INTERIOR DESIGN :: Home Office and Homeschool Room (in an Apartment with Limited Space)


Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Several months ago, I had the exciting opportunity to style a practical workspace for Babiekins Magazine; one that would function both for working from home and homeschooling. (Previously, I had styled a global-themed kids bedroom, too.) Since we live in an apartment, I didn’t have a dedicated room to serve as a home office and school room, so I cleared one wall of our living room instead. And I really didn’t want it to be a primary color menagerie of school posters.

There are a few things I really like about this space. Of course the huge wall map is right up at the top of the list! And I love the big white rug to cover the rental carpet. But I also really love how the wardrobe from IKEA hides away the printer and all the messy office/school supplies — leaving room for “pretty things, my dear”. (Oliver Twist, anyone?) And the pine bench, another IKEA find, is amazingly comfortable, and is the perfect arrangement for my daughter and to work side-by-side.

You might notice there aren’t many books in these photos — our bookcases are actually stashed in various places throughout our apartment, so they didn’t all fit in these photos. But boy, do we have a lot of books. A LOT. (My husband is legitimately concerned about this. Don’t tell him each Sonlight core adds 50 or more, give or take a dozen.)

It’s no secret I’m in love with words. I love to try to untangle the words in my mind, and coax them into sentences no one has ever read before. I love to read the expertly-woven words of not just classic authors, but contemporary voices, too. The middle ages print from the late 1400s — showing the arduous process of writing a book in the 1100s — reminds me that it hasn’t always been easy for one’s voice to be heard. This reminder, along with the “Let Your Light Shine In the Darkness” poster, spurs me on to keep speaking out.

I’m so pleased with the way our homeschool room / home office turned out — it’s such a happy, inspiring, wonderful space. (All styling by me, Gina Munsey; and thanks to Priscilla Barbosa Photography for the images!)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

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Oaxacaborn's Homeschool Room (as featured in Babiekins Magazine print edition)

You can catch this room in the special “#SCHOOLKINS: Books, Bugs & Discovery” interior design section of the 7th print issue of Babiekins Magazine, available here.  And if you have questions about any of the items shown, just leave a comment! :)


DESK :: Malm, c/o IKEA Orlando
WALL MAP :: National Geographic, via The Map Center

MAP RAILS :: c/o Posterhanger
PINE WARDROBE :: Nornäs used as bookshelf, c/o IKEA Orlando
PINE BENCH :: Nornäs, c/o IKEA Orlando
MOROCCAN SHAG RUG :: c/o Rugs USA
GLASS JAR :: Korken, via IKEA Orlando
CERAMIC VASE :: Stylist’s Own, from Mexico City
BAMBOO SPEAKERS :: c/o Otis & Eleanor
METAL LAMP and EDISON BULB :: c/o Lamps Plus
LET LIGHT SHINE PRINT :: Naptime Diaries
DESKTOP CACTUS & TROPICAL PLANT ::  Lowe’s
SPACEPACK BACKPACKS :: c/o lukids.ru
PRINT RAILS :: c/o Posterhanger
MIDDLE AGES PRINT  :: Matthaeus Platearius Writing “The Book of Simple Medicines” via AllPosters.com
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY PRINT :: Book Cover Print via AllPosters.com
ROW OF 3 PRINTS :: Emily McDowell Studio and Jessica Sprague Printables
LAMP and SHADE :: Target
COWHIDE ::  Koldby, c/o IKEA Orlando
BOOKCASE :: Billy, via IKEA Orlando

PERCH CHAIR :: c/o Room & Board
STUDENT DESK :: Flash Furniture Desk with Metal Book Box, via Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection: Any Amazon links you encounter above are “affiliate links” provided in conjunction with my participation in Amazon.com’s Associates Program. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. Amazon.com has not required me to place these links, nor do they have any control over which resources I choose to share. Please be assured, only the Amazon links above are affiliate links. None of the other links in this post are affiliate programs.. Of course I only recommend products or services I use personally, and I will always disclose any such links in a disclaimer such as this one.

To receive an update in your inbox each time I publish a post, click here.

