I wanted to think into my keyboard more today about the Hugos in general. But both of the boys are up and whiny little people whining at me (or gabbling Transformers at me, or nursing, or what have you) just isn’t conducive to that kind of thinking. Instead, I’m brain dumping the homeschool plans for next year.
Since I work 20 hours a week, I have to start my homeschool planning early or it will get lost in in all the ways of summer, and then I will start up (late) in September with no idea of what I’m actually doing. So I start planning now. And first in planning is an analysis of what is, and what isn’t working this year.
This year, our biggest problem was the failure to establish a functional routine. David’s acquisition of an old iPad at Christmas did not improve matters, since we didn’t have a routine into which we could socket that privilege. At the same time, we weren’t failing to with school because I was obsessively cleaning. I think, at root, it was a supply storage and workspace issue. The supplies were out of the way and tended to be buried under a rapidly multiplying pile of child related junk. The kitchen table always had piles and other projects on it that needed cleaning or moving before school could happen. I had tried keeping the table clean especially for school work, but really just spent more time shuttling other major projects around trying to find flat surfaces for it all. It felt like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. Things would probably be completely different if I was home all day, every day. I might be less pressured by having more time available for this. But I don’t stay home every day, I don’t have time, and I’m not likely to have time anytime soon.
And I do have a school room upstairs.
Why are we doing school at the kitchen table when we have a whole room upstairs? Mostly, because it isn’t a functional room right now. I’ve taken to calling it the Archive of All Things – it is the room where, when company is coming, we shove all the things that either don’t belong downstairs or otherwise make the downstairs look intolerably sloppy. It is a room of clutter, but neither as doom-like as the guest room (the Room of Doom (now with 90% less doom!)) or as completely impassable as my closet, which is like an elephant’s graveyard only for craft supplies.
Strides in properly furnishing the Archive have been made in recent years. We have acquired bookshelves – not enough bookshelves, certainly, but sufficient. An old television my parents were getting rid of, a keyboard for piano lessons. An old white board resides in our garage, intended to become a worktable for the room. I even spray painted a bit of electric conduit and some brackets in ‘oil rubbed bronze’ and put up curtains two years back while I was nesting.
So, this summer’s goal is to transform it into a functional school room. It does not need to be perfectly finished, just be functional. For functional, we need a whiteboard table and chairs, an organizational center for school supplies, and to purge the room of years of accumulated miscellany. Oh, also if possible, I would like to upgrade our printer to a wireless one.
This is all doable.
For the platonic ideal of the Archive, we need to:
- Rip out the framing of the closet and install a built-in office center with countertop, drawers, and cabinets.
- Install a ceiling fan.
- Replace the television stand and install a bridging bookshelf over the television.
- Another bookshelf or three wouldn’t go amiss either.
- Aquire barstool height chairs and convert the whiteboard table to a standing table.
- Swap out the carpet for flooring.
- While I’m having ambitious dreams, I might as well replace my 10 year old Core Solo iMac with a brand new one!
These are also actually doable, just not on the same time scale as functional. And functional is the first step toward platonic.
Yesterday I started by cleaning and moving Himself’s desk and moving the toy bookshelf from the downstairs living area (rooms require more that two walls!) to the Archive to serve as the supply center. The toys still live in their bins at the moment, but each boy has a ‘school cubby’ in the shelf, and the top is dedicated to pencils etc. Already I’m noticing the benefit that they are spending their morning upstairs (and by the noise, destroying all yesterday’s hard work). But they’re not down here talking to me, and that means I can make blueberry muffins for breakfast and blog in relative peace.