The Homeschool Room, or as we call it, The Study
I have never really been into the idea of a homeschool room, or at least one that looks like a classroom. We tend to work and learn and explore all over the house and outside it too! The reality, though, is that I L-O-V-E the idea of having a dedicated space for books, supplies, games, and more. In our old house, everything was stored in the basement and we worked at the kitchen table. It functioned, but not well.
We recently moved into a new house that has a study/library off the living room, and I saw my chance. My kids love being in this room. It has amazing energy, is warm and cozy, and has a place for everything. I wanted to have a space that was useful, made their books and supplies easily accessible, and contained (to any amount possible) the celebrated messes that come with imagination and experimentation. Here is what we came up with:
The upper built in bookshelves hold all of our more adult books while the lower shelves hold kids books, maps, building materials and more. The kids art is displayed abundantly on the walls and on the shelves. The kids table is from Pottery Barn, as are the chairs, all of which I got for a great deal on eBay. The piano is a family heirloom. The rug is IKEA and is beautiful but inexpensive so if it gets glue stick on it, it not only washes well but doesn’t freak me out.
Another view of the room. You can see the table has a built in paper roll that the kids can pull over and draw directly on. It also has drawers that store stamps, stickers, staplers, and more. By the window is a little case that looks like a greenhouse. This is where the kids like to keep all their treasures: beautiful rocks, birds nests, sculptures, whatever they find precious is displayed with honor here. We have not unpacked our (Waldorf inspired) nature table materials yet, but that will also go here.
The closet is where I store pretty much everything else. Current lessons, related materials and books, puzzles, games, extra art supplies, kits, microscopes, the list goes on. It is a huge closet and I love that it all has a place and I can shut the door and not see it when I don’t want to. Not pictured is the dry erase board I pull out when needed and the small board with the days of the week in which I write our anticipated schedule for the week. I make sure to put a little star by things (like playdates) that could change, since two of my kids tend to be very disappointed when things they were counting on don’t happen.
Now, here is the sad part. I was just getting the room to where we were happy with it when we found out that our foundation contractors will need to rip open one of the walls in this room. That means I have to pack it all back up until the work is finished. The kids are so sad because they love it in here. Until then, everything we need for the Fall needs to go on this free bookshelf my mother gave me that I stuck in my living room:
As you can see, I have started organizing now, so I don’t have to do it all right before we begin lessons again in September, which is the same time construction starts. I will also have no kitchen, so really this is the least of our challenges! When the room is all put back together, I will have to do another post on what we learned and what we changed!
Hope this gives you some ideas about how a homeschooling room can really be a warm place that supports and encourages exploration and creativity!
Update: A friend asked me about my personal organization and I am happy to share. I saw this Desk Apprentice on another homeschoolers blog and thought it might be exactly what I needed. It was bigger than I expected, but it definitely does the job I needed it to do. It holds extra supplies, all the copies and materials for the entire session (we work in 6 week blocks), and my planner. There are simpler, cheaper versions than what I bought, but this year I tried a planner from LOLU Designs. Admittedly, while it had everything I needed and some things I don’t, I partly chose it because it was beautiful. If you are going to be using something every day, I think having it be aesthetically pleasing is just as important as having it function well. Plus, I got to support an independent artist. This was a step up for me from the cheap Target month view planner I had last year, but given our family’s new plan to be more structured, it has been invaluable. Finally, I got a big desk calendar from Target where I write work related appointments and deadlines. I also have a Google calendar online for both family and work, but I am the sort of person who has to also physically write it down. I am hoping this helps us all achieve our goals for this year!
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