When I first pictured us homeschooling I had this idyllic view of three children sitting peacefully at their desks. One would raise their hand and say “Mother dearest, what makes the world go round?”. At this point we would all pour over books and the internet finding the answers.
That’s never happened. Not once. Not even close to once. And actually, it’s much better in reality. They do ask some great questions (and some crazy questions…). But what’s really really different is the space I envisioned. We don’t have any desks. We have a table but we very rarely use it.
A lot of people get caught up on having the perfect homeschool space. But I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t exist. Or I should say, the perfect space doesn’t exist as it is in your head. In reality, the perfect homeschool space is what is available and what works. But that magical room with the gorgeous light, desks, shelves, windows overlooking whatever scene…it does not exist. Even people with gorgeous homeschool rooms will have a thing or two they wish they had.
We live in a small 3 bedroom condo/house (it’s free standing but feels more condo-ish. I don’t know how to describe it – it’s just weird). It’s small. We have one eating area, so there’s no turning an extra dining room into a school room. But this is what we have for now so we manage.
Yes, those are bikes. We very rarely use the table so that’s our storage spot. And we don’t have a shed outside, so this is where the bikes live.
So how do you find a homeschool space?
- Evaluate your needs. Do you do a lot of writing or colors that will require a hard surface? Will most of your lessons be at a table or desk? Or will most involve sitting on the floor or another location? We don’t do a lot of worksheets (ironic, yes?) or writing so we have little use for desks. As it is we don’t even have chairs at our table.
- Do you have an office, playroom, eating space etc that could work for that purpose? We’ve considered having the boys all bunk together in one room and using the other for homeschooling reasons. We ended up just using the dining room and bedrooms as they are.
- Can you use a plastic (or wooden) lapdesk like this one? Michaels often has them very inexpensively. If you could use a lapdesk, you’d save a lot of space.
- What type of storage do you need? Books? Manipulatives? Do you have an extra bookshelf or cabinet to devote to storing those materials?
- Do you need an extra space for messy activities, like science experiments or art?
- If you have multiple kids or a husband/wife that works nights, do you need a quiet area? I have both (3 kids, hubby works nights sometimes) so we have a space for quieter times.
We transitioned our dining room into a homeschool room (that we never use…). It really stores most of our stuff, especially books. We keep some toys on hand in boxes so they don’t get spread out. I do have another space for manipulatives in another room but it’s a disaster.
The bulk of our schooling takes place in 3 locations:
That’s what we have found that works for us. I have the whiteboard set up in a bedroom and the other two children work on the computer. We rotate. As often as possible (once or twice a week, in general) we pack up and take something to the park. The change of scenery does wonders.
So in short, determine what your needs truly are, determine what options you have, and go for it! Worst case scenario, you have to change and try something different.
This is day 3 of my 5 days of Transitioning the Homeschool. Don’t miss the first two days!
This post is part of a 5 Day Hopscotch with iHomeschool Network. Don’t miss the other great 5 day series of posts including baking, Shakespeare, simplifying, and much more!