Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects







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Posted on Jul 9 2013 - 4:00am by Jill
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Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

I am happy to bring my next installment of the new Real Life of Homeschooling monthly blog hop on the second Tuesday of every month that I plan to continue to participate in to show the world that homeschooling has other components that are not just book work and tests.  This month I am going to share the importance of being able to make almost anything done around the house that has a school application into a homeschooling lesson.  In our home we tend to recycle certain pieces of furniture and my husband sometimes includes the children.  When he does we usually come together as a family and learn about what dad is trying to teach us.  This month I was fortunate enough to be covering the math topic of fractions, and what better way to learn math in the real world then by creating something out of wood, right?

So, with this in mind my husband and Beck had to see what we had and what we needed.  I have been looking for a way to better organize myself in my school room, so my husband suggested that maybe, just maybe he and Beck could make me a lectern to use while teaching.  Since our homeschool room incorporates a white board I thought this was a great idea.  I bet you are wondering, this sounds more like a do-it-yourself project then a real world homeschooling experience.  I can agree with that, but if you read on you will see how something like making a lectern can be a homeschool learning experience.

The first thing to do was answer Beck’s first question: what is a lectern?  I went online with him and we researched what a lectern was.  We then went up to our school room and my husband handed Beck a tape measure.  This was not any ordinary tape measure, but rather one with graduations on it that read in fractions.  Beck had to size up the area and write the measurements down on a piece paper so that when he was helping build our new lectern he could make sure it fit in the space I had to use it in.

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

As you can see, this was going to be a great hands-on way for Beck to practice his fraction skills during this real world homeschooling project.

So while my husband collected the wood we had to use, I took the time to review basic fractions with Beck.  He was none too happy to be doing fractions, but once he realized that he would have to use a tape measure he perked right and didn’t seem to mind anymore.  At the moment we had a bunch of extra wood from a bed frame and head board we made.  Beck used his tape measure to rattle off measurements of wood.  He found a bunch that he said would meet dad’s thoughts to use for out lectern.  He found out that when dad mentions a 2×12 it should be 2 inches by 12 inches, like dad says, right? But Beck found out that a 2×12 is actually 1 3/4 inches by 11 1/8 inches.  Beck found out the fractions without even trying.  It was starting to work.  He was doing fractions without even knowing it.  Before long we had our wood picked out.

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

Beck and I then measured a few times and decided that I wanted to have the back, or tallest side of the lectern at the wall a total of 48 inches tall.  Then I decided that it would be best to have the front edge at 44 inches for a comfortable height for me when I was teaching.  This way I could place the book or example I was using to teach on a steady and flat surface.  My husband help Beck mark out the measurements using the tape measure, being sure that it was exactly right, and then used his tools to help Beck draw a line between them like this:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

My husband briefly took over and safely cut the piece of wood.  Then he had Beck measure and mark another board and compared it to the first.  Since Beck is a perfectionist, it came out almost exactly the same.  Here is the second board marked to be cut.  See how it lines up nicely with the first? Good job Beck!

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

Then it was time to pick a good width for my shelf portions of the lectern.  Beck and I again used the tape measure to find out how wide I wanted to make my lectern.  Beck wanted to make it fun for my husband, so he said he wanted to make them 22 7/8 inches wide, but my husband recommend for the sake of storage that we should make them an even 24 inches.  So, with that said Beck and my husband proceeded to measure, mark and cut two side pieces and two shelves. Then my husband asked Beck to measure how wide the top shelf would need to be if it was to lay on top of the side pieces.  Beck was quick on the draw.  He said, “24 inches dad, like the rest.”  So, my husband went along with it and started to put the lectern together.  Then it started to dawn on Beck and he said, ‘Um, dad, I think the top needs to be longer.’  My husband agree and we told him that he did a great job using his math skills to solve the problem.  Then, to both of our surprises, Beck took the tape measure and measured the two side thicknesses and added them to the shelf length and said that we should use a length of about 15 inches for the top shelf.  This was a great hands on use of his math fraction skills since he added up three fractions to get his answer.  I also asked for a lip to prevent my books from falling off so Beck and my husband measured, marked, and cut a 2×4 to the same 15 inch length.  Now all the pieces we ready to assemble,

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

At this point my husband helped Beck divide the side pieces and measure the fractional portion of the length I needed to place two rows of books on the lectern shelves.  Then, from the side my husband helped Beck split the shelf length into about three places and screwed the shelves in like this:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

We then used Beck’s fraction skills to help my husband install the shelves flat using his level.  Beck helped him raise and lower the shelves to make sure that all, and not part of the bubble was aligned making the shelf flat like this:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

After installing the shelves to the sides, Beck helped my husband install the lectern top and lip.  The finished assembly looks like this:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

Here is what the lectern looks like from the side.

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

It was great to see Beck working on his fractions with this project in a real world homeschooling project. From measuring the space we had to put the lectern in to helping my husband measure, mark, and cut pieces of wood to installing the pieces using a 3rds and 4ths fractions, it was great to see Beck using his math fraction skills to help build my new DIY Lectern.

Once it was all completed it was time to head off to the hardware store and get some paint.  I thought it would be nice to let Elizabeth participate too, so she got to pick the color out.  She decided on the appropriate magical homeschooling color of Pixie!  I thought our math lessons were over, but it turns out that the color she choose has a formula for it and the paint person at the hardware store told the kids what it was.  Beck immediately turned to my husband and I and said, ‘See, the paint color is 1/4 white and 3/4 magenta!” I was so proud of him for remembering to use his fractions.

At that point the fractions lesson was over.  As Beck and Elizabeth enjoyed some time in the pool, my husband sanded the wood, painted the lectern with primer (he had it 1/2 tinted to Elizabeth’s color choice), and then painted it. Here is the lectern with primer applied to it:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

My husband said that having the primer tinted to half or maybe more of the actual color he would not have to apply so many coats of paint to reach Elizabeth’s chosen color.  Here is my lectern finished with the final paint color applied and drying:

Real Life Homeschooling with DIY Projects

Now my new lectern is loaded and ready for the first day of school next month. What a wonderful addition to my homeschooling room and it was an added bonus that Beck got to reinforce his math fraction skills in a real world homeschooling experience.

Real Life Homeschooling

We would love for you to link up below any posts that shows how homeschooling happens in real life just as well as during the typical “school hours”. Possible ideas include: field trips, special projects, community service, what your child learned in the grocery store/barn yard/park/etc., family trips, church events, the possibilities are endless.


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  • If they teach shop in high school, then woodworking is definitely a school thing 🙂

  • Now, to teach my husband how to make things with wood…lol. He's not a wood worker, that's for sure, but this project looks pretty simple for even him.

  • I LOVE this Jill!! 🙂 You guys did a great job. 🙂

  • This is a great project! Measuring and figuring out length and area is a super way to use everyday math with the kids.

  • I love when academic learning can be applied to real-life activities! And, how great that this learning project led to something new for your schoolroom!

  • Can I just say how much I love the COLOR of your lectern? I so would not be able to get away with one that color in my all male household! LOL!

  • That's super cute! I love that it's pink!