Down Home

The SLOCA Blog

Down Home Virtual Tour: The Collins Family

October 24th, 2017

{photos by Danielle Collins}

There was a time back in the day when we did something called “Down Home Tours,” in which parents were able to walk through other SLOCA homes to see and hear how they set up their homeschool areas. Ideas were shared, questions were asked and answered, and they were altogether inspiring and fun!

We don’t have any live tours to offer at this time, but we do occasionally get to take a virtual tour through someone’s home learning areas. These posts are meant to provide ideas for your school organization and work flow, and to help you problem-solve if you’re feeling stuck. We hope they present an interesting look at how people do SLOCA at home, and that they encourage you to get together with other SLOCA parents in person, to see each other’s spaces and share what works for you.

Today, we bring you another in this Down Home Virtual Tour series as we visit the home of Neil and Danielle Collins. Danielle will take it from here!

Welcome to our home! We are the Collins family and this is our 5th year at SLOCA. Our daughter Annabelle is in Intermediate on Track B and this is our homeschool system. Like many of you, we usually move around the house depending on subjects (and moods) so I've included the main areas we use for studying and how each works for us:

Above in the top photo is where most of the fun takes place. I turned a corner of our guest unit into the official "school room.” By going to this designated area, we are able to limit some of the distractions that running a business from home entails (phones, employees, animals demanding to come in and out of the house, etc.) and it allows my husband to work in peace. I am pretty rigid when it comes to start time so we usually head over by 9 am.

A closer view of the fancy work corner, which is just a bookshelf turned on its side with some 4 x 4s to keep it off the floor. A small kitchen pantry cabinet is great for storage. I store all SLOCA textbooks that are not in current circulation there (SOTW books from previous years that I'll need for the future, last year's math and grammar textbooks and workbooks for reference, etc.).


I keep all the books for the current trimester in these cubes.  The staples stay all year (grammar, math, SOTW, HIG, dictionary) and the literature will move to bookshelves in the house after we've moved through it. Next trimester's literature books will replace them. Math manipulatives and games are stored in these cubes as well.


(Above, left) Printed grids, assigned supplemental worksheets, any notes I've made about the week's work, and current spelling dictations are kept on top in the metal shelf. I staple these all together at week's end and keep the packets to use for progress reports. The green and pink cloth drawers store more manipulatives and reinforcement tools/activities for grammar/spelling/reading and math.  The green math drawer contains flash cards, place value discs, manipulatives, and dice games. The pink one houses my flash cards from OPG for reference (last year), previous year's spelling cards, site word flash cards, mad libs and word tile games.

(Above, right) Grease boards—a must! (AKA, white boards or dry-erase boards) I use 3 of them and I slide them in and out of their corner and prop them up on a chair whenever I need them. The spelling grease board with all its moving parts (tiles) stays alphabetized and organized this way.  I use the other grease boards for math and a "to-do list" for grid work. She can erase the subject once it's done with one gratifying swipe and it helps us budget time for all the material.


Yay, grease boards!


As soon as the weather warms up in the late morning, we usually head out to do subjects that require more room (timeline) and/or inspiration (nature journal).


Sometimes we'll find a cozy corner in the house to do independent reading.


And finally, we use the desk in her room for subjects that can be worked on at any time of the day, and that require less (or none) of my supervision, such as cursive practice.

Well, I think that covers it, thanks for visiting today. Maybe you found some ideas to incorporate (or avoid!). Good luck!

Thank you, Danielle! It's so helpful to see how others organize their things and work throughout the day – we appreciate this peek into your world!