Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Where Do I Put All The Books?!

I've been asked several times about how I arrange all of our books.  We have A LOT of books.  Several years ago, I collapsed on the floor of our school room (at that time we had space for one, alas no longer) because I couldn't find a book I needed right then, the baby had pulled a couple of shelves of books onto the floor, and it had otherwise been a rough day.  I knew at that point I needed a system.

(Note that I took these pictures in real time.  I did not clean up things for you, or in anyway make them look pretty.  It was either a less than perfect blog post or none at all.)

Here are our kids/homeschool bookshelves.  They are the Billy bookshelves with extender from Ikea and I love them. (Click on any picture to enlarge and see detail.)
I decided to use those colored dots, that are sometimes used at yard sales, on the spines of the different genres of our books.  That way I could easily see if a book was on the wrong shelf.  So what follows is my system and it is so simple that it works and is easy to keep up with.

First up are our religion books.  We use pink dots for those.  One shelf is chapter books, and one shelf is picture books.

Science is yellow and has three shelves. (And wow, my boys are not great at reshelving books!)
Board books are light blue, and really don't need dots, but I was on a roll.
Green are our liturgical year books.  These only get pulled out for the book basket when it's time.
Orange are chapter books.  I briefly did another color for those in a series, but they really should all just be orange.  I shelve those in a series next to each other. I am running out of room for these books and they are taking over another shelf.
Poetry is blue, which is the same color for folk and fairy tales, because they used to be on the same shelf.  I should have given them their own color to start with.
History is red.
Again, folk and fairy tales are blue.  I keep them separate from other picture books, because I sometimes am specifically looking for one of these books.
Picture books are purple.  I try to group like books together (Little Golden Books, Beatrix Potter), but they don't always stay that way.  As long as they are on the right shelf, it's not too hard to find what I'm looking for.
I also keep a shelf for our music type books (I have another shelf in our front room that I'll show in a minute).  Another shelf is for readers and (what I call) Nature Lore. Up above are art portfolios, Mommy's It's a Renoir, and other randomness.
School books not in use, plus dictionaries and my Collier Junior Classics.
More homeschool books....

Because we do Morning Time at our dining table, I like to keep those books close to me.  I store them in this hutch (which I did not clean up for you, this is real life people!).

I keep Morning Time Binders next to it, and just had my dear, wonderful husband install my new white board above it all.  He loves me.  :)
My little boys keep their school books out on this shelf in our living room.  Our book basket is there too.  They each have a desk in the main rooms where they do school and I can keep watch over them.

Each of the big kids has their own book shelf in their room, where they have personal books, as well as their school books.  They do school in their rooms, where it's not so distracting.

...And because I know you are curious what's on Fritter's shelf, my book loving friends. :)

These are the shelves in the girls room.  They keep the craft books in their room as well, as well as their crafting supplies close by. (This just got cleaned up, which is why it looks so organized.  It almost never looks this good!)
The girls' school books.
And more books on their shelves.

Here are the shelves in our front room, where we keep the more "grown up" books (although my kids read things off of these shelves as well).  The bottom left shelf has more music books.

I hope that is helpful to see how I organize our books!  Happy shelving!!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Homeschool Book Stacks 2020-2021

 For reference, this year my kids completed 8th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade, along with a preschooler and a toddler.  This has been a year of so many challenges and I'm so proud of my kids for all of the hard work that they've put in.  And just look at these book stacks! (Click on the pictures to get a more detailed look at the books they've read this year.)

In addition to these book stacks, they've each worked on their timeline books, history narration books, geography narration books, and religion/bible narration books.

We've also done a fair amount of read alouds, as well as completing Election Lapbooks, doing a study of Leonardo da'Vinci and Chopin, and Story of Civilization the Ancient World.  

Not listed are all the audio books we've listened to, including:

Ember Rising by SD Smith
Ember's End by SD Smith
The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum
The Young Carthagian by GA Henty

It's so nice to see all of this and makes me realize we did much more than I thought we did.  I'm so grateful for what homeschooling affords us, especially all the time we get to spend learning together.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Holy Week and Easter

 We had a lovely Holy Week and Easter this year.  After last year, I am so grateful to belong to the parish we do and that we had the opportunity to spend so much time there this past week, especially when so many across the country (and world!) have been unable to.

We spent the first part of the week deep cleaning the home and purging those things we do not need.  I also did the dreaded big clothing swap for all of us and made lists of clothing that must be purchased.  I reminded the kids to make lots of sacrifices to fill up the bean jar (they did a good job!).   In the evenings, we watched The Ten Commandments as a family, finishing it on Easter Sunday.

I also did quite a bit of cooking and prep for our traditional Holy Thursday dinner and Easter.  I tried my hand at Chocolate Babka and it's just as amazing as it sounds.

The girls even put their Calico Critters to work cleaning up the doll house.

Holy Thursday we had an early dinner, did our family feet washing, and sent Dad off to Mass with the older kids.  Ladybug made and decorated this year's lamb cake.  The girls (along with their girls group) were asked to throw rose petals during the Eucharistic Procession.  

We spent quite a bit of time in the church this past week, between extra altar serving practices and Masses.  Again, the girls' Calico Critters reflected what was going on in the family.  The girls made vestments for their Critters, and torches and St. Stephen Guild medals for the "altar servers".

I signed up for a middle of the night adoration shift and brought my girls along.  It was very moving to spend such time with Our Lord on such a holy night.

Very early Good Friday, my husband and Fritter had an adoration hour, my hubby had Porter duty to help guard the church afterwards, and Fritter had altar server training after that.  Then I took the older kids to Stations of the Cross and the Good Friday liturgy where Fritter served.  

Early Saturday morning (before sunrise) I was blessed to attend the Tenebrae service.  I had never attended one before, so when, at the end, everyone began banging their books and pews to show the earthquake and Christ's descent into hell, I was brought to tears. Our faith is such a beautiful thing, I'm so very grateful for it.

When my hubby left Saturday evening with Sunflower for the Vigil Mass, the rest of us turned our home from Lent to Easter!  Purple cloths were exchanged for white, candles were refreshed, the statues were all uncovered, and after the kids were in bed, the baskets were set out, and the bean jar was emptied and filled with jelly beans.  I didn't manage to pick up flowers for our prayer table in time, but thankfully Easter lasts 50 days and I have plenty of time!

Easter morning, the kids were up early (even Sunflower, who had gotten home at 2am!) and we prepared our simple but yummy Easter breakfast.  Egg casserole, berries, and Ukrainian Poppy-seed Cake were gladly feasted on.  Afterwards, baskets were gone through, and then we raced to get everyone ready for Easter morning Mass.

The Church was just so beautiful, with all the flowers arranged just so, the joyous Easter songs sung, and everyone in their best.

Happy Easter from our family to yours!  He is truly risen as he said!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!