Alright 2013. You’re here and we’re ready for you. New beginnings. Time to take a look around and see what’s working and what needs to be changed, in our family rhythm and in our home. And what better time to do it than when we are all full of hope and excitement for the new year.
We have decided not to send Jack (3.5yrs) back to preschool this year. While he did enjoy it there, it wasn’t quite the experience we were hoping for. He didn’t have as much opportunity to explore his interests there as we would have liked and so it seemed to hinder the flow of our week in many ways as opposed to compliment it.
So to celebrate, in a way, our official leap into homeschooling, there were a few things that needed to change; we would need a new weekly rhythm and our play areas could do with a dash of fresh inspiration. I do love a little reorganising, everything feels so reenergised and new.
We love our playroom. But you know how things can get a little stale after a while? Well that’s how I was feeling about this space. That, coupled with all the generous gifts Jack and Sarah (20 months) received at Christmas, well it was time for a change.
Here’s what it looks like now. I took out the couch making more room for play. Jack and Sarah play a lot of dress-ups and dance, now there’s plenty of room to move around without bumping into each other.
I had a few specific changes I wanted to make; I want to make storytelling and song a part of our everyday, as well as focus Jack’s passion for music a little more and try to build on his interests. So I brought his drum kit into the room and made a shelf for instruments. This way we can more easily incorporate music into our play and story time.
I also want to introduce the children to more whimsical fairytale type stories to ignite their imagination more. We have many non-fiction books as well as simple children’s stories but I really want to introduce them to mermaids and knights and wizards and dragons and all those wonderful magical characters.
So I have added a couple of new books to the shelves (you can see them in the first picture) next to our gnomes and story stones. I’m looking forward to seeing where Jack goes with these. Oh and if you have any recommendations for wonderful whimsical stories I would love to hear them. It’s a little tricky trying to find stories which aren’t silly animated ones.
Our nature table is still one of our favourite areas. I like it in this new space though, next to the shelves, funny how a simple move can reinvigorate interest, isn’t it? This year I hope to start a nature journal with Jack. He has been journalling at night for a little while now and so is familiar with the process. He enjoys recalling what he has done during the day and drawing pictures in his journal. He is also able to practice writing by labelling his drawings.
This has been such a great way for Jack to learn to write, it’s purposeful and relevant. He is labelling his drawings, choosing the words, he is interested and wants to learn. Really can’t ask for more than that.
I think we’ll keep the nature journal near the nature table, that way he can use it after a bush walk to record the things that he saw and found.
The block corner of course remains. This is Jack’s favourite activity at the moment and Sarah is starting to stack blocks too now. None of our blocks have been expensive. The coloured ones and the window blocks are Imaginarium brand from Toys ‘r’ Us and the plank blocks are a generic Jenga game I picked up from K-mart for $5.
The mirror and baskets are also from K-mart. The mirror was about $12 and the baskets were $3 for the round and a little more for the square one (I can’t quite remember). So it doesn’t have to cost a lot to put together a block corner.
Lastly, I made this simple mobile from velum paper. Now I know you all have some scrapbooking paper hanging about. It was so so simple, just cut into strips and then sew one after another down the middle. Easy. I got the idea from Christie who originally got the idea from here (there’s a simple tutorial too). I love it and it spins so beautifully in the breeze.
So this is our playroom. We have a light panel and the OHP in a fabulous cardboard cubby which my husband made and a few baskets of dress-ups too. The kids and I are loving it.
I love these kinds of New Year’s resolutions. The kind that you can just get in and do while your motivation is still strong. I’m looking forward to hanging out with the kids in there a lot more.
Next up, a new weekly routine. We have all 5 days to ourselves now. I’m looking forward to time for ongoing projects, bush walks, baking, art and gardening. As well as storytelling and song. It’ll be nice.