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?”
Many 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