Every homeschool is as unique as the people in it. Our lives are different too. And our homeschool spaces also vary from huge rooms and remodeled spaces to the dining room table. No situation is necessarily better than another. What’s really important is the quality education we strive for.
However, a good space is an important place to begin no matter how small. It is possible to homeschool in small spaces. And if you are in the same preparation phase for homeschooling as I am, then you are probably getting your curriculum ordered and a space made for your homeschool.
I am a military spouse. And things change for me rapidly. I have had 15 homes in 17 years and 11 “homeschool rooms” in 12+ years of homeschooling. That’s a lot a change. So I have had about every way of setting up a homeschool room. Since our oldest daughter just moved back home and we have a small home, I am in the process of downsizing from a homeschool room to a homeschool area. So I will share with you some of the things I feel are essential for my homeschool and how I worked them into my main living area with out it taking over. Because after the “school day” is over, this is the same space where we have family meal and entertain friends and family so it needs to be functional, neat and appealing.
Homeschooling in Small Spaces: The Basics
Here are a few things that I think most homeschools require:
- Basic office supplies- computer/printer, stapler, pencil sharpener, paper cutter, scissors, tape, etc. My homeschool room doubles as my office so everything is an arms length away. Most of these items are stored in my desk.
- School and craft supplies- crayons, pencils, paint supplies, glue, kids scissors, paper, etc. Since my homeschool is located in my dining area I use a cupboard closest to the dining room.
- Child’s book storage or area- A box, bag, crate, or place for your child’s consumable curriculum. We have a hanging pocket organizer that I got from Walmart for $8.95. This won’t hold books if you use lots of textbooks but it is great for us since we use mostly workbooks, CD/DVD’s, notebooking pages and unit studies. Each subject has a pocket and he goes right down them in order; so it is a schedule for us as well.
- Desk or table for working on- either for you, your child/children or both. My desk gets used whenever he needs the computer. But most book work will be done at the dining room table this year. Even when we had a “homeschool room” we almost always ended up reading on the living room sofa. And though many of us have the treasured homeschool room we almost always do some or most of our study in various places in our home. So just don’t feel bad if you can’t have a huge and “amazing” homeschool room! It isn’t necessary. What is necessary, is a place of functionality, comfort and appeal.
- Bookshelf, cabinet or some other storage for books, games, and other school supplies. I have a simple cabinet shelf with doors. I love that it has doors. I don’t like the feel that an open bookshelf would give off in my living space as a forever homeschool room. This cabinet stores all my other materials with out worrying about seeing then. It is a huge blessing!
Those are the basics and from there it depends on your style of learning, methods, and number of children how you set up your room. For those of us who have small spaces to work with keeping things simple and sticking to the basics is most important.
Clutter Free Homeschool
In order to make things work I had to get rid of the clutter and the excess. I didn’t have that much but I was surprised at how much I still had to pitch. Granted, I only have one child that I am currently teaching so that helps some. Since no one else can use things when he is finished the extra pressure of having to keep things for the next child is gone. But even if that is not a factor still try to ask yourself if you will really need and will actually use something before you decide to keep it. Reference books, non-consumable curriculum and readers are good for keeping and developing a library. But everything else you should be choosy about.
One thing that is important to me is making the area pleasant and fitting for the rest of the room. I added finishing touches to make my homeschool room comfortable and to make it feel like it belongs in the room hosting it! I added a few items I just have to have accessible such as a clock, calendar, dry erase and cork boards. But I added them in a style I can live with through out the year because it is in my main living space. The final touch was vinyl lettering of a meaningful scripture passage. It will be our passage for the year so it will be there reminding us all year long.