Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Making Our Space Work

We have a very tiny home and when it comes to wall space there is even less.  Trying to figure out how to do school and where to do school is sometimes a challenge. Most of it happens in this tiny space right here. Our one room living room / dining room.  Nothing Fancy.  

Since our wall space is limited, I've had to come up with other creative means of having supplies right at our fingertips.  Here is one example - our world and US maps.  We just didn't have wall space for these, except in the kid's rooms, and I didn't want to have to go to the bedrooms every time we needed to look something up.  I saw a table in a photo from Delightful Learning, where she had maps on her table covered in clear vinyl.  I loved the idea.  So one day in Walmart I picked up a large chunk of it for less than $8. (I wanted it pretty thick so it would be durable.) Beau asked me what I was doing with it.  (He always has a certain look on his face that says, uh oh... now what.)  I told him not to worry, "You'll hate it." :)

So we laid the maps underneath, wrapped the plastic over top and stapled it with the staple gun underneath. I personally have loved it.  (You can ask Beau his opinion about it later.)  I love that they are easily accessible, which makes is possible to quickly locate our geographic area we are discussing in history.

I also love watching my kids do random things with it throughout the day. Out of the blue Savannah started to make her own little geography book.  She was locating countries throughout the world, drawing their flags, writing down their capitals, and then listing anyone she knew that served a mission there. I was often asked... do you know anyone that served in a mission in France? Australia? Israel?

They also came in handy when we were doing math and talking about coins.  We ended up finding the matching state for our quarters we were using in counting money. 

They have also make for great discussions and quizzes at dinner time.  We see who knows state capitals, countries or ask who can find a certain town. I am hoping at one point to also bring more current events to the meals, where we can find them on the map and know what is going on in the world.  They can also be used to draw on top of with dry erase markers to show explorers trade routes, the pioneer's trek from Illinois to Utah or other travels.

We also have some of the little animal safari tubes. They could be used to sort animals by climates, continents or countries. You could reenact battles or show where wars were fought with little army or civil war men. There are so many uses, and it makes it so much easier than unrolling the map and then putting it away every time you want to look at it.

Another way to be creative is how to find supplies, curriculum and other resources.  I like to check our local DI (Thrift Store) to see what kinds of gems I can get. One day I found a roll of 12-15 laminated maps of continents and countries around the world.  On the back of most of them has detailed facts. For example on the back of Brazil it had a whole bunch of facts on the Rain Forest. Pictures of the animals, the different layers of the rain forest and other related facts.  What a great resource for $2.50.  We ended up pulling it out last night and Beau asked me where I got them.  When I told him, his reply was "That's why I love you.. these are really cool!"  I also found some great activity books on the human body, some eye witness books on reptiles, and a large volume of stories from around the world. Savannah found it recently has been reading the 500 page book for the last week.  

So if your discouraged about lack of space or resources, be creative and frugal and you might be surprised at ideas you've never thought of before. I'm pretty excited about mine. 


andrewsharyn said...

Love the table!

The Mrs. said...

I love this post! Yes, you're right, you're green is exactly what I am planning! It's fabulous. I love love love the idea of putting maps under vinyl. And DI is pretty much a homeschoolers dream! I try to go a couple of times a month. I plop myself down on the floor and look at every single book title. I really jealous of your map find. That really is a gem!

The Mrs. said...

Sorry. One more question. It looks like you are using K12. How do you like it?