Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Learning Place

~Welcome to our Learning Place!~
Our Learning Place...
Begins with a Learning Base,
Filled with Learning Spaces,
And sweet Learning Faces!
How's that for a silly rhyme?  I think I'm a bit punchy from my school planning. Well anyway, here we are preparing for another school year to begin!  We have been working hard this summer to organize and purge our home from as many "things" as possible.  So why does it feel like we still have way too much "stuff"?  I suppose when you have a large family and you add home education on top of it, the piles of papers, books, and clutter are inevitable and rather never-ending....  However, since we started educating children at home about 6 years ago, I think this summer yielded the best results for getting ourselves "set up" for the new school year.  I know the orderliness will ebb and tide but it sure feels good to start out right.  It's been worth the time it has taken to get things organized!  You can view a previous post (with photos) as we were cleaning and working toward this goal.
I know it's fun to take a peek inside other places, so enjoy the tour!
This is a view of our wall of resources (wall opposite from the window in the above photo)
~Hubby built these shelves last year to help us organize all of our learning materials~
(Wish I had taken a "before" picture)
Being a new blogger (as of Lent' 10), this is the first time posting photos of our School Room/Learning Base. My husband designed this room the first year we started schooling at home.  We had a large cathedral ceiling in our downstairs living room.  Hubby came up with the idea of making a room over the living room with all of the extra "space" way up there.  It was a long 8 months of messy (stressful!)construction but it's been a space that's evolved into a cozy room upstairs that's been put to great use!  Not only did the construction end up carving out our School Room (Learning Base)/Play Room,  it also produced a small office, (hubby and I share) and a bathroom, all within one area!  The whole place is extremely functional.  We just added the shelves a long the wall last year, as seen in the photo above.  In the process of the original re-model, we were even able to save the top (2) windows and converted them from decorative to operable (opening & closing) windows within the learning base and office.  This is a view of our backyard from the learning base window.

Now you may be asking "What is all of this Learning Base business about?"  Yes, it's a school room and a play room but it's mostly a Learning Base because that's just what it is...A Base.  We don't even come close to spending all of our learning time here during the day.  It's definitely a school room of sorts but the truth is that our learning, even within this room, is much different than a class room.  Yes, we do some of our learning here but as most home educators know, we rarely stay in one place!  At our house, we end up moving all around, (inside, outside and around different rooms) depending on the time of day and what's going on with babies, toddlers, teens, etc.  For example, our bed (Mom & Dad's) often ends up being the cozy reading place for devotional readings, our 6th grader prefers the dining room table to spread out and complete his math assignments, the back patio is a good place to paint or watch birds, and we often do craft projects around the kitchen table!  Regardless of where we travel through the day, we begin and end our day in the Learning Base, hence the title of Learning "Base".  I must admit that the terms "School Room" and "Play Room" come most naturally around here too but I just wanted to clarify the purpose and use!"
  • Regardless of what it's called, we start out here in this Learning Place each morning with prayer and spiritual reading (Bible or Saint). We created a shelf that serves as our prayer table in the learning base. (Different from our home altar in our living room)  We also store bible, saint books, rosaries, etc. nearby for easy access (key to success!)  
  • The prayer shelf is elevated so we kneel in prayer at the foot of the cross...

~This is a close-up of our Family Prayer Box, kept on the prayer shelf~
(It's just a shoe box decorated with Catholic wrapping paper)
In here, we place all of our prayer intentions and lift them up in prayer each day!
We have found this an extremely useful prayer tool.
It has provided an active opportunity for all of us in our family prayer life...
Mostly, it helps us "remember" to write down the names of people whom we promised our prayers and to actively pray for them!   We review the names each week and call them out loud.

These resource shelves are located to the left of the prayer shelf...
I keep all most of our saint books and devotional reading here.
You may notice that all of the toddler puzzles, games, and manipulatives are on the top shelf...
This keeps dear angel baby from getting into them 24-7 and makes them "special" for learning periods!
~This is what works best for our family~
I keep a little step ladder in my office to get things down, as needed.

  • Each child has their own work station.  Hubby built in 2 desks for our kids to rotate through.  Each one has a cork board, drawers, and cupboard to store their books.  They can also use this area to decorate with their art work, holy cards,  and favorite things.  It's been wonderful to have this base work station for all items to come from and go back to!  ("Ideally" each day)
This is Princess's 3rd Grade Learning Space

    This is Army Dude's 6th grade Learning Space
  • Currently we have 3 children schooling at home and a toddler to keep busy.  We set up tables for the 2 youngest children (1st grade and toddler) to use as their learning spaces and to store their books, etc.

