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When I first began homeschooling I dreamed of having a beautiful homeschool room with nature prints covering the walls, adorable vintage desks, a giant chalkboard wall, and books stuffed into every nook and cranny. Well, here we are five years into this gig and still in the same 1400 square feet we started with. Now with six people currently occupying the premises it definitely doesn’t feel any bigger.
If you’re like I was just starting out and wondering how you will ever make homeschooling work in your itsy-bitsy space don’t despair! I’m here to tell you that although those homeschool rooms on Pinterest and Instagram are dreamy they’re NOT at all necessary for a successful homeschool. Here are a few tips to make homeschooling in a small space work.
Home Over School
I was first inspired by this idea from Julie Bogart the creator of Bravewriter. She talks about creating a cozy home environment and thinking about what makes being home so special. Rather than turning your home into a school aim to make those cozy elements of home apart of your homeschool experience.
By doing this it becomes easier to blend your homeschool into your living room, kitchen, or dining room. We primarily do desk work at the dining table and reading happens on the couch. I purchased a farmhouse caddy that blends in with our home decor to serve as an easy way to transfer all the pencils and markers on and off the dining table. This is perfect for a small space that serves multiple purposes! I also like to incorporate candles and flowers into our table set up as well.
When not in use for our table work I keep the caddy on a desk I have tucked away in a corner of our living room. This desk also serves as the perfect storage spot for art supplies. It used to have a cover on it, but a past toddler (I’m not naming names) decided to make some adjustments and we’ve never gotten around to replacing it.
Bookshelves, Bookshelves, Bookshelves!
Can one really have too many books or bookshelves for that matter? My main source of storage and organization is the old reliable Kallax bookshelf from Ikea. This is where I display the current art print for our weekly picture study and our teapot that we use during our poetry tea times. The first two shelves are dedicated to our poetry and nature books. Then I have our favorite reference books on there and our history read alouds for the year from Beautiful Feet Books.
The magazine files are great for hiding notebooks and other workbooks out of sight. In a couple of the handy baskets along the bottom two rows I store a few games and educational toys for my littler ones. I also have one basket that is used as our morning basket holding all the books we read together during our morning time routine. Finally, each of my two older kids have their own basket to keep all their notebooks and books they’re reading for school in. This has worked out really well for us. I love that it blends in well with my home atmosphere but it’s accessible.
I also have another bookshelf in the living room overflowing with books and one in our bedroom too. I’m currently dreaming up plans to add a couple more to our living room as well. No such thing as too many books, right?
A Linen Closet Who Needs That?
In a small house space is a precious commodity. Does the linen really need a closet all to itself? I don’t think so! Not when there are fun games and math manipulatives to be stored. I’ve pretty much converted my linen closet into a homeschool closet.
We rely a lot on gameschooling for sneaky learning, so the first two shelves are packed full of puzzles and games. Our math manipulatives for Rightstart math I store in the plastic drawers. When the Rightstart Math box first arrived on my doorstep I will admit I was a bit intimidated by all those manipulatives. I had no idea where I would store them all, but this system seems to be working great so far. The best part of converting the linen closet into a homeschool closet is the door to keep the curious toddler OUT!
Learning Can Happen Anywhere!
Honestly we homeschool all over the place. I never really feel like we’re missing out by not having a specified school room. Sometimes we’re reading on the couch or playing with legos on the floor. Other times we’re all gathered around the table working on notebooking or copywork. Still other times one kid is outside reading while I’m playing a math game at the table with another. Not being confined to one room that we feel obligated to “do school” in because it’s the designated school room gives us more freedom. We’re free to learn anywhere we feel comfortable without wasted space. With a little creativity it’s possible to make homeschooling in a small space cozy and inviting without turning your home into a school room replica.