Category Archives: Our Classrom (AKA the Library}

Classroom Reveal 2015-2016

Before I take you on a tour of our schoolroom, which I prefer to refer to as “the library” I will introduce you to the cast of characters here at CandL HomeLearning.

  • Curly, our oldest son, will soon be 17 years old. He’s a Junior this year, but he’s also enrolled in a class at the nearby Community College for Dual Enrollment.
  • Larry, our second oldest son, is 15 years old. He’s a Freshman this year, and he’s excited to rise to the challenge of taking accelerated courses.
  • Mo, our third oldest son, just turned 13 years old this summer, and he’s looking forward to tackling 7th grade head-on and so far he’s risen to the challenge.
  • Li’l Bro, our youngest son, turned 10 years old this summer, and he’s ready to be a 4th grader. He’s still trying to figure out where he fits in best, whether tagging along with his almost-twin sister or wanting to be with the big boys too.
  • Li’l Miss, our oldest daughter, is 9 years old but just 4 months younger than Li’l Bro, and she’s excited to continue learning in 4th grade this year.
  • Li’l Bit, our youngest daughter and the baby of the family, is 5 years old, and she couldn’t be more excited about being a Kindergartner this year and being “in real school” with her brothers and sister.


These wonderful T-shirts were designed by Mo and Li’l Miss, and we’re really happy with the way they turned out after ordering them custom on-line. Some of the biggest kids decided they’d rather not wear them on the “same day” as their siblings, but they were gracious enough to pose for a photo for me.

As my students enter our library, which is where 75% of our bookwork, as I like to call it, is done, they can see our rules at the top of the door. They are as follows: Continue reading


A Walk Around Our Library {A.K.A. The Schoolroom}

We are so blessed to have a room dedicated to school. I know the thoughts are mixed on this, but for us with six children I’m so thankful we have a place to land. We don’t always stay in the room for every subject or every assignment, of course, but we do use this room A LOT every day, including Saturdays and Sundays.

I call it the library and our one-room schoolhouse!

Without further ado, here’s a look around the room from a wide-angle viewpoint.


This photo was taken panoramic from the end of the room next to our supply shelves looking toward the front with our large window and 15-foot-long bench seat! That spot gets used A LOT too as the sun comes over our home and doesn’t flood the window until late afternoon as the sun is going down. I love curling on this bench with a good book and a few little ones crowded around me (and sometimes some furry friends too). Continue reading


Getting Organized! School is in Session on Monday!

I have had a LOT of piles going on in our library … piles of books, piles of notebooks, piles of trash bags, piles of NEWLY purchased school supplies including Ticonderoga pencils! It always feels good to clean out stuff you know you’ll never use again, and it feels good to try some new things and some old faithfuls (like those pencils)! I snagged a pile of spiral notebooks because Office Depot had them for 1 cent! They let me get up to 10 of each color, but I think I ended up with 5 of each.


I started working on our new “I Can Write A … ” board on Tuesday.

I didn’t get to work on it again until today, and I LOVE the way it turned out. Here is a very poor-quality picture of the BEFORE including yet another pile that is now gone as of today!


The resource includes so many writing choices that I didn’t have space to put them all up on the board at one time, but I think that is a good thing! I am still finishing up the notebook with all of the full-size writing helps and templates, but I have it all printed out! I should add Joey doesn’t suggest putting all of the templates in a notebook, but I’m going to *try* it since I have just two students using this! I reserve the right to adjust as needed. 😉 Continue reading


What to Do on A{nother} Rainy Day?

A). I could cry. Literally a river. As I watch our garden inundated yet again with torrential downpours. Just for reference: here’s is our otherwise lovely creek. Except right now it is swollen and way outside its banks. Bummer!

IMG_0191B). Or I could curl up with a good book like these two, which I have never finished but really want to finish.

IMG_2398C). Or I could attempt to clean up this pile that mocks me every single time I enter our library.

