a PLACE in SPACE & TIME for Homeschool

Inner Space . . . or Outer Space?

I was Homeschooled growing up (surprise!) along with my four brothers and sisters. We had a beautiful (and large) Homeschool Room, complete with vintage wooden desks, 1960’s jumbo-sized ABC mounts on the walls, a truly giant art cupboard, abundant book shelves, and a charming green chalkboard.

school room

Everyday, we started school with our Opening Exercises (songs) in our Homeschool Room, and then—somehow—about an hour into the school day, we ended up. . . at the dining room table. There is just something about being close to your mom while she is cooking (especially if she is baking bread and cinnamon rolls like mine was). We also always ended up on the couch for reading time because . . . who wants to read at a desk when you have a couch and a collection of throw pillows to plop down on?

Until two months ago, our family didn’t have a Homeschool Room. Living in a city apartment, we were short a bedroom . . . let alone a bonus room! Since moving to the country (hurray!!!) we are living in our first actual house —you know, with a yard! You can see how our point of view has changed below.

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We even have the extra space for our first bonafide Homeschool Room! We are thrilled. And we are having so much fun putting it together (see it here), but it’s also been a ton of work and I suspect our kids will often end up at the dining room table during the school day just like I did. If you bake, they will come.

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5 Practical Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

So, if you have the space and want to put together an adorable, quaint Homeschool Room, go for it! Especially if bunting is involved. It will be, at the very least, incredibly useful for housing all of the Homeschool materials. But if you don’t have the space or time to create an entire school room, no sweat!

Regardless of whether you have an entire room to designate for Homeschool, or whether you are carving out space in the main living area(s), the end-goal is basically the same: find a place for everything to “live” and create inviting and cozy areas and corners for various activities/contents.

To help you do this, I have outlined two reference guides:

1.) Suggested Homeschool spaces based on which education model/style you chose (see my previous post What education model fits your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE? Take our free QUIZ!)

2.) My tips for either putting together the Homeschool Room or for creating Homeschool spaces/corners in your home


~Homeschool Spaces by Education Model~

school days
Homeschool Schedule & Lesson Plan Templates

Montessori: 

  • open shelf/shelves for Montessori trays
  • area for opening exercises
  • area for movement
  • area for writing and art
  • area for reading

Waldorf: 

  • open shelf/shelves with baskets with various materials and wooden toys
  • area for opening exercises
  • area for movement and outdoor space
  • area for writing and art
  • area for reading

Charlotte Mason/ Literature-Based Learning:

  • area for opening exercises
  • area for reading
  • desk/table for writing and assignments
  • area for art and outdoor space

Classical Education: 

  • area for opening exercises
  • area for lessons (usually a whiteboard, chalkboard or smartboard)
  • desk/table for lessons, writing, and assignments
  • area for reading
  • area for art

Standard/Traditional Education:

  • optional area for opening exercises
  • area for lessons (usually a whiteboard, chalkboard or smartboard)
  • desk/table for lessons, writing, and assignments
  • optional area for reading (usually done at desk or table in standard education)
  • optional area for art

Unschooling:

  • open shelves, baskets, or cupboards to house a wide range of materials
  • creative, versatile space for playing, reading, writing, art, and projects

~My Tips for putting together the Homeschool Room~

1.) Keep toys out! Or at least separate.

toys3

*I often witness people attempting the whole School Room + Play Room concept. It makes sense. After all, most of us don’t have manors with endless rooms at our disposal . . . like Professor Plum with the candlestick in the conservatory . . . but mixing school materials and toys is tricky and problematic. When our children are doing their school work/activities, the last thing we need is for that blinking plastic robot to constantly be vying for their attention.

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Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Also, we do not want our kids to use school materials during play/toy time. I realize this may sound odd. Why in the world would we stop our kids from using school materials on their own volition? I will touch more on this another day . . . but the gist is that we do not want the entire day to become a giant free-for-all mess. Since we are spending so much time at home, it is crucial to keep things conceptually separate in our minds, and physically separate in their space. In other words, we want everything in it’s proper place, and everything at it’s proper time.

2.) Keep everything put away and out of sight.

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Camp-Inspired Arts & Crafts

*For some kids this will not matter so much . . . but for many, visual distractions can pose a huge hiccup to your Homeschool day. Arts and craft materials staring you in the face can be very tempting during a math lesson. Ensure that everything has a home and can be covered up when not in use. In Montessori and Waldorf schools, teachers often cover baskets of toys and materials with scarves when they are not to be used. Similarly, as much as we want to display our children’s lovely school and art work, I suggest we do so elsewhere if we have a child who becomes distracted easily. Consider putting up a special bulletin board in the kitchen or family room.

