Our Home is our Homeschool: Spring Edition

Being the wild homeschooling family we are, Spring Break was recently declared. We headed east to visit grandparents, aunts, and cousins for a few days. It truly was soul refreshing to spend time with those we love and miss. While “home” I was able to score some really cool pieces for our home in the Midwest. My Mom’s house, which is my own personal thrift shop these days, holds treasures from my past.

We have been in our new home for almost two years. It’s a early 20th century Craftsman style home with a sprawling front porch, a welcoming and open floor plan, and plenty of space for our large family. I love to decorate here! My husband and I have owned three other homes before this one. This is my very favorite! From the moment we crossed the front door threshold, this house felt like a loving home. From rancher to split entry to cape cod to craftsman, I’ve always strived to use what I have on hand. Sometimes that means rehabbing, upcycling, or reinventing. Other times, it means finding one new piece that works well with what we have. In celebration of days when we can open the windows and smell the fresh Spring air, I got a little bit creative in the past week in our Dining Room, Living Room, and Sitting Room.

Our Sitting Room is a large space between our living and family room. The sofa holds an hide-a-bed and the south facing window let in a lot of sunlight. The clock print chair reclines, lending a perfect space for a cozy read or a cat nap. The state top table holds reading materials and is topped with a small ticking clock, a ceramic piece made by one of the kids, and a small wire basket holding sparkly Easter eggs.

A bright and sunny spot to read, this sitting room is situated between the living and family rooms.

This table graces the entrance to our family room and my office, from the sitting room.
The sofa doubles as a hide-a-bed and extra guest space. This is also where our children practice piano.

This red, drop-leaf Children’s table was sitting, unused at my Mom’s. When she asked if I’d like it, I was eager to take it home with me. So, we made room in the trunk with our luggage. I topped it with a pitcher I bought from a company called Mary & Martha. The pitcher reads, “the joy of the Lord will fill you to overflowing.” The silk floral arrangement is leftover from my son’s wedding last Spring. The little blue bottle, one my grandfather “picked” for me from a stash of old things he had in his basement years ago. He’s been gone since 1990. That’s a picture of him and my grandmother, circa 1936. That cuff link belonged to his dad. I’m usually not one for collecting itty bits of dust collecting memorabilia. These little pieces bring me joy.

Our dining room has been a favorite space to furnish and decorate. The table has a story of it’s own. I have always wanted a table big enough for everyone to sit at together, during holiday meals. When we bought this house, I hadn’t physically been inside of it. My husband and I were apart for eight weeks after he accepted his job transfer from Pennsylvania to Illinois. I stayed behind with our kids as we waited for the PA house to sell. He started his job and house hunting on the IL end. I shopped online and he checked out details in person. When he told me that we were about to be the owners of an oversized dining room, we knew our existing table would not even begin to fill the space. While exploring our new town, Dan stumbled upon an antique store. Inside, he found this table, buried under other items on display. It’s a buffet table from the 1860’s. We purchased gun metal chairs from Amazon to complete the look. It seats twelve comfortably and has been a gathering place for family and friends over the last “almost” two years.

Dining Room
This lamp is a yard sale find and restoration project from my Mom’s. It was donated by an elderly parishioner in the 1990’s. She told my Mom she purchased it new in the 1940’s for a dear price of that time. My husband lovingly wrapped the bulbs and milk glass shade for the 720 mile journey to it’s new home.

This praise tray is another Mary & Martha purchase. I filled it with paper Easter grass and filler objects from Target .
Built-in buffet in our dining room stores our homeschool supplies. This “bump out” is popular in this craftsman style floor plan from 1917-1918.

My Easter Chalkboard Bunnies are just made with chalkboards that came from the Target Bullseye bin a few years ago. I looked on Pinterest for some chalk lettering and doodling ideas, and came up with these. Pinterest is an excellent source of inspiration! I used a chalk marker for this project. I’m keeping the pink bordered bunny and gifting the yellow bordered bunnies to my daughter and my daughter-in-law. I could use window spray on the chalkboard bunnies to erase and change the messages. I like having a semi-permanent design. It won’t erase if touched!

A top the built-in liquor cabinet. We are an eclectic homeschool family, too. Elements of that are sprinkled through our home. The globe and the chessboard (pictured below) are put to use daily.

We converted this liquor cabinet into a working homeschool cabinet. The top shelf holds display pieces that the kids have made this year in Science class. The second shelf holds interactive review math work, that they can practice. The third shelf holds some Social Studies and Geography work, based on the United States map. The bottom shelf holds the workbooks and text books we use daily.

I bought this rooster chalkboard at a surplus store ten years ago. I just designed a little Spring friendly saying to compliment the decor and theme in my dining room. This chalk board is a good example of a versatile piece. I just change the chalk writing and design with each season.

This cute display is a mixture of things we already had. The adorable block letters go with a set my daughter-in-law’s grandma sent me a few years ago. I can spell out all sorts of seasonal messages with them. The flowers, eggs, and leaves were cut from an old Dollar General Spring wreath I no longer use. The green grass is shredded paper saved from an Easter basket from a few years ago. The bird, part of a broken garden decoration my youngest daughter found in our back yard last Summer. We also added a metal butterfly from a broken wind chime. We found it after this photo was taken. The crate was a Target purchase. I paid $5.00 for it!

The kids and I attempted to upcycle some cheap, plastic Easter Eggs into fabric eggs. Our results were frustration and the realization that we are not hard core crafters. We are artistic people with zero patience. I guess our new family motto could be “When in doubt, coat it in glitter!” Until this project, we were more of a “We can do hard things” family. Nonetheless, we made a huge, sticky mess and we had more fun than not. The kids insisted on the audiobook, The Taggerung, a recent library selection, as we destroyed our dreams of being Easter Egg crafters. Our Mod Podge and foam paint brushes are set aside for now, awaiting a craft in our field of expertise. I do have plans for the leftover fabric I purchased for this project. I’m using it in my master bedroom make-over.

From Joann Fabrics
White, light filtering curtains added to front windows (early AM sun) I love walking downstairs to this sunlit space.
Living Room
Florals leftover from last Spring’s family wedding decor
House built by my eight year old daughter with the help of her grandparents. Craft kit and acrylic paints from Walmart.

Florals and canister from Joann Fabrics

These quick and easy changes have some of our main living areas ready for Spring. Because we homeschool and live comfortably among our decor, I like to keep everything light, casual, and functional. Simple things like floral arrangements and fabric can be changed out. Chalk wording can be changed. Gather versatile pieces. This home can change from season to season without storing a huge amount of decor. I like to incorporate old and new together, adding hints of our interests when I decorate. To me, pretty, calm, and functional spaces evoke feelings of peace and joy. Whether in a 1200 square foot home (and we did squish six of us into a space like that for two years) or a space two or three times that size, the house is just a shell. The people who love, imagine, create, and dream inside is what makes it home. I love filling our space with memories of the past and inspiration for the future.

A sneak peak at my office space, where I write about the stuff that brings me joy. Quote by philanthropist and founder of Love Does, Bob Goff.
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