Homeschooling Without a Schoolroom
We don’t have a “schoolroom”. You can walk through every room in my home, and you will not see any alphabet posters, 100’s charts, or “learning centres”. It’s quite possible that a complete stranger could take a walk through my home and not even know that we homeschool!
It’s pretty important to me that our home look like, well, a home. I’ve not once in my life felt at home in a classroom, so why would I want one in my home?
Now, you may not have the same kind of feelings about classrooms that I do, and you may really like the convenience of having a dedicated room for your homeschool. You don’t need me to tell you that whatever works for you is wonderful! But for me personally, I’ve pretty much no interest in having one in our home. Unless I can have Ann Voskamp’s. Have you seen her schoolroom?
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So, if we don’t have a school room, where do we homeschool?
Pretty much everywhere!
The bulk of our homeschooling happens on the couch (read alouds and morning time) or the dinning room table, but the whole house is fair game. Sometimes Math is taken upstairs to a bedroom for a quiet place to work without distraction. Reading happens in just about every room of the house (I have yet to find anyone reading in the laundry room). In good weather, books and work have even made an appearance at the top of our play structure in the backyard!
Even though we use our dinning room for most of our book work, we keep it looking like a dinning room using a few clever hacks. My favourite homeschool decor strategy is to disguise learning aids as home decor!
See this colourful graphic textile?
It’s really our unattractive white board!
My husband put together a simple wooden frame to fit around the outside of the board, and then stretched and stapled a fun piece of fabric around it! It easily comes off when we need to use the white board for our lessons, then slips back on when we are done. He also framed a world map for so we can have the world at our fingertips without tacking up posters in our dinning room!
I know that you’re probably wondering where we keep all our “homeschooling stuff” if we don’t have a particular room to contain it all. Isn’t our whole house filled with the mess of homeschooling?
I’m going to show you what I consider to be the most awesome homeschool storage solution ever – our Homeschool Storage Nook.
When we bought our home 2 years ago, we were thrilled to find that it had two large coat closets on the main floor – one in the front entryway, and another one off of the laundry room/garage entry. While I’m sure we could fill two closets with our coats, shoes, boots, etc. (we’re in Canada after all, and we have SEASONS!) the real storage issue for us is books and school supplies.
So my super handy husband took out the extra closet and installed cabinets and a countertop in that space instead and voila! the ultimate homeschool storage solution!
Our Homeschool Storage Nook provides easy access for my kiddos while hiding away any unsightly mess!
In the lower cabinets, my kids have easy access to:
- paper (white and coloured)
- math manipulatives & games
- colouring books & crayons
- Mr. Potato Head, trains, puzzles etc. for my toddler, stored in clear Rubbermaid bins
In the middle cabinets, my big kids can easily reach:
- their individual school shelf, containing their notebooks (we use Staples’ Better Binders, and I’ll never purchase another brand again!), pencil cases, math books, etc.
- some art supplies
- hole punches, staplers, etc.
- Clipboards, covered with washi tape, for a portable and stylish writing surface
The countertop provides quick access to:
- coloured pencils, (washable!) markers, scissors, pencil sharpener, etc.
- charging station for electronics
- home base for my laptop when its not in use elsewhere
- the telephone
- a place to stash books and work when clearing the table for meals
The upper cabinets provide safe storage for:
- current year’s instructor’s manuals and teaching supplies. Manual not in use are stored on a bookshelf in my bedroom.
- messy or expensive art supplies including chalk & oil pastels, and of course Sharpies, which must never, ever, ever, fall into the hands of an unsupervised toddler!
- Extra dinnerware and seasonal serving ware (which has nothing to do with homeschooling, I’m just not sure where else to store them right now!)
Last year, I participated in The Canadian Homeschooler’s Organize Your Homeschool in 20(ish) Days Challenge! and it was a great help to me in terms of guidance for organizing, sorting, and purging our homeschool materials, supplies, and even books (yes, I just mentioned purging books, please forgive me!). The challenge is actually available now as an ebook, so if you need some help from a professional organizer (and you probably do), check it out!
Where else do we store homeschooling related materials?
Well, we store books pretty much everywhere! In the family room we have a basket for our Morning Time books, in the living room we have one for our history and literature selections and another for general library books, and in the dinning room we keep one stocked with Bibles, devotionals, notebooks, and pens for our breakfast Bible study.
My kids also have a beautiful dollhouse bookshelf in their bedroom that was made by their grandad, I have two large bookshelves in my bedroom, there is a small bookshelf in the living room and two more large bookshelves in the family room. As they say, there is no such thing as too many books, only not enough bookcases!
Forget homeschool rooms! If I had my druthers we’d have a dedicated library in our home! Wall to wall bookshelves, a small writing desk, and a super comfy chair with a side table for my cup of hot cocoa!
Are you wanting to see some more homeschool spaces? This month, the members of The Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team are showing off their homeschool spaces, so be sure to check out how other real life homeschoolers just like you have their homeschools set up over at The Canadian Homeschooler!
And if you are wanting even more ideas and tricks for organizing your homeschool, check out the 10 Days of Homeschool Organization Ideas blog party over at They Call Me Blessed!