Eco-Friendly and Organized

I’ve always wanted an organized school room like this or this. But let’s face it–all those plastic bins and synthetic materials are NOT earth-friendly, and definitely NOT conducive to the cozy, organic learning atmosphere that I’m trying to build.

Here’s a snapshot of the two spaces we use most in our homeschool.

First, the homeschool corner of my kitchen, where I keep the school books we use most often:

Note the earthy, non-plastic feel of this room, thanks to all-natural materials. Stays organized, too, thanks to the woven baskets and cupboard doors, which hide the messier stuff (pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc).

Here is our family room, where a system of wooden built-ins serves as our “library.” I keep all of our “messier” stuff (coloring books, puzzles, games, flashcards, etc) behind those small doors underneath the shelves, to help keep that “messy” schoolroom look to a minimum:

Then I leave the rest of the room open (no coffee tables) and full of comfy furniture to make it an inviting place to curl up with a book. Interestingly enough, companies like Barnes & Noble also offer cozy chairs and sofas in their stores.


Because when people are comfortable, they’re more likely to read! In other words: cold, plastic-and-metal decor doesn’t sell books (and it won’t sell your kids on reading them, either).

Organized School Room Hall of Fame:

(note: some of these use plastics, but I like to envision them with earth-friendly containers, instead!)

The classiest homeschool room:

Most fashionable school room:

Most innovative locale (the loft!):

Best homeschool room for online learners:

Best use of a small space:

Best use of an old entertainment center (recycling!):

Best mom’s room/kids’ room combo:



*Second runner-up:


An Art Historian Writes About Natural (Home) Schooling

Julie at Mental Tesserae, the ever-eloquent art historian/blogger, wrote a very insightful (and art-related) post about the difference between organic, home education and its synthetic public counterpart in the life of her gifted son. Very thought-provoking and neutral (doesn’t bash on public schools), I consider this article a must-read for parents who are looking for alternative learning strategies for gifted and/or special needs children:

Benefit of Natural Learning #1

Natural learning has its benefits–and lack of boredom is one of the best!

It is a direct result of allowing children to explore their own creativity, unhampered by the clanging of a school bell (that would force them to stop working) or the pressure of peers (who might mock some of their more out-of-the-box ideas).

Here’s an example, with photographic proof, of what I mean:

While stranded in a “loaner house” to await the availability of our new home last month, my children had nothing to do! It rained all day, our home school books were still on the moving truck, and I imagine that most parents would resort to television, video games, or psychotropic meds to keep sane while stranded like this all day with five children.

Not me! While we lived in this limbo for an entire week, my daughters started finding things to do.

My oldest–we’ll call her “Prima”–found some scrap paper and an old pair of scissors, and almost immediately went to work, creating artistic designs and life-like shapes with them:

My second oldest–aka “Dizzy,” started writing letters to friends (something we usually do in our home school for writing homework, to make it fun)

And the little ones went outside to gather leaves, which we pressed inside wax paper shapes to make bookmarks (an activity so fun that I forgot to stop and take a picture, alas!). In the meantime, my older daughters gathered different specimens and created an impromptu “nature guide” of our new surroundings:

For the organic educator, being stuck indoors with a large group of children isn’t a headache, it is an adventure! And home-taught children adjust to different environments and situations easily–mine rarely act out or complain that they are “bored.” Instead, they thrive, thanks to the flexibility they’ve developed in an ever-changing learning atmosphere (as opposed to the public school reliance on constant, repetitive activity, requiring children to stay busy at all times, lest they “get into trouble”).