Changing Classrooms is Hard!

Y'all change is hard!  

It's hard on me mentally, physically, emotionally, gah, it's just hard.  

These past few weeks we have been working on the transition of flip-flopping our playroom (affectionately known as the blue room) and our classroom (formerly located on the third floor of our home).  

These changes have been really hard on basically no one...except me.  I am such a weirdo.  

You can see some of my favorite photos of our classroom in this blog post.  

Our classroom has always been on the third floor.  Nick had to custom make our shelves and book cases to get them to fit to the pitch of the roof.  It was a really, really special place to me...in my mind.  

The reality of the situation was that we found ourselves in a predicament that we were hardly ever able to get everything accomplished when we had school up there.  We were lucky to start our day on time and if we didn't finish by lunch I could pretty much kiss any chance of finishing our work goodbye.  

In addition to that, the homeschool room very often during seasons of the year looked like a clumsy SWAT team had been searching for something amidst holiday decorations.  Things were strewn all over, nothing could be organized amidst the chaos.  It was bad.  Bad, folks, bad.  If you need to see something to understand you can read this old post but I'm warning you...it's bad.  

Why was schooling so hard up there you ask?  Well, it was really hard to pinpoint the reasoning...I always blamed it on a multitude of things which included it being so far removed from the rest of the house, it being too sunny and warm in the afternoon, it being really dark in the morning hours, it being too cluttered, and on and on and on.  

A couple of years ago God started working on my heart.  I still wanted to homeschool but I wanted it to be an ever-present pulse in our family.  For us it had always been something we do only up in the classroom and then we come downstairs, shut the door, and put it out of our minds.  I didn't want that anymore.  I tried incorporating school more into our every day life.  We did more school in the dining room over tea and after lunch, outside.  While we found ourselves enjoying school more we found our house starting to look like a used curriculum sale was taking place...random papers, books, and projects started to stray to every nook and bump out of our victorian.  And this Momma was getting mad.  

We tried for seven years to make it work.  But there came a breaking point when we decided it was time to change.  For the reasons mentioned above but also with the pitch of the roof it was starting to become difficult for the three of us (including two growing like weeds children) to maneuver around the desks like we had when they were so little. 

So one day on a whim, we changed.  I declared that we were moving the classroom downstairs.  

So we did.  

The toys and craft supplies went upstairs.  We are still muddling through where everything should go on the third floor.  And downstairs we are struggling with where to put everything.  We no longer have an entire floor of the house for our supplies but rather a single room.  Downsizing is now our middle name.  In the process I have found that it was a long over due process.  Projects, books, manipulatives, and supplies for children with much shorter limbs and much chubbier fingers are still hanging around.  Once we've gone through everything I'm hoping it will be a manageable amount for our classroom.  But it will have to be so we will make it work.  

Homeschool classrooms and kiwi crate time!  Super Busy at Home

There are parts of the classroom I will really miss but there are parts of the new classroom that I am really starting to find such assets to our family.  For example, our new classroom (the blue room if you'll remember) has three rose of sharon bushes outside of our massive picture window.  Four birdfeeders later and we have officially become "bird people".  Also, the classroom is right off the downstairs laundry room and powder room.  We have a large utility sink for washing brushes, taking our science experiments, and more.  I can also now fold laundry while watching them do their math.  Very convenient.  

Before the move, our families biggest arguements were about legos.  Dumb I know.  But the kids legos were in the blue room, which we have to go through to get to the laundry room and we have to pass through to get to the dining room from the kitchen.  It was always a fight to get them to pick up their legos in the middle of creating something or to at least scootch them over so I didn't have to plow through them with laundry in tow.  Now the legos are upstairs and, while we still insist on them picking up, they can at least display their finished projects without fear of someone stepping on them.  Where the legos once were downstairs is now a monstrous desk we found at Restore.  

