How to Homeschool in Small Spaces

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Homeschooling in Small Spaces | Harrington HarmoniesEvery 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.

Homeschool Storage and Style for Small Spaces | Harrington Harmonies

My desk drawer stores office essentials and baskets above store scissors, pencils and index cards. My kitchen cupboard houses crafty stuff while a pocket hanger serves as a holder for my sons books and papers…each pocket holds a subject.

Homeschooling in Small Spaces: The Basics

Here are a few things that I think most homeschools require:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Hoemschooling in small spaces. | Harrington Harmonies

Keeping only what I know I will use and having a space for putting things away makes my homeschool area easy to switch from school room to dinner table.

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.

Add you homeschool style to small spaces. | Harrington HarmoniesHomeschooling With Style

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.

Visit many other homeschool rooms and area ideas or share your own by linking up here: Hip Homeschool Moms- School Room Inspiration and…Not  Back to School Blog Hop


  1. says

    I like the Scripture decal on your wall. Where’d you get it?? Thanks for sharing this post. . . great ideas for this mama of 6! We do not have the biggest place to school in and I’ve got 3 I’m teaching and then 3 under the age of 3. . .space -saving is a must for me.

    • says

      I got the scripture all verse at Hobby Lobby. It was really easy to apply. I have found that in some cases it’s just not feasible to have a whole room for homeschooling and that it can be done in any room in your house. There are several ways to make schooling fit the home environment.

  2. Sara says

    Thank you for this lovely post. We are also in the military and I am planning on homeschooling my four year old daughter next year. It is wonderful to know you have been able to create a space wherever you have gone.

    • says

      Yes, you can create a homeschool space anywhere. When a “room” isn’t available good tricks are creating corners for things either in a particular room for things or throughout the house. I’ve done both. Baskets are great for creating “centers” for different subject areas and bookshelves can also be used. Using what you have available in comfort is best!

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing your tips for effective small space school rooms. I have four little ones and we place a lot of value on our peace corner as well. It lets them have a place of their own near us where they can think and be work alone if needed.

  4. Amy says

    This is terrific. We use a living space to school in as well and I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep what we need on hand without making it look “schooly.” Love your neutral palette and tidy, restful space. Where did you get the black whiteboard calendar?

    • says

      I found the black dry erase at Walmart actually. They have white writing pens. I think they also have several other colors. I went with black because that ties into my black accents in a bistro type style kitchen. I did my best with a low budget and am pretty happy how it all came out. We have a tough job when there is no “homeschool room” but our other living space. But glad I found something I can live with! The cabinet has proven to be well worth the investment as I can store experiments, and other projects away as we work on them.

  5. Dena says

    I love your homeschool space. Where did you get your vinyl scripture verse? I have been looking for one like that.

  6. Dawn says

    It looks great. You have done a wonderful job with all of the moving. I am still recovering from our move 8 months ago!
    Blessings, Dawn

    • says

      Moving really is tough. Even though I have done it many times it’s still difficult – just a whole lot of work. So I understand that it takes a while. Still having a garage sale this weekend myself to get rid of the extra stuff we accumulate. I don’t know how it keeps adding up!

    • says

      Thank you. Some years I am more pleased than others with my homeschool room or area. This one has been very pleasing to me. It seems to have the right balance of storage with easy access and still remains de-cluttered, at least on most days! :)

  7. Janet says

    We’ve been homeschooling 12 years and have lived in the same house 17 years. Our house is quite small. I’ve learned over the years to get creative with storage, since our house doesn’t have much storage space. Furniture with drawers and otomans and shelves help tremendously. I guess it’s been God’s way of teaching me to be organized.

    It’s gotten a lot easier the last few years since our youngest daughter started using Time4Learning, which is an online curriculum. I haven’t had to purchase a lot of workbooks, like I did with my older kids. We do still buy a lot of good readers, which are kept on their shelves. My high schoolers have had a lot of books each year for science, history, math, literature…it all adds up to a lot of books in little space. However, this year Time4Learning is adding high school, which we’re so excited about. Not only will we have to store less books and materials, but it will be a lot less expensive!

    By the way, your rooms look so organized and pretty. I like the lettering on the wall. I’ve always wanted to do that.

    • stephanie says

      Thank you for the compliment! We have used time4learning in the summers as a supplement. It’s a great option! And yes, more online classes does eliminate the need for text and workbooks which can really add up with multiple kids.

  8. says

    Oh my this is what I’ve been looking for. How to make my small space work for us. I am lucky to have enough room for a desk and our workbox system drawer set. But there are more resources I wanted to add to the mix for the kids and just didn’t have the space to do it. Great ideas!

  9. says

    Love this post. I’ve been homeschooling in mall spaces for quite some time! It’s amazing how we find ways to tastefully cram it all in, isn’t it?

  10. Catherine says

    Thanks for this Stephanie! Your space looks completely functional and stylish. We will be working out of our dining room as well this year and are looking for organization ideas, as opposed to just throwing everything into and ontop of cabinets in no particular order.
    I need a professional homeschool organizer to come in, so more posts like this please! Looking forward to art this year!

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