Down Home

The SLOCA Blog

Down Home Virtual Tour: The Giauque Family

January 9th, 2018

{photos by Amaya Giauque}

We are diving back into the school year with another virtual tour through one of our SLOCA family’s home learning areas. These posts are meant to share ideas and give an interesting look at how people do SLOCA at home, and we hope that they encourage you to get together with other SLOCA parents in person, to see each other’s spaces and share what works for you.

Today, we are visiting the home of Amaya and Greg Giauque, a Track A family in their 5th year at SLOCA. Amaya wrote this back in November and we are thrilled to finally share it with our readers:

Homeschool Organization, Or Lack Thereof

At first, I wasn’t sure I should participate in this blog post category because I do not claim to be an organized homemaker or homeschool teacher. I used to be organized, but having a family has changed that. Can anyone relate? After giving the idea some thought, though, I came around to the notion of sharing what works for us in the hopes that someone might find a tidbit that helps and/or inspires them in their homeschooling journey.

Our family consists of me, Amaya, my husband, Greg, our sons William (LMS) and Michael (Primary), and our dog Millie (1.5-year-old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel). This is the first year that both boys are at SLOCA and I felt the need to attempt to get a little more “organized” this summer since I would have a class of two on home days.

Our homeschool space and has changed over the years as we have moved houses, done some remodeling and our family’s needs have evolved. We have done schoolwork on the kitchen table, in the backyard, at the beach, at Panera Bread, at coffee shops, on the couch, in bed, in hotel rooms, on boats, at parks, in libraries, at museums, in the car, in the hammock and, yes, even at a desk!

Over the summer I set up this “desk” for the boys made of shelves and a world map placed on top. The idea was that their school books and supplies could be within easy reach and they would each have a place to sit and do their work. Brilliant… right? It turns out that craft supplies overtook the shelves and only one of my children likes sitting here so, for now, I have shoddily sorted piles of books on the floor and William sits at the desk while Michael sits at a small table across the room.

Here’s a pano view of home base for our homeschooling efforts (click to enlarge):


This is the table I am referring to and the spot where William gets most of his work done:


And this is what said table looks like at the end of each day (should this go in a Friday Flops blog post?):


Michael usually chooses to sit at this little table, which seems to suit/fit him:


Greg and I both love books and our eldest, William, is an avid reader so book storage is always an issue for us. We have shelves all over the house, piles of books everywhere you look, boxes of books in the garage and attic and I am always looking for more ways to store BOOKS… Here are some pictures of a few of our current book-storage solutions:   


While I like the concept of bringing more organization into our school room and our days, what I honestly like most about the homeschooling aspect of SLOCA is that we can be flexible and that our school “room” can be wherever we happen to be. For example:

Mammoth Lakes – Can you spot William in the first picture?:


Convict Lake:


Learning about tufa and biodiversity at Mono Lake:


And exploring the city of Reno:


As a recovering perfectionist/neat freak, if parenthood, and perhaps more specifically homeschooling and parenting, has taught me anything it is the understanding that the mess of parenting is what gives depth to its joy. That there is happiness to be found in the midst of the mayhem if we embrace it instead of constantly struggling to hide it, straighten it up, or "fix" it. It’s the realization that parenting was never about controlling every minute element, but instead more of an exercise in letting go. Letting go of our plans. Letting go of perfection, of structure, of order. Letting go of expectations, personal wants and needs and the opinions of others. Letting go of our convictions and embracing transformative change. Letting go of what sometimes feels like our last ounce of sanity in order to make room for true love that knows no boundaries.

When I think back on our homeschooling experience thus far, I see that for us the best learning can happen outside of the schoolroom, in nature, on trips, with friends, and I am grateful that SLOCA affords us the opportunity to blend book learning with real-life experiences. I will sign off with a favorite saying of my mother’s: “Life is learning. Cutting class is not an option.” And a picture of Millie on her first birthday, just because…

Thank you, Amaya – it’s wonderful and inspiring to see your learning spaces, both inside the home and out!

SLOCA parents, if you would like to send in a post like this, we’d love to share your home learning areas too. Just send us an email and we will help you put it together.

We would also love to start a similar series featuring snippets of people’s home learning areas – just one or two simple photos of your homeschool room (or corner). It doesn’t have to be an entire room, it could be a desk area, table, bookshelf, organization station, etc. – any part of your SLOCA home space that works for you. It’s quick and easy to participate: just email 1 or 2 photos and a very short description to We think it would be fantastic to get lots of real-life ideas being used right now by our families. Let us know if you’re interested!