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Not Back to School Blog Hop

The following photos are taken for the Heart of the Matter Not Back to School Hop – it is School Room Week. This week we are to share where we do our homeschooling.

I’m going to go over the new stuff first. Satori loves to write so much that we actually made a Writing Center in our Great room just last week so she has easy access to writing materials. We’ve moved all her writing and handwriting lessons down here. We’ll have plenty of paper, blank books, note-cards, and pens/pencils for her to write with here. I’ll probably add a children’s dictionary and writing prompts/activities later this year. She’s only 5, but she’s got a great interest in writing, she’s writing a book as I took this picture, and her latest one “I love my muther” is the yellow one propped up on the right. (To view photos in original, large size, click on it.)

Close to the writing area is Satori’s new Art corner, also a highly creative space for her to have fun. We just made this a week ago, and we’re loving it! I really wanted easy access to all her colored pencils, watercolor pencils, markers, pastels and paper so she can create whenever inspiration hits. The views and fresh air are rejuvenating. Under the desk I’ve stored all our art and drawing books and curriculum. For family art activities, we have a big table that we pull out so we all can join in on the fun.

Around the corner is our Nature Nook. We have all our bird identification guides and binoculars in one place, right next to the window to our deck, where we hang all our bird feeders. We get Steller Jay’s, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds, Dark-eyed Juncos, and more here. We’re reading the Burgess Bird Book and all of our resources are here. In the orange basket are other nature identification books, journals and more.

We mostly do our schoolwork in our Learning Loft. Both Satori and Mom have their homeschool computers here. Even though we have desks and tables, we still love to sprawl out on the carpet. The white table with the red chair is a dry erase table with a paper roll/cutter built in, it comes in quite handy. I will be moving the bookshelf to the Reading Room to make some room for a larger dry erase board. I also am trying to get the Trofast shelving, you may notice I already have the Trofast bins stacked and ready. We don’t use the workbox system, but might like to try something like it this year, and the new shelf/bin unit would be perfect.

View from the other side. You can see Mom’s desk. In this desk are most of my teacher homeschool resources books. Current curriculum are stored in the two Desk Apprentices on the main table.

Closeup of the shelf.

Read-alouds are to be done in our Reading Room.

Crafts and messy stuff we do down in our basement Kraft Kitchen. In this room we’re able to store all of our craft supplies in drawers and cabinets, which is good, otherwise our cats would have a field day with feathers and yarn!

I just got some stuff from Ikea that we’ll be using to replace our art display line hangar, as well as some things to store art supplies at-hand so they’re more easy access. These aren’t up yet.

Lastly, here’s the room where I work on the Satori Smiles blog and ship out books I sold. I used to be in this office all the time back when I had a career, now I am in here as little as possible. Not shown, but in this room are all my photography and programming books. I’ll be selling many of these in the months to come to make room for more books.

For more photos of our homeschool rooms, head to our Homeschool Room page.

Not Back to School Blog Hop
It’s time for the Heart of the Matter Not Back to School Hop, and this week it’s Curriculum Week! (Oops, I missed this week by a a few days, but since I wrote this post, I’ll just leave it.) I remember participating in some of these last year. Perfect timing too, as we’ve had a few months of trying out our new First Grade curriculum choices already, so we know how things are going to work out.

This blog post will summarize what we’ll be using for all our First Grade subjects, you can always see them at a glance on the right side of the blog. I’ve also created a First Grade Curriculum page where I can into more detail about our choices and how we plan to implement them. We do lessons Monday through Friday about 2-3 hours a day, year-long with extended breaks a few times a year.

The below schedule is what we’ll be following starting September 2010, even though we started first grade June 2010.

First Grade Curriculum 2010/2011

Reading/Phonics (we wrapped our our main program, Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, August 2010)

  • Explode the Code Workbooks 4-8, great review on everything, humorous worksheets
  • Beyond the Code – to start in September as a trial, may ditch this if we don’t like
  • Various read-alouds – both mom and Satori reading aloud to each other









  • Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 1 – after this colorful (but expensive) program finishes, not sure if we’ll continue with Wordly Wise 2+ (which is not as colorful but is inexpensive), but we’ll definitely be using something. Satori loves learning vocabulary and loves the Wordly Wise K-1 curriculum!


  • Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book Onefor general art
  • Meet the Masters – for artist study, just started this and love it
  • Drawing With Children – for realistic drawing
  • various art project books/websites – we really want to enjoy art this year!

Critical Thinking