Room for schoolroom?

A reader asked,
“My rental home is tiny and we don’t know if we can homeschool as we are supposed to. What suggestions do you have?”

2-20150123_065051Many new homeschool parents have a “school-at-home” mindset.  I was your typical first-time homeschool mom who took great pride in setting up a whiteboard and neat, organized schoolroom, only to find that we spent most our time together on the couch in the livingroom!  When your children are very young, there is no need to set up any formal schooling room or space.   Life is the lesson,  and your approach should be to provide  your children ample opportunity to explore and discover.  Add some good children’s story books to read aloud, and you have a wonderful, diverse, informal education.

Learning takes place everywhere, all the time.  I would recommend a low table and chairs for toddlers to play, paint, build on and do pre-writing activities.  You can place this in any suitable spot in your home.  Keep all your children’s supplies, books and equipment in a basket or on a shelf, low enough for the littlest child to reach.

We once travelled around South Africa for a year and a half with our kids who were then Pre-school, Grade 2 and Grade 7 ( Pre-school, Junior and Middle schoolers).  We packed our homeschool basics in a small suitcase and followed a very relaxed schedule.  Some weeks were filled with long car journeys and visits, while other weeks we were more settled at the places that we stopped at for a while.  Despite my fears that we would “fall behind”,  we didn’t!  We had no school room or special space to “do school”.  My kids journalled or did school work at the diningroom table or on the patio table.  I learnt how little one really needs to have a rich, rewarding education.

High school children need their own independent learning space to do their work.  They may need a laptop and desk in their rooms, and then they can join the family for read alouds, fine arts and crafts and hobbies.  We have one desktop computer in the study for all online schooling, research and printing needs.  This makes the study our schoolroom, but we still remain flexible and fluid in our working space and habits. Essentially, our study is a storage depot with space to be creative!

In my experience, any table with chairs become the schooling area.  You may need to come up with creative storage plans so that everyone can quickly pack away their stuff if the table is needed for meals.  Baskets, storage boxes, a bookshelf, a suitcase, chair bags, a trolley or cupboard can help keep things organized and on hand.

All good homeschooling families need maximum space for books!  Build and buy good, big bookshelves because your home library will grow over the next few years!

But, if you ever move to a larger home, I’m sure you will be relieved to have a study/ school/ hobby area dedicated to your homeschool needs.  And there are plenty of inspirational pictures and ideas of wonderful homeschool rooms on Pinterest and Google.  It will all depend on the seasons in your homeschool journey.

Hope this post encourages you to start anywhere, anytime, with no devoted school room.   What suggestions do you have for this new homeschool mom?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

Wishing you every blessing in your homeschool journey! Nadene

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4 thoughts on “Room for schoolroom?

  1. I like this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with all of us. At first I thought it was good for both of our children to have their own work space, then I decided the table worked just fine. So, we’ve been doing our “table work” at the table and when we are done we put everything away and we are free to learn with hands on things like legos and computer programming. Thanks again. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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  2. When we first began homeschooling, we used small, adjustable tables so we could have the height right for our two children (both 6 but different heights) to aid with learning to write and so they would each have their own “space”. As we didn’t have a dedicated space for homeschooling, it was in the dining/family room which was quite large. As this house was a rental, we knew it wasn’t “forever” and once house hunting, looked for a house with a room we could dedicate to homeschooling. Found a house with a wonderful basement that had lots of room and had a large window for natural light that would be “perfect” for our homeschool room and all our stuffs. Two years later–we were on the couch, at the dining room table, in the bedrooms, basically everywhere except the “homeschool” room. I know families that have desks in their bedrooms for individual studying, the dining room table for group studying, and everything in-between. I once thought a dedicated space just for homeschooling would be best. Now seven years in, it’s not so important. Learning is anywhere you put it–the table, the couch, the grocery store, at a baseball game, at ballet, makes no difference. My son does taekwondo and his coach after every tournament asks, “what did you learn today to make you better?” Made no difference to him if you won or lost–the important thing–did you learn something to make you better. Same thing with homeschooling. The place/space doesn’t matter so much– what does matter–are you learning and getting better?

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