Monday, March 5, 2012

Organizing Our New Home "School"

I really loved seeing this picture circulate Facebook because it was how our new bookshelf looked. I very often feel like the only one: the only homeschooler, the only African-American, the only Muslim, the only one who likes Butter Pecan  Häagen-Dazs . I am sure that I am not the only one in any of those categories, although, it always seems that way whatever group I am in. So when I see something or find someone that lets me know that I AM NOT ALONE, I get super excited, and this was one of those times.

My actual bookcase looks like this, it started out as two bookcases about 4 years ago and when we moved here with an IKEA less than 30 minutes away we bought 4 more to fill up the wall. And we love it, one stop, no more trekking all over the house to find a school book, reading book, or dictionary.

I do have each shelf organized by subject, our main subjects are Islamic studies, Math, Language, African-American, History, Geography, Science, Self-Help, and it goes on. The books that we are working with have a color coded sticker on the page that each child is on. Recently,we took a trip down to Georgia where we are landlords and have many of our belongings in storage in the attic. Well, we found a couple of treasures, books that we have not seen for over seven years including all my Montessori Teaching albums and great African American history books. I have made all five Montessori Teaching Albums for 3-6 olds and now I actually get to use them for Little A. I have many other manuals for different subjects and they are all located on the bottom shelves of the bookcases. 

I started working on transforming our homeschool from tan to GREEN, from paper to reusable material. This means I wanted to utilize stuff I already have and not buy a whole bunch of new things. I also wanted to create material that can be used over and over again. This is one reason why I have come full circle back to Montessori after trying many other curriculum, because many items in a Montessori classroom are reusable. Although, we are using other curriculum also like Saxon, for test, I have either put them in a sheet protector or laminated them, so my children can use a wet erase marker. All of this has cut down on our paper and ink usage, which saves the environment and saves us money.

I also did not buy many new thing, reusing the desks that I have had since Big A was little. And this children's cubby that was on it's last leg, we bought it used 8 years ago in California and the movers at first told me they would not bring it. Fortunately, for us the mover had a change of heart, he wrapped it up tight and added some screws. God is Great because it divinely fits right in the bar nook with only centimeters to spare on top, which gives it the support it needs on the side.

I have found these boxes from Dollar Tree that are perfect for my Montessori material, like the Phases of the Moon work. They also work great for the Montessori Language: pink, blue, & green series.

We hung our white erase board in the kitchen which we use to write the menu, All About Spelling, Calendar and general lesson work.

Downstairs, we have more space for learning with a computer, board games, manipulatives & puzzles.

Of course, we can take our learning outside where I personally rather be. My Beloveds have used the area: building with fallen branches/logs and playing in the mud. It is a work in progress, but I love our new space and we are starting to get some great learning done!

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With all my love & du’as,
Kamilah Munirah Sayyidi

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  1. Al salam alaykum
    First of all, I LOVE any butter pecan ice cream, so you are not alone in that! Second, I love the book shelf. We were just looking at Ikea for some more shelving. My husband is a teacher so between his books and supplies, Islamic books, and all our newly acquired home school stuff (which I'm sure will increase dramatically over the years) we are out of book shelf space. And, thanks for the dollar store storage tip. That's a great way to keep things organized without going over budget trying to find everything at Target.

    1. Walaikum AsSalaam Cecilia, Well we will just have to set up a playdate that includes butter pecan ice cream. Love to see how your bookshelf turns out!

  2. It is a wonderful space! I like your organization style. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for visiting! I am always inspired by your two blogs.

  3. As Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
    Masha Allah, I would just like to say I have been following your blog for quite some time now. I appreciate all the links and tips, and missed you during your hibernation. I am happy you are back and settle and pray that Allah swt grant you a speedy shifa. Ameen!! When I first saw this post I thought it was my old house. I just moved and we are presently living out of boxes. Seeing this post lifted my spirits a bit and made me remember what it feels like to a tranquil serene space and so it is my goal to turn our new space into just that. I have the exact same shelves from Ikea (and a lot of the same books) my hubby took them apart in the move because he didn't think they would survive the trip. So I was waiting for him to put them back up. Instead I have inspiration and will put them up myself that is how they got up before and if I don't the books will live in the boxes until who knows seems like.

  4. Walaikum AsSalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

    You are quite sweet, thank you! I totally understand about the bookshelves, I motivated Humble Dad to help me, by starting to put it together in front of him and saying I could really use some extra muscles in this. Blessings to you and your family.

  5. Assalamu Alaikum,

    MashaAllah great learning spaces! I also bought 4 ikea shelves for my books :) it really does help keep everything organized in one spot alhumdulillah


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