Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Don't Have Bulletin Board, Either

I described my ridiculously small homeschool space last week.  Because of the small space i have to work with, I generally need to think outside of the box when it comes to standard issue classroom things, such as chalk boards.  Since we don't have room for that useful item, you may have guessed, we also don't have room for other, "frivolous" things, such as bulletin or cork boards.   For quite some time, I tried to figure out a way to get around this in a similar way to my solution for the chalk board situation, but, alas, mini white boards do have their limits.  Finally, it hit me.  The answer to my problem was literally at my fingertips.

I give you: The Bulletin Tabletop!

It's hard to take pictures in my kitchen
without them being on a weirdish angle.
From homeschool work space to snack central without
the hassle of removing all of the learning materials.

That's right folks, for under $4 at Walmart, I was able to pick up two yards of heavy duty, ultra polished, extra clear vinyl, which I then trimmed to fit my own table.  Now, we use it for a variety of things.  Sometimes it's a replacement for the usual bulletin board displays in classrooms, with seasonal decorations and the like.  Often though, it's a place to keep copies of "need to be studied" words and math facts.  I place them at the appropriate child's normal spot, and voila!  Instant passive reinforcement.

Our current display
At other times, such as around the holidays, it can be used as a display for typical classroomy things, such as the month, the birthdays (although with homeschooling, there's really not that many in the whole school to worry about), seasonal symbols, holy cards, basically anything that is flat and appropriate to the time of year.

A third use, one I haven't tried yet, at least not on purpose, is for practicing letter formation and sums.  Dry erase markers wipe right off of the vinyl with a soft cloth or even the kitchen sponge, making it the perfect spot for constant practice without constantly replenishing the paper supply.

Artist's recreation
Finally, on a practical note, I now understand an Italian grandmother's urge to cover her entire home in plastic.  My son got a non-washable, non-dry-erase marker out without my knowing it the other day, which would normally have been fine.  That day, however, he went a little, crazy.  He started out intending to draw something on a piece of paper, but ended up scribbling all over that and the tabletop surrounding it.  I mean, it looked like a hyper chihuahua covered in red ink had danced a jig on my kitchen table.  Thankfully, before I freaked out, I remembered the vinyl.  Less than 2 minutes later, and the whole thing was cleaned up.

So there you have it.  My bulletin tabletop made with $4 of clear vinyl.
Do you have any creative solutions to the problem of no wall space in a class room?  I'd love to steal hear them.


  1. I have no brilliant ideas to share, but I'm letting you know in advance that I intend to steal this one! :) Great idea. I want to put a big map under ours.

    Although I did just see a project on Pinterest where she took an old painting from Goodwill and sprayed it with chalkboard paint and turned it into a chalkboard (I want to steal that idea too). Maybe you could do that and just pull it out when you need it?

    1. Thanks for the heads up, Michelle. :) I saw the chalkboard idea too, and I may totally do that, if I can find a Goodwill painting that I don't actually want to use as a painting. I love the map idea! If only I had more tables...