Thursday, April 09, 2015

We Bought a Farm: Our First School Room

This new house on the farm is the smallest house I have lived in in quite some time. We have always talked about living with less, but when you actually try to make less work for a family of six and a big ol' dog, it ain't so easy!

Don't get me wrong. The house isn't tiny. But with three bedrooms and only one living room, it is going to take some careful configuring to fit well. 

If I wasn't homeschooling, I think it would be fine, but I am really shocked by the amount of things it takes to educate children.

When we bought this farm, we liked the house, but we didn't love the house. As we searched for a property, we quickly became aware that if we wanted to stay within a certain price range, we were going to need to give up some things. We couldn't have it all unless we wanted to spend it all.

This house has a lot of issues that will have to be improved upon if I am going to raise four kiddos to adulthood within its walls. Some examples of the things that are challenging about this home include:
  • The house is sort of put in backwards. This means you enter through the kitchen. SOLUTION: Deal with it! No way to turn the house around, and we don't want to add a driveway to the front of the house.
  • There is no closet or any area for shoes, hats, coats, etc. by either the kitchen entrance or the real front door. SOLUTION: We eventually want to add a mud room off the kitchen. This will make the backwardness more okay for us as well.
  • There is only one living area, and it is not very large. SOLUTION: We eventually want to eliminate the vaulted ceiling in the living area to put a second living room upstairs. This second living room will eventually be the school room.
  • There are only three bedrooms which are all very modest in size. SOLUTION: We can't add a bedroom, but we will have a guest area in another building on the farm. And we will do some unique building in the kids rooms to maximize space for them.
  • The kitchen is a bit too small for us. SOLUTION: We eventually want to convert the formal dining room (which we are currently using for a school room) into a bigger kitchen.
  • The beautiful view out of the house is blocked by a garage. SOLUTION: We eventually want to add a three-seasons room off another corner of the house that would allow us to partake more in our view.
  • There is no community shower in the house. (The only shower is in the kids room or are room.) SOLUTION: Deal with it. This I can overlook if we have a separate place for guests.
  • Our bathroom area does not have a door (although the toilet is sectioned off with a door.) SOLUTION: Add a door, or at least a curtain right away.
But these are all long-term, way down the road things. For now, we have to make this house work with what we have. 

We decided to convert the formal dining room into a school room. I never thought I would have a formal school room, but the dining room is just too small to continue to make that work. Here is a picture of the school room:

This is still a work in progress but thanks to my brother-in-law Ray's great ability to find items online, I managed to snag two school desks for the boys. I also purchased all of the bookshelves second hand.

We also got a desk for Abigail. It was supposed to be her birthday present in July from Uncle Ray and Aunt Gabbi, but it was accidentally discovered amidst the chaos of the move. She LOVES her new school desk.

I truly always just thought we'd sort of do school all over the house. But this house just isn't big enough for that. I am actually really excited for everything to have a place and for us to know where we are going to do the school thing. We practiced school a bit in this new room, and we really enjoyed it. Time to get started for real in May!

I am also excited to be joining a co-op on Mondays in our local town. I am on the waiting list but have been told we should get in. We will go for half a day every Monday. Hannah will be in the nursery, Abigail in preschool, and the boys in first grade. I will help wherever they assign me. This will give us the opportunity to meet some people and learn some new things. 

Let the adventures continue!

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