Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Craigslist homeschool room (little bit of Ikea and Pottery Barn on the cheap)

(This link is my new post as of 2014 here since we moved)

After we decided to homeschool, we started talking about where I would do the schooling. My husband threw out a lot of good ideas and I started looking on the internet for what people used to furnish their homeschool classrooms. I found some really cool and cute rooms. The most frequently used book shelves and furniture seemed to be from Ikea and white boards seemed to be a favorite too. Well...there is no Ikea anywhere close to us. So I looked up how much the Ikea Expedit book shelves, they are only $139.00 now, but were $199.00 at the time, and then I checked out the shipping since the price of the shelf was something I could budget for. Well shipping was $349!!!! So I went ahead and ordered them since it was such a good deal!  I turned to Craigslist and my husband's handyman skills after that (and maybe a few neighbors and a good friend for lifting- you know who you are and thank you!). 
This is what we came up with for bookshelves.

© 2013 Homeschooling Papist

Not one, but two, Ikea Expedit bookshelves, the top picture was $140, and it was perfect and didn't look used.  It holds our craft supplies, paper, some decorations, stickers, markers, glue..etc.

© 2013 Homeschooling Papist

This Expedit shelf was $75, it was almost a pass, it was in rougher shape. But thanks to my husband he was able to use these metal braces to square it up and boy it was as good as new. It holds most of our family's books an games. It's used several times a day.

 I found a globe for $10 on Craigslist- it's stored on top. I believe it's around 10 years old, good enough for us. You can find out how old your globe is by checking on a list of countries and border changes.

 My Scott's Thermal Laminator and pouches  I purchased on Amazon, is stored up there on top as well as my big blue Polo box I store my sand letter supplies. You can read why I think every homeschooling mom needs a laminator here.  You may also want to consider buying a manual comb binding machine like this one. They are handy to have around for homeschoolers as well. It will save you lots of time!

Next big decision was where we would actually do our school work. I kept hearing a of people say it just all ends up on the kitchen table. I don't want my table cluttered. Period. We do have a beautiful west picture window up there that would be ideal for light, but I don't want my kitchen table cluttered. Period. When I am not homeschooling I don't want the books laying around in the way. Plus there wasn't a close storage place for them upstairs. 

So I started looking at desks. This desk by Pottery Barn was my first choice. 
It's only $1199.00 and shipping was FREE!! What a good deal shipping was! Then I found this Pottery Barn knock off desk on Amazon for less, only $599.95 and it also had free shipping!! WOW! These shipping deals are amazing! I also really liked this craft desk on Amazon. It was a much more realistic price at $256 and it was just not big enough- I would need two of them pushed together to have enough surface area. So I turned to my husband. He found a great way to recycle our old kitchen table (a previous Craigslist purchase which my brother in KC got for me)....

It had major need of a refinish anyway..disguised by lemon oil. Pine wood is soft it had a lot of wear. 84" long with the leaves.

Poor hubs had the wrong sandpaper, so it took a lot longer since every time he went to Home Depot they were out (they never seemed to restock)

Awww..much nicer.. now for the lower half.  I found lots of shelves at Target. I think 5 or 6 different ones. But settled on a pair of these.  They were the right heighth, and they were on sale! We bought the dark finish so our Ikea shelves would match the desk.

They are attached with some brackets.

 And this was the final product after staining the table top (done outside) and clear coat.

(info on chairs at the bottom of the post)

Glass top custom cut for our table top $75 from a local glass shop. I actually found glass on Craigslist that would have matched the dimensions we needed but it was priced way too high to even bother negotiating.

Our Liturgical Calender and current world map  I purchased through Amazon  are stuck under there. My "spinny thingy" is our kids favorite homeschooling tool. Something about the way it spins and holds their pencil and glue, and it drives my 1 year old crazy! He loves it!

St. Michael our school's patron saint.

BeeBopper Brenden would not move for the picture. We realize we need storage bins to cut down on the cluttered look, but that does cost money. So next summer maybe we will get them. For now we are good ;) I labeled my shelves with my Epson label maker. That label maker had good reviews on Amazon, and I gave in and bought it. It has no waste, it's wonderful and so easy to use. It even has the ability to use a plug in- but you buy that plug separately. I know it's hard to see but my X-acto electric pencil sharpener is one row up and one block over from Brenden's little head. I can't imagine why anyone would go without an X-acto electric pencil sharpener. Go ahead and laugh, I will be laughing when you are sharpening a 30 colored pencils by hand!! ;)

Rainbow shelves- at the time I purchased at Michael's (the craft store), I see they are cheaper on Amazon now, with the spinny organizer on a B1G1 free sale and a coupon for a certain percentage off I believe. It came to around $30-$35 a piece in the end of the deal.

Beebopper's little table (has a lego top under the red table top).

If you are not tired of this post yet, have a look at this nice white board. We found it on Craigslist as well for $60. We had to drive 35 mins to get it but it was worth it- the hubs negotiated that price down a little ;)

(That's a number jail game on the right side, we made up a game to learn place value)
The Quick Stick Alphabet stickers you see on the wall are Carson Dellosa and there is a Quick Stick Number set as well that continues the rest of the way around- it's 1-30. I love those products, they re-stick and stick again just great! I am so impressed by them. Now I made a suggestion to Holy Heroes that they create a sticky alphabet of saints and sell it. I really really would love to display alphabet saints but no one has created that yet. We will see if they decide to make one ;)

Our cross (which is really Brenden's Baptism Crucifix) and Knox's beautiful Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart painting). This is our calendar wall and place value pocket chart

Knox's "science" desk. This past summer he declared he needed a science desk. This was on the way home from the KC Catholic Homeschool Conference. Why he decided he needed on I don't know, but I figured he was motivated to do some handwriting practice so we got it for him at a DAV for $15.
 We do our morning meeting or circle time right here in front of this cork board. We do the date and count days in school, count by 5's, 10's, and 1-100 and sing..etc..

This is our Morning Solutions "day of the week" pocket chart. It came in a bigger set (where the class room calender came from) I laminated all the pieces. It's hung upstairs on the side of my chalk board pantry. So at breakfast the kids start discussing the day of the week and date. They are responsible for changing it every morning- also by Carson Dellosa.  We also have 365 saint magnets that we made from that sticker set you see here- the idea for the Saint Magnets is in this book. We look at our regular dry erase calender upstairs for the Saint of the Day so we have a picture for when we read our daily saint of the day book.

Oh and the chairs for the desk are called Flash Furniture, tractor seat drafting chair. I found them on Amazon from so many different sellers on the web, seems they vary in price all over from as low as $34 and everyone has free shipping. They adjust with a handle and piston and so far we have not had a problem with any of them.
There is a lot more I would like to share. Maybe I should host a classroom link up. I know when I was searching for classroom ideas I had to look all over the internet.  A link up would have been handy for me.

If you have specific questions on prices and where to buy things shoot me an email or leave a comment. I will be glad to provide answers to what I can!

Our Liturgical Calender we are just getting stuff on- idea came from this book. And Knox's artwork from this past summer.


  1. This is awesome! I love reading how you were able to modify thing or find things on Craigslist to get the look you want.

    1. Thanks! That $1000 desk was soo cool. I knew I would get my way ;) Did you see my thrift store finds? I am so cheap I swear. How are you guys!? I bet it's snowing up there already. We got warm again today. And allergies are back ;(


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