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Moving Beyond the Page

Chances are, if you are a parent of school-aged children, you have been faced with some tough decisions concerning what to do with your children this coming school year.

I struggled and found myself unhappy with all of the options: virtual learning, in-person learning during a pandemic, or homeschooling. For me, it came down to picking the least worst option using the resources I have available.

Full disclosure: before deciding to stay home to raise my first born, I had received my Masters in Elementary Education and taught fourth grade for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, so this isn’t my first experience with teaching.

Also, I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home-mom, whereas others are working full-time and trying to figure out how in the world to manage a job while simultaneously educating their children.

Ultimately, I decided to homeschool because it was the one option that I felt I had control over, versus being at the mercy of our government/school district’s decisions. Homeschooling provided my children with the most normal, consistent school year, given the constraints of the pandemic.

Before coming to my decision, I spent weeks joining national and local homeschooling Facebook groups and researching the literally thousands of curriculum options available.

My intent is for my children to return to public school once (Lord willing) life goes back to normal (starting to wonder if that is ever actually going to happen . . . ) so I wanted to select a curriculum that aligned with state standards.

I also am a mother to a 2, 4, 6, and 8 year-old and don’t have a lot of extra time nor the desire to piece together a lot of different programs. I wanted something that was all-inclusive for my first year. A program that said, “Here. Do this.”

I found that in the program Moving Beyond the Page. It is a literature-based curriculum that covers language arts, social studies, science and math. I purchased ages 4-5 for my daughter in Pre-k, ages 5-7 for my rising 1st grader and ages 7-9 for my rising 3rd grader. The cost of the program initially gave me pause but when I stopped to consider all of the things we won’t be doing this coming year (ballet, gym membership, live shows), I realized it all comes out in the wash.

The program includes hands-on projects of which they send you all the materials you need down to the number of cotton balls in particular units for the 4-5 age. I LOVE this- that I don’t have to go searching around for a bunch of random materials; instead, everything is already organized and labeled by unit so that I can just grab and teach!

Once I shared the news to my daughters that we would be home for the 2020-2021 school year, I shared the examples and videos of the curriculum that we would be using. They were so excited the day the curriculum arrived, meeting the UPS driver in the driveway!

Once we had the materials, it was time to get them organized. Out with the couch and in with the giant super desk! I wrote about the transformation of our homeschooling space here if you’d like to check it out!

I will continue to share our experience with Moving Beyond the Page throughout the year so make sure to click the “follow” button to add your email for our updates!

Design

Welcome to our Homeschool Space!

It has taken a couple months of researching, dreaming and building, but we are finally finished with our homeschooling space!

This playroom used to house a couch and a bookshelf (that I found 6 years ago on Craiglist for $200 and spent 22 hours painting it white!) containing all of our board games.

I knew I wanted to have all of our materials organized in one space so that I wouldn’t have to go running through the house to find this and that to complete an assignment. By moving the board games, it provided a large open space that I could fill with necessary materials.

Next up, the workspace. I give all of the glory to Erica Arndt of Confessions of a Homeschooler who graciously shared her IKEA “super-desk” idea on her blog, going so far as to provide a Room Tour. After a few measurements and negotiations with my husband I was off to IKEA to purchase the materials:

My husband purchased four brackets from Home Depot to secure the two tabletops together.

And voila! I filled the game room space with bins of materials for each of the three grades (Pre-K, 1st and 3rd) I will be using to teach the first 15 weeks (I stored the materials for the remainder of the year in separate bins in a closet upstairs) and plopped a Classroom Craft Keeper in the middle of the desk for each access to frequently used items such as crayons, pencils and glue.

It will likely never look this put-together again, as they’ve already claimed it as another imaginative play-place but we are still glad to have it ready for learning in a few weeks!