Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seven days in the laundry room makes one weak

I think today I will spend knitting. The rains have begun, so it's a lovely dark, wet day with chilly floors and a sleepy dog, and I am working on Elijah for my sister's son. I think I might do some spinning, too, and maybe a little cross-stitch. I'll just stop by for a half hour and visit with all my projects, see where everybody's at.

When it comes to doling out the relaxation, I think I am more owed than owing. See how my laundry room looks?

I put a gallon of paint on the wall. Unfortunately, I need another gallon to deal with the other half of the room, so my photos all resolutely face the one direction.

This room is also my 'school room' and though some people on this earth have lovely school rooms with lots of coordinated colours and tasteful wicker baskets in cubbies, I am stuck in the wretched teal laundry room, with some kind of weird rubber floor and no practical (or beautiful) storage options.

But we work with what we have, so I'm slowly transforming this space to be more hospitable. We need to WANT to be in there.

More updates will come. My next priority (after today's binge of laziness) will be getting a roll-end of carpet for the laundryschoolroom. It'll make a big difference.

When I started homeschooling (FOUR years ago, good grief) I resisted all pretense to formality. I didn't like the preoccupation that other HS mothers had with their schoolrooms. It felt like playing, to me - like they were more interested in lining up pretty glass jars with paintbrushes in, than they were in facilitating their children's natural tendency towards discovery.

It was a 'baby' and 'bathwater' thing.

Now, with Charlotte starting Grade Four, I've noticed a few things. Firstly, the higher the grade, the more organisation you need. The simple fact is, there is more to cover. The time commitment is greater, the content is more demanding, the child is more inquisitive and both deserves and can handle more detailed information. A kindergartner can be given an important lesson just by handing them scissors and coloured paper, and reading them "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish". It doesn't keep a nine year-old nearly as busy.

Secondly, the dark, cold, chaotic laundry room just doesn't have the right vibe. The feng shui of the place practically pushes you out of the door physically. It's like a WalMart - the second you walk in, your hips start to hurt, your feet cramp, the fluorescents make your eyelids twitch and you get an irritable headache. That's not good enough for my kids.

Lastly, we keep thinking of it as the 'laundry room'. That is just plain bad prioritising. It can't be 'the laundry room where school happens', it has to be 'the schoolroom where laundry happens'.

So I'm making a schoolroom. It has a map of the world, it has an art line. It has a dictionary and a thesaurus, and a guinea pig. It will have a globe, soon, and a magnetic calendar. It has a weather chart, a planisphere, several compasses and a protractor.

And it will have math, and spelling tests, and hand cramps from writing, and it will have lying-on-the-carpet (when we get one), and listening-to-audiobooks-while-painting, and playing-with-the-guinea-pig, and lying-around-knitting.

So it won't be a place of constriction, or a monument to the mainstream, and it doesn't make me a martinet, or my children droids.

I think I can handle it.


lizbon said...

I love the image of the map-of-the-world, and the dictionary, and the thesaurus. And I think non-fluorescent lighting is the greatest gift one can give to anyone who has to work/study indoors. Those paint jars reminded me that I want to start painting again. And a schoolroom that has laundry machines in it seems like the perfect place for tie-dye and batik lessons. :)

kate said...

Fabulous - I want to come to school there.

Sue H said...

It was so good to come back and read you blog Shan, I had forgotten how inspitational you are. That you can home school your children and still find time for your knitting and other crafts amazes me, and time to write your blog too.

Jadekitty said...

Maybe if we had done school in our laundry room, the dirty laundry might have been corraled.

Creating is never something I would call laziness. Maybe procastinating though :)

Ames said...

Amen to Jadekitty. Lazy you are not. Our problem is not that we are lazy. The problem is we do not have a maid. With a maid we cook devote our time to crafting and schooling. To heck with the cooking and cleaning.

Looking good. Can't wait to see it in real life. Good job!