  • The children's artwork, coupled with reflections of our faith tend to make up the decor of the room, as you may have noticed!  It's nothing fancy but highly functional, as previously mentioned.
**However, I am SO excited about this little decal that I stumbled upon at the Dollar Tree that reflects our "Family Motto!"  What are the chances of that?  Definitely a God-incidence and the newest addition to our Learning Base this year!

Divine Providence in the Dollar Tree once more!
So, as we move about our day, we always have a base to come back to, store our books, and prepare for the next day.  Like I said before, this is the 'ideal' we strive for!
And the tour continues....
Within our Learning Base we store an American Flag for our morning flag salute.  Since both hubby and I served in the military, we are a very patriotic family!
*Note that we DO have television in our learning base since it also serves as our play room.  Notice the(embarassing) large collection of children's videos and dvd's* However we have strict guidelines for television and electronic games during our school week.  We keep the television covered, as in the photo, and it is off limits during the week, unless a special occasion or need arises!
This is the door into our small office....Peeking in, you can see the small size. 
~Entering the office...This is a picture of my work area, finally tidied up!  The statue of St. Anne with our Blessed Mother (as a child) is one of my favorites and serves as my constant inspiration for home education~
~This is the view from our office window~
My Favorite!
**I truly enjoy admiring our Mary Garden and fountain from above**
I recently started this liturgical filing system, by month...
The labels are not very pretty but it has been very helpful for organizing things I have printed out and collected for feast days and other liturgical celebrations.
To the left of my computer is an area where I file other "misc" things...
Directly behind my desk and tucked in this little space is my resource area where I keep an extra bible, concordance, catechism, books on home education, parenting, etc.  This is a work in progress!  I would like to clear the area on top and make it more of a reflection or meditation table.  Not sure if I'll get to it before school starts!????
Moving back in to the learning base/school room...This is our Paper Station!  
~It has helped us to have one area to keep different kinds of paper to choose from~
"Exciting," right?  Oh the little things that bring us joy!
And a few more misc. photo angles...

Well, this is the end of the tour...Hope you've enjoyed a peek into our world!
~Now just looking forward to the sweet faces to fill our spaces~
Click here to join in or take a peek at other fun school rooms!

Not Back to School Blog Hop
Thank you to Lena at JOYfilled Family for sharing this information!


  1. Very nice. I hope one day I will be able to finish my school room/ family room. I am not a homeschool Mom, yet. But I want it to be a room where we can meet and pray, do crafts, learn about the Saints, and where I can go and sit down and enjoy a quiet time in the word of God.

  2. Wow. how awesome! I only hope to make my school room even half as organized as all this!! Congrats and great job!

  3. Love your school room! Gotta love a handy husband. I especially like your vinyl wall quote. Definitely a God-incidence! (I didn't notice it the first time I read your post.) Did you get it recently? I would love to pick up one (or two or three...) I’ve been working on making my own vinyls but can’t pass up an already made one.
    Have a blessed school year!
    Pax Christi - Lena

  4. Rosario and Chrissy~Thanks for stopping by! Lena~ Just found the vinyl wall quotes this morning after Adoration...definitely a God-incidence after praying about our school year! They also had another one that said "God Bless our Home" and some beautiful (small) monogram-type letters. Hope you find them at your Dollar Tree! If not, let me know. Blessings to you all as you start your year:) Tiffany

  5. I like your icon of Christ over the window.


  6. I love your room! So beautiful and functional at the same time. So many beautiful reminders of our faith sprinkled throughout your room. The prayer shelf is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love it! Your window is gorgeous and I love the stenciling above it (both the artistic part of it and verse). I also love your wall of shelving and bins. It's perfect!

  8. Tiffany, what a great school room you have!!! I am preparing a post on homeschool rooms, and I will definitevely mention yours!! Congratulations!!!

  9. Wow! This in incredible! I found that the older they get, they need their own "private" and "quiet" spaces/desks. The two older girls have their desks in their bedrooms. The younger two are so wiggly and distracting.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. THAT is one spectacular schoolroom, so bright, so organized!

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. beautiful functional and awesome school room ! I love all the personal touches. I love the prayer shelf. what inspiration, and aren't husabdns wonderful to carry out our visions.

  12. Hi, there! Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello last night!!

    I love the song that plays on your blog ... when I started my blog last year and had a playlist on it, that song was usually at the top of the list!! LOVE it!! ;)

    Your schoolroom is a dream ... love all your space!!!

    Hope you have a wonderful year!

  13. Stunning!
    Thank you for giving us a tour and lots of ideas!
    Many Blessings,

  14. Wonderful use of space! Love the workspaces that you hubby built the kids.


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