Old School Cool

Yesterday was the first day of third grade for us.

(THIRD grade? My boys are growing up so fast!)

One of my goals as a homeschool mom is to make learning as fun as possible. Even geography. And yes, even math.

And since we spend so much time in this room, I figure it should be both fun and functional. So I’ve been feverishly working in our school room the last couple of weeks.

Because I’m a vintage girl at heart, my theme was a no brainer:  vintage schoolroom.

Here is our newly enlarged chalkboard:

Lots of storage – check out those globes. The biggest and smallest were from Goodwill, $5 and $1, respectively).

More storage. Vintage books and a few toys mixed in to keep things interesting:

Here is a close up of the perpetual calendar in the upper right, $2.50 from Target in the dollar spot:

Vintage chairs and desks – complete with brand new school supplies:

Note that I had to turn the desks around to face the front. Professional teachers already knew that two boys facing each other wouldn’t work – it was just too distracting. Too many giggles and bodily function noises…ahh, life with boys and eight-year-old boy humor…

Classic-style clock ($10 from Walmart, but alas, I keep forgetting to put a battery in it) and an old-fashioned schedule:


So there you have it – some of the elements that make it look a little bit vintage. All done on a very small budget. But all three of us are happy to have such a nice space to learn. Even if we are studying math:)


13 Best Back-to-School Organizing Tips

This post comes from the ultra-talented Maria Gracia of Get Organized Now. I receive her free weekly newsletter and am also a fan of her monthly organizing checklist. Though not all of the tips in the following article apply to our family because we homeschool, there is a lot of organizing wisdom that I thought I’d pass along to all of you. Enjoy!

Where did it go? Why was it so short? I’m speaking of summer vacation and getting back into school. Each year it seems to go by more quickly.

Here are our 13 best back-to-school tips to make it a fun, relaxing, productive, and organized school year.

1. First Things First.

Schedule all the medical tests and immunizations first thing as required by your child’s school. As school opening nears, the doctors are going to have less and less appointment times open.

2. Check for Clothing.

Try on outfits from last year to see what still fits. Make any needed purchases now. If your child wears uniforms, place your orders now so they arrive in time.

3. Work out Lunches.

If your children don’t have school luncheon programs, sit down with them to work out a healthy schedule of meals you can brown bag for them that they will eat and enjoy. Prepare lunches the night before if possible so your kids can grab and go.

4. Start School Bedtimes Now.

Start having the children go to bed earlier by 15 minutes each night. When school starts, they won’t be sleep deprived from being up too late.

5. Get Organized for All the Paper.

Make an individual file folder for each child so they can put any paperwork for school inside, specifically schedules and paperwork that need to be signed and returned. If there are little ones, help them place their paperwork into the folder. It would be a wonderful good habit to start if your kids are just starting school.

6. Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales.

Pick up those great sale items at the local discount stores while the sales are on. There are usually school supply lists in the local stores that carry school supplies. If you’re not sure what to get yet, get the basics–folders, pens, erasers, etc. You can always add the teacher’s requested items later and do a quick, last-minute shopping trip.

7. Going to School Out of Town?

For college bound students, it is more intense to remember things–especially if they will be straying far from home. Make a list and check it twice. Keep in mind that, usually, dormitory rooms are not large! You have to shop smart and find items that have multiple uses whenever possible.

8. Create a Homework Zone.

Determine where each of your children will be doing his or her homework, and how soon after school that homework should be done. Work these details out before school starts, so your kids know what you expect of them. Determine the rules now and write them down. For example, no television and no radio during homework time.

9. Put a Large Family Calendar on the Fridge.

Assign each family member a different dry-erase marker. Each person is responsible for filling in school schedules, after school activities, events, etc. Mom and Dad, please check regularly to ensure there are no conflicts, or to determine how to work around a conflict if necessary.

10. Don’t Forget about Breakfast.

Mornings can be hectic. Work out what you and your family will eat for breakfast the evening before. Have at leave 5 possibilities, so there’s a different, healthy choice each weekday.

11. Make a List of Photo Opportunities and Get Your Camera Ready.

I always try to get shots of the first school day outfit, a teacher/child shot, etc., my daughter and her friends, etc. If you’re a scrapbooker or you love photos, being prepared for these moments is key.

12. Team Up.

Find friends and neighbors whose children go to the same school as your kids. See if you can work out carpool arrangements–you drive the kids one week, your neighbor drives the kids the following week.

13. Aim to Arrive Early.

For at least the first week or two of school, aim to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the bell. Especially for younger children, this will give the kids a chance to get acclimated before the majority of the students arrive.

By Maria Gracia – Get Organized Now!™

Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now!™ Idea- Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now!™ Web site, www.getorganizednow.com.

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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