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture


#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

If you’re teaching your kids Mandarin Chinese and are looking for a hands-on way to supplement the lessons, or if you’re searching for summer kids’ craft projects which are also culturally and historically relevant, you’ll love this book. Now that Chinese school is out for the summer, we’re looking forward to creating shadow puppets, lanterns, traditional knots, banners, and even a floating dragon boat — all from the instructions and templates in the “Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts”!

Author Jennifer DeCristoforo has provided clear, illustrated, step-by-step instructions for each project; she also explains how the craft relates to Chinese culture. Throughout the book, “Did You Know?” sidebars entertain and inform, and photographs and art provide insight into traditional art forms.

Each craft is given a Level 1 through Level 4 designation to mark the difficulty. Level 1 crafts can be attempted by 3- to 6-year-olds, while a Level 4 activity is ideal for 12- to 15-year olds. Regardless of complexity, the directions remain simple and engaging, with  illustrations and icons to aid the crafter. Where intricate designs — or Chinese characters — are required to complete a project, the book’s appendix contains all the reproducible templates needed (this is a huge plus!)

And the book lends itself well to actual, practical use, because the practical spiral-binding means the book easily stays open and lies flat, and the hardcover and thick, glossy pages hold up against heavy wear.

This book really is a celebration. Jennifer DeCristoforo’s daughter was adopted from China in 2003, and “Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture” is a beautiful tribute to her heritage.

You can purchase the “Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts” on Amazon, or order directly from Jennifer, so more of the proceeds go to the author and not to Amazon. ;)

If you want to see even more book recommendations, follow my Instagram account, @oaxacaborn, and watch for the #oaxacabornreads hashtag. To receive an update in your inbox each time I publish a post, click here.

Happy summer of crafting!

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

WEB_13_Oaxacaborn_Lucky-Bamboo-Book-of-Crafts_Chinese-Crafts

WEB_4_Oaxacaborn_Lucky-Bamboo-Book-of-Crafts_Chinese-Crafts

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

WEB_20_Oaxacaborn_Lucky-Bamboo-Book-of-Crafts_Chinese-Crafts

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

#OAXACABORNREADS // The Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts: Over 100 Projects and Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture

Did you enjoy this post? Click here for the permalink, and then pin to Pinterest.

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for publishing this post. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. I was not required to write a positive review. Of course I only recommend products or services I use personally, and I will always disclose any sponsorships or exchanges in a disclaimer such as this one. Any Amazon links you encounter above are “affiliate links” provided in conjunction with my participation in Amazon.com’s Associates Program. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. Amazon.com has not required me to place these links, nor do they have any control over which resources I choose to share.

Learning

POETRY & WORDS / HOMESCHOOLING :: Why a Global Perspective is an Essential Part of a Christian Worldview


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I’ve always loved maps — the delicate wandering lines, the stars and circles hovering over city centers, the softly-worn paper folds creating ridges and peaks where the creases bisect latitude and longitude.

Maps, to me, are about more than just distance.

Maps hold stories, and remind me how connected we all are.

I’m thrilled to say you can read more of my thoughts on this over on the Sonlight Curriculum blog, where I recently had the chance to talk more about the human connections maps hold, and why I believe a global perspective is absolutely essential for not just homeschoolers, but for all Christians.

Head on over, and leave a comment, if you are so inclined!


Image Credits: Priscilla Barbosa Photography

Books, Books, Books: the Evolution of the Oaxacaborn Blog


Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog

When I started blogging publicly — over at Xanga, fourteen years ago! — I was in college, and blogged too many song lyrics and homework details. Then over the years, I moved back and forth across the country, working at sheet metal factory, a juvenile detention center, and an IT department, and wrote about all the ups and downs. When I became a mother, I even went through a phase where I predictably blogged about cloth diapers (I am so sorry). I’ve written about death, beauty, brokenness, joy — and interior design. And you’ve likely noticed that in the last few months, I’ve written a few longer pieces about homeschooling.