Redecorating homeschool classrooms and playrooms.  Super Busy at Home

With the children getting older, needing more head room, using less supplies, and wanting to create, this is a better solution for our family.  We also have school books on hand in the room off our dining room now for more dialectic discussion around the dinner table.  Words are starting to be debated and chewed upon.  

All that to say, the whole "still in transition" business is so hard for me.  At least once a day I find myself having to re-convince myself that this is a change for the best for the whole family and one day, eventually, I will love both spaces as much as I loved our little classroom in the sky.  

I struggle so much with change.  Do you?  How do you talk yourself down from despair when things are not perfect?  

Our First Hike Back in Indiana!

Hello sweet friends!  

We are back in Indiana and today was the first day it's been sunny.  I woke up in just a horrid mood.  I couldn't shake it no matter what I did.  Don't you simply hate when that happens?  I decided to do what I could to try to get out of my funk but no amount of bubble baths, quiet times, or rests were helping me feel better.  After praying I realized that what I needed was to get out of the house.  


So that's just what we did.  We took our first hike of the year (here back home in Indiana) and it felt glorious!  It was pretty cold, not quite in the 40's yet but there was a gentle breeze with the sun.  It was invigorating!  


It is amazing how much serenity the outdoors offers, whether in the way of a desert as we were in last month or the woods where we found ourselves today.  The birds, the smells, the stillness, the peace, it all culminates in a quiet churning that finds a way into the depths of our souls.  

I would encourage you to get outdoors.  Force yourself.  As one who didn't used to consider herself "outdoorsy" I can attest that it does get easier and once over a certain precipice becomes addictive in an ethereal way.  

Today has gone much better since our time outdoors.  We all were able to come home and concentrate on our tasks at hand.  We buzzed through all of our schoolwork and chores for, what other reason, than to get back outside! 

To the outdoors, friends! 

Great American Road Trip: Day 3

Day 3 was a lot of driving.  Ten hours to be exact!  

I was so glad that we split up this trip.  First of all, I have no idea how anyone could drive 25 hours straight, but also, I think 10 hours in the car is pretty much our limit.  

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

We all were pretty crabby by the time we got to our destination, El Paso!   

Thankfully our hotel in Oklahoma City had breakfast so we all had a high protein breakfast before we left...by the way if you are wondering, yes, the kids do sometimes hate that I make them eat so healthy.  'Tis life!  

We were planning on going to the Oklahoma Science museum but to our surprise the kids just wanted to hit the road.  Weird!  So that's what we did! 

On the outskirts of town we stopped at MACU, one of our churches colleges, and drove around.  We took a picture of Emma there.  You never know where she'll want to go to school! 

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

Then we drove on, and on and on.  So I guess it was okay it was dark the night before in OK because we got to see plenty of it on Day 3!  

When we got into Texas we started to see rockier soil and cactus which the kids were so thrilled to see!  So thrilled we got out at the side of the Interstate to take a picture.  Nick's saying "we're on the Interstate!" and when I was taking the kids photo the kids are telling me "um, dad's driving away" in Nicholas' typical I'm going to fake you out fashion.  

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home
Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

Oh how I love our little family!  After that we discussed the topography and how there's no line where the black soil ends and red begins and then red turns into dessert but it's more of a gradual process. I know I'm such a dork but I love that the kids can learn while we are traveling.  It's been such an experience to see them finally "get it".  Even in homeschooling where learning is more one on one, it still is not often times in real life.  That's just not practical.  But when it can be, amazing things happen!  

Anyway, we stopped in a small town where we stretched our legs and the kids played on the playground.  It felt good to soak in some sun and fresh air but it was still so cold!  

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

Then more driving.  Are you sensing a theme here?  It was super boring.  Emma and I both get carsick when reading otherwise I would have spent the whole time with my nose in a good book!

The kids entertained themselves with allotted DS time, writing in their travel journal, doodling, doing mad-libs, and one time we let them watch a movie.  I have been noticing that the less opportunities I give them to use DVD players or their game systems, the less they seem to care if they play them or not. Hallelujah!  

