves full of books. Living spaces: baskets of open ended toys or learning materials, etc. Even the car is packed with a bag of supplies!
Below are a few examples of how we have created an environment of learning in our home.

Our central school space is our dining room. We acquired an old chalkboard from a church house and hung it front and center in our home. This board is adorned with most everything we do and love; our schedule, tasks, pictures, lessons and preschool crafts proudly pinned up by little hands.
Below is our handy cart that houses our daily resources; math manipulatives, current read-a-louds, scriptures and journals, pencils and chalk.
And most importantly is our picture of Jesus Christ to remind us of the true purpose behind everything we do; Him.

I have 5 children so there is always a little one or two running about when I’m working with the olders or completing my own tasks. I like to create spaces for the children that invites exploration.
Whether it’s a book case, basket of open ended toys, art on the walls or nature finds placed on shelf, it is all there to spark curiosity!

We were gifted this vintage school desk (my schoolroom vision isn’t ALL lost!) and it has become the favorite place for my two older boys to do their independent studies. I hung a map, a plant and an old typesetting tray (to hold our nature finds) and this little corner feels like heaven! Many a day have I watched with joy as my boys journal about their adventures while younger siblings adoringly observe.

We love to take our schooling to the hills! I keep my trusty bag full of essentials for those days we have errands or just need to get out. Field guides, magnifying glass, paper and pencils. Plus the first aid kit – always the first aid kit!
I toss in a few books & snacks and we are set!
This is probably my most favorite homeschool tool because it represents the blessing of our freedom to take our classroom wherever our hearts lead us!

Homeschool is a beautiful mess. It doesn’t look like the organized classroom I originally envisioned, but so much more wonderful! Homeschool looks like reading a book over pancake breakfast, a basket of instruments dumped out on the living room floor. Blocks and puzzles everywhere. Masterpieces pinned up on the fridge and always a baking mess.
These are the days! We get to set the stage for our little stars. And what an honor that is! 

Randi is a homeschool momma and artist who lives with her husband and five children in the desert of Southern Utah. She has a passion for seeing beauty in the ordinary and sharing that with others. Randi creates artwork that depicts everyday things through the simplicity of lines, and focuses on connection between people, nature, and God. On any given day you’ll find Randi outside with blanket piled with children and books. That’s just how she likes it. Connect with Randi via email rgardnerphotos@gmail.com or see her work at simplewonders.org.

1 thought on “Gardner Home

  1. Great post! I love reading how other families “do” homeschool. I don’t have a separate homeschool room and I’m glad to hear how successful homeschool can be without one.

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