My blogging “methodology”, if you can call it that, hardly follows all the blogging advice. It’s always just followed the seasons of my life. But that’s the beautiful thing about life, too — it’s not stagnant.  It moves like a current. It flows, it goes through seasons, through changeable states of being. Way down at the bottom of this blog, in the footer, Anaïs Nin reminds me, “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog

I kind of feel like things are coming full circle for me, and it all has to do with books. As a girl, I devoured books, and read everything I could get my hands on. Now, it’s only April, and Aveline’s already read 130 books since the beginning of the year. So, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more posts about literature and children’s books, and more posts about homeschooling. (Although, this is no surprise if you follow me on Instagram @oaxacaborn). I have so many good books to share with you all, but I’ve been holding back, thinking for some reason that this isn’t the right place for it, and worried about losing followers. Well, that’s kind of ridiculous. Because when it comes right down to, perhaps, like Margaret Atwood said, “Perhaps, I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”

I’m just thankful some of you keep following along as I scrawl in the snow.

Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog


To shop the books pictured in this post, click on the appropriate photo.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Any Amazon links you encounter above are “affiliate links” provided in conjunction with my participation in Amazon.com’s Associates Program. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. Amazon.com has not required me to place these links, nor do they have any control over which resources I choose to share. Please be assured, only the Amazon links above are affiliate links. None of the other links in this post are affiliate programs. This post is not sponsored in any way. Of course I only recommend products or services I use personally, and I will always disclose any such links in a disclaimer such as this one.

To receive an update in your inbox each time I publish a post, click here.

Choosing Curriculum: 15 Questions to Ask About Everything From Race to Rules


How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum and Evaluate Its Worldview: 15 Questions to Ask on Everything from Race to RulesA few weeks ago, I wrote about the harm of morality-based instruction, and how damaging it is to teach kids that goodness can be achieved just by emulating a list of desirable character traits.  While this perspective is something I consider when I’m evaluating curricula,  obviously not every subject or area of study is going to delve in to the philosophy of morality. So how do I evaluate a publisher’s or curriculum’s worldview? Here are the fifteen questions I ask when making a decision:

  1. Does this material assume all girls should grow up to be wives and raise children, or does it empower and inspire girls to follow whatever path God calls them to, recognizing that not all women marry, and some struggle with infertility? Does it highlight women and girls as independent actors? Does it tell stories of women beyond focusing on their roles in a family?
  2. Does the material promote compliance with a set of rules, or does it allow for freedom and grace?
  3. Does this material emphasize outward virtues and traits with the goal to get the child to imitate certain character values, or does it recognize that it’s only through a heart surrendered to Jesus that a person can only be truly transformed?
  4. Does the material oversimplify good and evil and present it as an easy-to-spot either-or choice; or does it teach analytical and critical thinking skills, discernment, and problem-solving?
  5. Does the material only present what to learn and/or believe, or does it also provide context and a “why” behind the belief?
  6. Does the material present history predominately from a Western perspective, or does it also present facts from a non-European point-of-view?
  7. Does the material perpetuate the idea of “otherness” by teaching about non-European cultures using stereotypical depictions, or does it allow for each culture to have its own strong, rich, identity?
  8. Does the material mainly contain books with white main characters, or does it offer books with nuanced, fully-developed, non-stereotypical heroes and heroines of diverse backgrounds?
  9. Does the material teach (implicitly or explicitly) that the “primary” actors in history or literature are white? Who does it teach my child to identify and sympathize with?
  10. Does the material attempt to “Christianize” certain historical events, or does it recognize that every event has more than one side?
  11. Have I truly evaluated the content and worldview of this material, or am I simply choosing this material because it’s popular in homeschooler subculture?
  12. Will this material allow my child to be challenged to the best of his/her God-given ability, or am I simply choosing this material because of its price point / ease-of-use / etc?
  13. Will this material equip my child to follow any number of career paths God might have in store for him/her, or am I choosing this material because I want my child to follow the path I have in mind?
  14. Is this material based on fear and reliance on man’s own goodness to combat what is perceived as evil, or does it promote courage and a reliance on Jesus?
  15. Is this material designed primarily to shelter and insulate my child, or is it designed to inform, equip, and empower?

To read more of my thoughts on choosing educational material, and why I think education as a Christian should not actually be about sheltering, head over to Sicily’s Heart & Home to read Amanda’s interview with me.