IMG_1935D). Or I could get some long overdue things printed like my new Alphabet Page Protector Printable Set and my fantastic new TpT and Blogging Planning Binder and actually display these Number Posters that I created awhile ago and sell in my TpT store.

IMG_0216IMG_0221IMG_2390E). Or I could try to finally finish up a new product I’ve been working on which involves a candy theme and fact fluency. Here’s a little sneak peak!

photo 2F). Or I could do all of the above! I have done some of these things today and yesterday as the rains have continued to fall and fall and fall.

Let’s see. How did I do? Continue reading


Another Post About My Desk

How is that for a hook?

Yes I have rearranged my desk again. Actually, I never really arranged it. Until now. It has looked like this … well usually messier … than this. For nine months.

Not bad for nearly one year since we purchased our new home, and nine months since we moved in. Mind you, things weren’t finished when we moved in (and still aren’t), but the library was a top priority and was *mostly* finished.


But my desk. That is another story. The word piles comes to my mind. A fairly accurate description actually. Workspace would definitely not be an accurate description of my desk these last nine months.

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Setting Them UP for Success!

My goal this year in classroom/library set-up is “Setting them UP for success!” from the moment our students enter the room!



I hope I have achieved that through some of the ways I have set up our classroom, which I call the library because our family uses it for much more than “school.” I am sharing some ways I have set our classroom up for success below!

1. Each of our students has a shelf for their books. At the end of the day, they know where they are supposed to go and have hopefully placed them there. For those books that are shared by some, their is another shelf and they are replacing books as they finish. While some books are for individual students, others are shared by multiple students. It is good to practice sharing, even as older students! Continue reading


A Peek Into Our Morning {Work}

I am so excited to say that the newly-revamped Page Protector Printables Bundle 1 is NOW the Bright Beginning Binder!

I will share about how we’re using this resource below, and I hope you might see some ideas you could use in your own homeschool or classroom!

Here’s a peek of my students hard at work in their Bright Beginning Binders with our beautiful bulletin board in the background and our Word Work board to their right!


I am so excited about our new Bulletin Board. It includes our Calendar Time area, a Where Am I? area where I’ll do some gentle instruction in geography, and finally the Math Minute where for now I have some coin posters that I printed 4 to a page for use of a compact space. You can find this awesome resource for FREE at Leanne Price’s TpT store.


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Summer School and Renovation Updates

This may be part of a series.


Ha, ha. The probability of that is not too high.

OK, who am I kidding? When I say the word series, that is usually part one of one. One reason for that right now might be the state of my desk and work space. It still needs quite a bit of tender loving care.


Who knows though? Maybe I will continue updating our summer school pursuits. I hope to anyway! It will at the very least keep me on task.


I have continued organizing our library, which will be used for school and other learning pursuits as well … especially reading. Just look at all those books (and space left) for little people and bigger people to easily access.



Our science and nature cabinet is organized, and everything science-related excepting a few books has been placed on (or in) the cabinet.


Our arts and crafts area is in need of more work. I do have it all set aside and much of it is ready for use, but I need my cool metal cabinets that are at the moment still in the workshop in need of cleaning and some tender-loving care.


Someone really is in summer school as he knows he has no choice but to finish his science curriculum that he has been studying since midway through his 7th grade year (yes, he just finished 8th grade). I will say science is his least favorite subject, the curriculum is very in-depth, and he still scored well on science on his standardized testing. He has just one chapter left and a couple of tests to take.


All in due time I keep telling myself. We did just move 30 miles into the country along with six children and all of our belongings. In addition, we’ve been renovating our 3,000-square-foot home (that was still original to circa 1976) as well as finishing a 2,700-square-foot space in the basement, which includes two bedrooms, a full bath, a kitchenette and a living space. Here’s a sneak peek for those who keep asking for continued renovation updates.

