This question has plagued me since the beginning.
We have a lovely library (see our post here); after our oldest two children left home, we converted their rooms to an office and a library, rather than spreading out. We like the idea of small sleeping spaces, and larger living spaces. For the past two years, we’ve mostly schooled in the library, at the kitchen table, and on the couch.
As the children grow, I’m finding that I can edit, email, and do other small chores while they do math and English. It’s a lovely arrangement. When we work on science, Latin and Greek, I really like being able to face both children. So, it was time to overhaul the office. In the process, I found space for our art supplies!
I’m sharing my solutions in case you find them helpful.
Above is our table, with me on one side, and the boys on the other. Behind them, we have a big built-in closet. We removed the doors, and I set out looking for a shelf that would fit right inside. The Lord blessed me with this great, deep shelving unit (I think it may have been a converted dresser). It was ugly, so I painted it!
Another time, I’ll write a short post about painting and schelacking fun furniture. We chose Lamentations 3:25-27 for the verse on the shelves.
I’ve found that my favorite way to address arts and crafts is to supply lots of paper (construction, cardstock, fibrous, etc), and good quality brushes, paints, pens and colored pencils. I make suggestions and get out of the way. I do have a basket of miscellaneous supplies (google eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, and foam sheets). Anyway, I loaded the shelves with our general supplies. On the built-in shelf next to my newly painted find, I filled baskets with individual supplies, so the boys can each carry their own little basket of special tools around.
I think my favorite idea was using the IKEA herb canisters from the kitchen (I can not grow herbs in my kitchen… the sun is pointed the wrong direction. Oops!) to hold our pens, pencils, paint brushes and scissors.
Cute, right? They’re super functional, and really organized. I’m happy… and there’s no way I can kill our art supplies (unlike the basil, may it rest in peace)! I just put a screw into the wall for each container, and slipped the container on. Voila!
While I was at it, I found shelves around my house and moved them along one wall to store my research and our curriculum. We devoted a whole shelf to library books, so we always know exactly where they’re at. That gave us more room in the library (and it is more convenient). So… I rearranged the library too. I’ll show you next week, OK?
Here’s one last picture of our art supplies, all organized and ready for school next year! Even my portable easel fit!
How do you cope with your art supplies and curriculum?
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.