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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our School Table

When we first moved to our new house, we had only one child that were 'unofficially' homeschooling (she was 2). She had her own little desk in her room in which to keep her papers and crayons and everything went fine. As the size of our family increased (by fours twice! most people have one kid at a time, but we would go from 1 child to 5 in a matter of minutes) we found that we not only needed more room in the bedroom for dressers and beds, we also needed more space for kids to work on school assignments. The dinning room table worked Ok for the kids in public school who only had to do homework and not a full day of learning at home, and we put the little desk in the corner of the dining room as well. But when the kids came home to school after the adoption, we needed a big change.

First, the amount of books/papers we were using tripled, so we bought some bookshelves and got rid of a couch. We also bought a bunch of little school desks at a school sale and put my dining room table in storage. This plan worked Ok until we had more kids of school age, and two who outgrew those little desks. We were also finding we were cramped in the dining room, so we did a complete overhaul of the house layout (which is hard to do!). We switched the living room and the dining room, so that the much larger living room became the school room. We set the dining room table back up and put the little desks in storage until we get our 24'X40' school room addition done. This plan helped when we had family over as well, since we could seat more people at the table than at little desks.

But then we had the problem of crayons getting all over my good table, and of how to switch it from a school table to an eating table without a lot of work. I found this idea in Above Rubies magazine, and it really helped solve the problems we were having. I had a bunch of cheap maps (from the Dollar Tree) so I set them around the table top. Then I bought a clear shower curtain and trimmed off the end with the holes. This left a sheet of good, heavy plastic but it was too wide and not long enough. I trimmed the side to the width I wanted, and transplanted the extra piece to the end to make it long enough. I covered the seams well with heavy duty packaging tape, and we had our school table that was functional and pretty, and protected the wood surface. This also wipes up very easily.

When we want to eat on the table, I simply put a white cloth cover over the plastic and then a pretty tablecloth. We had a planning meeting/dinner over the weekend, and it was very easy. We had our dinner at a pretty table, and then simply removed the covers to provide a good writing surface for the meeting. It's great!

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