*The Toy Room* (out of sight and they are out of their minds to have these toys again after them being packed for more than two months!*

*A view from the inner door coming in from the garage area; you can see the big boys’ bedrooms at the far end of the room*

*LEGO zone*

I am really hoping also this summer (or what is left of it; seriously, what happened to June???) to spend some extra time with Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro on reading and language. And of course, what do they want to do? Math of course. Sigh.



So, we mixed it up and started with language, which I have no pictures of because I needed to be that involved. Math was their reward, and they loved it thus more photos!

Speaking of rewards, I love Pin*terest. Who doesn’t? But anyway, an idea inspired me to use an OLD metal hanging thing I have to create our own behavior chart.


And yes, I intend to have clips for EVERY student in my room! I don’t often have behavior (or attitude) issues from our oldest two but I do have expectations and have no problem clipping them down if needed (or up when warranted).


I like the way it turned out. It needs a little something on the top, and I need to find an orange clip and a yellow clip or something similar. I tried it out on Friday during a Summer School session, and it worked like a charm!

Beside our behavior chart, I have hung up our world maps, one large one, one smaller one that shows countries under persecution, and one that is in Chinese characters.


In language, we tried out a “new” used book I found at the curriculum sale: Preparing to Build by Rod & Staff Publishers. I was able to get two Level 2 students books as well as one teacher book for $15. It will definitely be worth that, and we’ll use it at least four days a week.

After a lesson in “What Is a Sentence?” with some exercises after, we tried out another pinterest-inspired idea: number cubes.


I can see so many uses for these dollar*tree finds (3 of the square plastic tubs for $1), but on this day I put three dice in each of them. I asked them to shake them up and then add up the three numbers. I allowed them use of their abaci, but they really didn’t need them. It was fun to see their abilities even after being away from formal math for a couple of months.

“Mommy, 5 + 5 is 10, so 5 + 5 + 4 must be … 14!”

“Mommy, I know that 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 because I can skip count my 3s! 3, 6, 9 and that is 3 groups of 3.” Sounds a lot like multiplication, doesn’t it?


I love it when they make these associations, and I love it that our math style of learning encourages them to pursue this instead of just come up with an answer. I could see using these math cubes for place value work as well as reading multiple-digit numbers along with other possibilities. I am making each of our 2nd graders math and language cubbies with manipulatives such as the number cubes in them ready to go each day. I hope to utilize many hands-on approaches.


I will be *hopefully* sharing more of our summer school learning. I am officially starting us back to school for 2013-2014 the first week of August. Between various camps, moving and renovations, I haven’t had any time to plan and prepare for this coming school year. I finally just gave myself the green light to relax and realize that our children are still learning every day with their incessant reading, daily nature walking/creek jumping/hiking/exploring, math in the everyday and helping to care for our animals as well as experimenting with a very late garden (for this area).


Oh and watching turkeys walk across our backyard as we relax with a book on the back porch!



Pinterest-Inspired Workspace!

I wasn’t sure it could be done, but I saw the idea of using two Closet*maid 9-cube Cubeicals and an upcycled tabletop to make a workspace for two and had to try it! Besides, they were on sale last week at TarJay!


I needed a larger space for our two second graders to work this year. Bless them they have been working at a small table my Dad built our oldest son years ago. The table is still nice, but they outgrew it awhile ago. Now that same little table has a new purpose: a tot school spot for our three-year-old DD. I need to work on her cabinet (e.g. trays to go inside and new inserts for doors of corkboard/magnet/chalkboard?). She is already showing lots of interest in learning through play!


Enter Pinterest for that new space for our rising second graders.
Plus two 9-cube organizers from Tarjay (I got mine on sale last week; not sure they are worth full price).
Plus a tabletop Grammy found at a Habitat for Humanity store.

Two bar stools with cushions that will be coming from our old house.
And some manual labor (Grammy and I put the 9-cubes together while Papa and the Prez stabilized it all so our children can work safely).

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