School Room Tour: 2013-2014


I am going to start this post with the same wry words I began last year’s school room tour: “Take a picture, it will last longer.” Every year, I have the same goal: less stuff, more space. I swear, during our final year of homeschooling there is going to be one lone pencil in this room. The biggest change in here is the addition of color – and not just any color, but the absolute perfect, soft butter yellow. Not too bright. Not too lemony. Not going anywhere near orange or green. Just a warm glow greeting you when you walk in the room. Tom gets all the credit, as he is the entire custodial staff. He did a great job, and honestly any old coat of paint slapped up there would have been an improvement over pock-marked walls that came to resemble dirty pencil shavings by June.

Our house is modest – under 1500 sq. ft. – and I could list complaints a mile long: no storage space, floors that are about 4 inches out of level, ceilings that are not even 7 feet high, 2 electrical outlets per room, 2 non-working fireplaces, a “master” bedroom the size of a small nursery . . . but honestly? I love my house, every square wonky inch of it, and the schoolroom has become my favorite place of all. This was actually the room that never worked. It doesn’t flow with the house and always seemed like it was out of the way. I’m not sure how this is possible, considering there are only 5 rooms total. However, using this room as the schoolroom made everything that was wrong, right. Coming in here still feels separate somehow, and now this is a good thing. The other rooms seem far away, and we can all settle in and get down to business.  Ready for the tour?


This is my space. I scored a new desk ($30) and a new chair ($8.50). All I did was add knobs to the drawers and recover the seat. I moved this bookcase from the upstairs hall and lined it with pretty shelf paper. It holds my planning stuff and all the books and resources for our current blocks. Because my desk is tiny (this was intentional – remember this post?) I put a basket on the floor to hold all the paper that seems to multiply when I’m not looking. I also have monthly folders, my big paper, and a notebook with goals, notes and ideas in the basket as well.


This is the teaching area. I found that little rolling art cart this summer ($10) and it holds all of the art supplies we use with our daily lessons. We use the chalkboard every day and I put those little baskets on the side to hold my erasing towels and chalk – two things that always seem to disappear during lesson time. I want to make a banner to hang between those big scissors, but for now, Jude’s button garlands look really cute. A friend of mine kindly offered to frame the boys’ artwork when I casually mentioned this is something I am incapable of doing. The paintings are stunning in simple white frames. I love looking at them everyday and I know the boys do too.

I made peace with the hulking (but oh-so-useful) armoire by reorganizing the interior and labeling everything. (Love that Martha Stewart line from Staples. LOVE!!) I have grand plans of decoupaging part of the door panels to brighten it up a bit, but that will probably have to wait until December break. For now, everything seems to have a place. The desks are easy enough to push against the wall for when we do movement exercises and beanbag games. (I don’t know why I never thought of this before!) I expect a lot of goodness to happen in this space this year, stay tuned.

14 thoughts on “School Room Tour: 2013-2014

  1. Stella – that is beee-you-ti-ful! I can see why you love coming to this room. I’ve always wanted a designated space for lessons but, alas, I’d have to put a child in the basement and no one seems to want to stay with the cats! all the best,A

    • Two things:
      Let me know when you would like to swap houses. Any day. Any time.

      AND Can’t you get those gnomes to build you a felted schoolroom?!

      We need to catch up. I want to hear how everything is going with you guys.


  2. Sheila, After seeing this post, I now retract every casual remark I have ever made about just doing school at the kitchen table. This room is BEAUTIFUL:) It reminds me of what Barbara said at Taproot – “we are all running a one room school – and we can do it!” I want to come to your one room school. I love that you can move the desks off and do movement on the rug… a great space for breaking out those dance moves:)
    xoxo, Alison

    • Well you want to know what is so funny, I really took your (you and Jean) advice to heart about “changing it up” We do our check in and prelim stuff in here, but then we move to the couch to read (thank you for this!! such a better dynamic that the desks!) and then we have been painting in the kitchen.

      I still do all of Jude’s lesson in here (except for painting).

      It makes a good office as well. Tucked away and all that.

  3. So funny that you’ll be left with just a pencil in the room in the end!!! These photos are so lovely and inspiring. Thanks for sharing as always your process and your feelings.

    Framed kids’ artwork, a small desk, plans and well-chosen resources (my paper multiplies overnight too!) and the cheerful, warm, butter yellow…I can feel the goodness that is going to happen there!

    My new desk area in our small house is a favorite spot of mine too! I love transforming beautiful new spaces in our cozy home. I just bought a new little rolling cart that has file drawers in the bottom – that’s my new favorite piece of furniture and it’s perfect next to my small desk. I still have a few paper piles to file though!!!

    Love you,

    • I know you are running out RIGHT NOW to get those Martha labels from Staples!!

      I want to paint my whole house this color.

      So looking forward to Saturday. It feels like a treat.

        • Hey Barbara!
          The idea of moving around came from the advice of Jean and Alison during one of their sessions.
          I have been quoting your “one room schoolhouse” concept – it’s a good one.
          Hope you and Quimby are well.

  4. Love your room. I’ve been back a hundred times to marvel at it. I even double clicked the picture and looked at it big (; Love. It reminds me of a pottery barn or similar ad — that one that you say “Oh this is so lovely. Nobody can actually live like this, but I like to look at this with hot coffee in my mug.” But, wait, you do! And I actually know you xoxo It is so beautiful.

    This room is so expansive — and looks like it makes room for so much possibility.

    Interesting that your room and the room of Still Parenting are my two All Time Favorite school room pictures. They both shine forth Possibility and Opportunity — and yet they are totally different. But I guess that’s my own quirk — joy in the extremes (:

    Thanks for sharing your world in such a pleasant, get more hot coffee in my mug, kind of way.

    PS. I know you have had an ongoing feud with the “espresso” (; cabinet. However, I thought that your cabinet, blackboard and Sarah Jane print frame all balance together beautifully. xo

    • Thank you as always, for your words. The shot was taken with the panoramic feature (LOVE that iPhone!) so the room appears much bigger than it really is.

      I have a balancing photograph to lead with tomorrow. Be sure to check back for a good laugh.

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