Homeschooling has taken on a new following unlike ever before. So many new families whether intending to or not find themselves schooling at home this year. Naturally questions are swirling with everything from curriculum to home school rooms. A quick scroll through Pinterest can reveal more ideas and inspiration that consumable.
There are so many beautiful homeschool rooms floating around out there and I am amazed at them! Mamas have poured intentional thought and time into creating such lovely spaces. Living small for us means that we do not have room for a homeschool room. We keep most of our homeschool items in our dining room. If you’re in a similar place I want to encourage you today. While homeschool rooms are pretty great (and if we had room I’d probably set one up for us) they aren’t necessary. Some even find that they rarely do their lessons in their actual homeschool room. Here’s how we keep homeschooling minimal and meaningful.
Start with what you already have
Using what you have will be a great start. Getting off the ground with homeschooling is costly enough as it is before adding on the need for furnishing a new space. Instead of running out to buy new furniture or decorations consider repurposing what’s in your home already. To revamp our space this year I looked though the house for things that could be used better or differently in our dining room and ended up moving some things out and bringing in others.
Where to keep materials
The main housing of our homeschool curriculum, supplies, and books is found in a large cube storage shelf from IKEA. Our house is wonderfully small and little hands are usually into everything. I knew I wanted protect them from accessing our curriculum books. Instead of keeping our lesson books on display I keep them tucked into drawers of our bookshelf. Each of my school aged little has her own drawer filled with her curriculum and work books. Every school morning I set out the books up on top of the shelf. As we go through lessons throughout the day we put the books away- cleaning up as we go and giving us the visual of what we’ve accomplished.
Out of sight is better than organized
One way I keep inner peace is by surrendering that battles that aren’t productive or necessary. My children are going to want to create, build, and explore as they learn. It’s good for them and I want to encourage that. One way I encourage it is buy giving them access to craft, paint, and paper materials. They are allowed to make things almost any time they want. As a family we hold firm that if you make a mess, you must clean it up. But, here’s my surrender- cleaning up doesn’t mean every single bit of our materials are perfectly organized. I have two hard and fast rules: When you’re done…
1-Make sure all lids are firmly fastened.
2- I don’t want to see the materials out any more.
For me, away is better than perfect. These jute covered cube boxes hold sewing materials, small manipulatives, paints, and all kinds of random art supplies (buttons, paper bags, yarn, beads, etc) I’m happy to supply these materials for my littles and I’m equally as happy to not see them when they’re not being used. I could have everything in each of the boxes perfectly organized but when my littles dig through them on a creative whim I’ll be tempted to frustration. Why invite that in? As long as nothing is leaking out or spilling I’m ok with a little mess behind shut cubes. It’s not worth loosing inner peace over it.
Is a chalkboard worth it?
A staple in almost every single homeschool room is a chalkboard or a white board. It is honestly not something you have to have. We didn’t have one for my oldest’s kindergarten year. I finally decided I really wanted one so we added it. I have to say we do use it quite a bit. My husband hung it lower on the wall so it’s not centered but it’s accessible so the children can easily reach and write on it. We use it for lessons, practice, and simply for play. It’s magnetic so my youngest loves to play with magnetic letters on it too! (Keeping him entertained while we do lessons is a priority.)
What to display
For the most part, most of our homeschool curriculum and materials are tuck up and away. However, there is value to having some things out and readily available. Having a place to invite curiosity and wonder is fun to curate. On a practical note, it’s nice to be able to just reach for a materials. On a second book shelf we keep, books (shocking!) a jar of manipulatives, a basket of shared curriculum, math tool kits, and some simple hand instruments. This is also a fun place to set out items that match the theme of what we’re studying. It immediately sparks interest and curiosity in my littles- whether I display a new book, hands on tools or activities, or something else- it’s right at their eye level and there by capturing their attention!
What if you did have a school room?
The question was asked of me, what would I use or do if I did have a homeschool room? I can’t deny that I would love setting up a homeschool room but I have to say I would still keep it minimal. I’d likely add another cube storage shelf but on that one I would display just one toy or hands on activity per shelf. I would add a child sized table to the room and I’d consider adding a plant or small pet (fish) for my children to take responsibility caring for. I would definitely add those picture ledges from IKEA to display classic picture books too!
The infamous rolling cart
Last, but certainly not least, our famous art cart! These are quickly becoming more of a homeschool staple than the chalkboard is! AND right now they’re all on sale! This is one thing I hesitated about at first. I didn’t want to buy another thing to use for a little bit and then toss because it took up space. However, I have been pleasantly surprised how much all of us have loved this little cart. I keep art supplies on the bottom two shelves and paper, coloring books, and activity cards on the top shelf. It’s wonderful to roll where ever we’re working and use. I also love how my 7 year old can roll it to her room for room time to create quietly and then roll it right back when she’s done. There are about 100 different ways to use to but however you do, I know you’ll love it too!
So, there you have it- our minimal but meaning fun homeschool fun without a homeschool room! Have a question? Feel free to ask- drop your thoughts in comment box below and I’ll connect back with you! Happy Homeschooling!