3.) Keep the color palette pretty neutral.

back to school 21
Back-to-School Bibliotherapy Book List

*If your daughter’s favorite color is rainbow, hurray! Paint a wall in the playroom (if you have one) or her bedroom sparkly unicorn poop. But, please, dear sweet reader, keep the fuchsia out of the school room! Don’t underestimate the power of color for focused, restful learning.

4.) Materials surround, and middle space abound!

IMG_5358

*Organize all the Homeschool materials on shelves, in cupboards, and/or in a closet. Utilize as much vertical space as you can so that all the materials are organized beautifully on the perimeter of the room but that the entire middle of the room is left open for actual work to take place. Your child can select the materials needed for a specific activity or content from an open shelf or cupboard on the perimeter, and then bring it back to his desk, table, or floor mat in the middle space of the room.

5.) Maximize with Modules

morning watch3
MORNING WATCH CLUB

*Take a tip from “Miss Minimalist” Francine Jay (author of The Joy of Less) and create modules in your Homeschool Room. Modules are basically collections of items that are used together, stored in a way that expedites the getting out and putting away process. For example, if your child is always having to rummage through the craft cupboard during her Social Studies lesson to find the colored pencils she needs for her map handout, consider having an extra set of colored pencils that lives in a zippered 3-hole binder pouch in her history binder. This will save you not only time spent fetching the pencils every day, but also time spent putting them back and time spent cleaning up what ever else was undoubtedly dislodged during the hunt.

Go through each content of your Homeschool day and meticulously run through everything you and your child do and use during that content. Cull any items used into a single module that suits the activity/subject. Module containers can be anything from a jar to a binder to a tray to a shoe box to a 5-gallon plastic bin. Your end goal is to be able to grab ONE tray/container/module for each activity/subject/task throughout your Homeschool day.


~My Tips for creating Homeschool Spaces around the home~

back to school 34

1.) Do a walk-through

*Walk through each room of your house slowly and take note of any space that you could potentially utilize as a Homeschool area/corner for a particular activity/content. Perhaps a corner of the dining room would make a great “Creative Corner” (arts & crafts area). Perhaps a little bit of space next to the couch could house a small “Cozy Corner” (reading nook). Maybe a portion of the home office could accommodate a desk for your child’s writing and workbook subjects.

2.) Give each school area/space/module a name

IMG_9051 (2)

Click the names below for our free printable Homeschool Content Area Signs & Binder Covers!

*In our home, these are the names we use:

  • “School Bell Circle” (Opening Exercises or Opening Ceremony)
  • “Creative Corner” (Arts & Crafts space)
  • “Cozy Corner” (Reading area)
  • “Write Away” (desk or shelf with all our son’s writing materials/manipulatives)
  • “Tray Time” (shelving unit with various Montessori-inspired tray activities)
  • “Music & Movement” (shelf with musical instruments, balls, and costumes)
  • “Fun in the Sun” (big stainless steel bowl with items to use outdoors such as water toys, gardening tools, balls, and paint brushes)
  • “Culinary Corner” (low cupboard with kid-friendly cooking tools)
  • “Puzzles and Playtime” (a play table and shelving unit with toys and puzzles)

Ones we will use in the future when our kids are bigger:

3.) Keep it simple but inviting

cozy corner - Copy (2)

*You do not need much to designate a space, but make it inviting to your child by marking the area with at least one visually-recognized item. This could be each area’s name on a small chalkboard or in wooden letters from a craft store adhered to the wall. Or perhaps a framed picture that corresponds to each area in some way. Any small decoration that lends itself to the area/content will do wonders for lending it prominence in the eyes of your child.

4.) Time out!

time

*Since you are going to be living with these school spaces at all hours of the day, create specific times that each area’s materials are allowed to be used. This will keep your day from unravelling into a chaotic mess.

For scheduling help and a pdf fill-in school schedule template, check out my previous post: Creating your family’s personalized HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE & LESSON PLANS! (templates included)

5.) Quarantine Toys

back to school 4

*Toys and school materials need to social distance from each other. Don’t allow your children to combine or swap back and forth between school and play time. Keep toys anchored to a specific space and time. Unless of course you are using toys in your lesson like this!

toys5
TEACH WITH TOYS! The Math Manipulatives lurking in your home!

Have fun setting up your School Space! 

And please pass this on to another Homeschooling Family!


Thanks for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

6 Replies to “a PLACE in SPACE & TIME for Homeschool”

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