We arrived in El Paso about 10 our time, and 8 in El Paso time.  Our Apple maps pulled up a list of nearby restaurants so we chose Pei Wei.  The authentic welcome to El Paso meal is Chinese food, right?  We all were laughing about that but it sounded good to everyone and it hit the spot!  

Calvin got wonton soup which he kept describing as heavenly.  "You should try some Em.  The noodly part is just heavenly and the meat is heavenly.  The whole thing is heavenly."  

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

After the Chinese food we had about half an hour of driving through El Paso to get to our hotel.  El Paso by the way has a ton of people!  I would liken it to the citys of Philly or Indy.  That size.  The drive was really great because Nick, who has been here lots of times, pointed things out to us and we got to see the mountains. 

Great American Road Trip!  Homeschooling family out on the road to take on the wild west! via Super Busy at Home

When we got to the hotel, I think it took us three trips with the luggage trolley to bring everything in...there was a lot of stuff!  But for a family of four who is homeschooling and staying somewhere for three weeks, I guess a lot of stuff is required! 

It feels so good to be settled and to have everything in its right place!  

Now, onto Day 4! 

Great American Road Trip: Day 2

We spent the night in St. Louis and awoke ready to take on the day!  

Our hotel didn't offer breakfast so I brought oatmeal cups (full of flax seeds!) to eat.  The kids scarfed them down along with yogurt, apples, and orange juice.  I was so thankful for kiddos who do not complain about me packing food and not eating out.  I am one blessed Momma, indeed!  

After breakfast we drove to the arch and spent some time driving around.  I always wonder if everyone does this or not but we always have to go and look at the edifices and the pediments and the whos and doodles.  I guess this is the weirdness of being married to an architect.  But I love history and he loves buildings and like I always say, it's a marriage made in heaven!  

We parked and made our way to the historic courthouse where the Dred Scott decision was made.  We had just studied this case a couple of weeks before so to stand in the courthouse where the decision was made that Dred and his wife would continue to be slaves was quite sombering.  I didn't know I could feel any sadder until we went out the other door of the courthouse and stood on the steps where the two were sold in a slave auction to two different owners.  


We walked to the arch which, just so you know, was frigid!  Brrr.  A seven minute walk feels neverending in the icy wind.  I could not wrap my hear around how this was going to go but you purchase a ticket with a  time that you can go up into the arch.  Then you wait around until they take the tickets for your time.  Then you go down into the ground and wait and wait.  After that you are shown a movie with the crowd of people you are going up into the arch with.  After the movie they assign you a pod or "tram" as they call them.  There are five seats in each one so they put people together according to how many you have in your group.  We had four and no one was riding solo so we had our tram all to ourselves.  After that you wait for your tram to come back down from bringing people down, you get in and go up.  


We were surprised at how small the windows are at the top of the arch. But the views to the east and west were spectacular.  It was a really good place for conversations as we had learned this year about the Louisiana Purchase and how much land that brought into America.  


After the arch we hit the road and headed towards  President Ulysses S. Grant's home.  It was a beautiful home and was really interesting.  They had a museum about him too in a barn her had created to raise race horses.  It was fascinating to learn how, during the war, so many people disliked him due to so many reasons: they thought he was a drunk, they called him the Butcher because he killed so many people, and they had derogatory names for him because he didn't like to speak to the press or be in the public eye.  But in the end he ended up becoming President.  

After the Grant home we went to lunch at Five Guys.  Calvin had been begging to go to one so we fulfilled his wish and took him to one last stop for his "birthday".  It was really good food and with happy bellies we started back on the road.  

We started driving from the St.  Louis area and in about seven hours we arrived in Oklahoma City.  The only part of the journey I was sad about was that it was so dark by the time we reached Oklahoma.  But the stars were out in the masses so we were able to look at those through the sunroofs.  So fun! 

When we got to Oklahoma City we were so tired!  We ate some dinner of leftovers and went to bed!  

Onto Day3!