Thursday, August 9, 2012

Creating a Homeschool Space

When we first started homeschooling, we lived in a house with less than one thousand square foot living area. We were very limited on space.  Our homeschool area consisted of a shelving system, our dining room table, and the living room sofa.  That was all we needed.

Fast forward eight years, and now we live in a house more than twice that size with a designated room for homeschooling.  It is a blessing.  However, you might be surprised to know, I don't think it is essential for homeschooling.  No, indeed, I know you don't really need a specific homeschool room to successfully teach your children.  And, you definitely don't need the cutest, most current organizational methods and devices which 'guarentee success.'  For I have witnessed many families homeschool with so much less, and dare I say it, perhaps have done a better job than those with so much more. 

The truth of the matter is...

To homeschool, you only need a few things in regard to physical space. 

Perhaps your homeschool area is a designated room or part of a room.  Maybe you see your whole house as a homeschool setting.  Or, for your family, the world is your classroom.  Regardless of your situation, you still have a need for a physical space for homeschool supplies, books, and important papers.

Three Essentials for a Homeschool Space, Area, or Room...

  • Shelves or Storage Area - I think we can all agree that some kind of housing or location for all your books and supplies is needed.  Whether you store them all in one room or throughout your house in convenient point of use locations, this is one way to personalize homeschooling.
  • Place to Work - Depending on your homeschool style and preferences, this place to work could be a desk, table and chairs, clipboards, sofa, or bean bag chairs.
  • Box, Drawer, or Binder - Important papers like state regulations, lesson plans, attendance records need to be kept in an easy to find location.  You may never need to prove your child's homeschooling experiences, but having the documents in a secure, easy to find location, can be a benefit if you do.

Four Things to Remember When Creating a Homeschool Space...

  • Organize your space to respond to the needs of your family.  Don't try to copy someone else's space.  Try any organization method you think will work for your family, but don't keep using it just because someone else recommends it.  If it doesn't work for your family, try something else.
  • Remember why and how you homeschool.  These two factors will greatly determine how you set up your homeschool area.
  • Your homeschool space can contribute to the success of your homeschool, but it does not determine it.  It can be wonderful to create an organized space or room of beauty and comfort to use for homeschooling.  It is a blessing to give our children {and ourselves} this, if we are able.  However, many homeschool families successfully homeschool with less.  The latest organizational gadgets or the biggest homeschool rooms do not guarantee homeschool success.
  • What works this year, may not next year.  Homeschool situations change.  Circumstances, the number of children you homeschool, or the way you homeschool may change over time.  Your space might need to be altered to accommodate these changes.

Five Fun Extra Items to Consider Adding to Any Homeschool Space...

  • Color and Patterns - Make your space a little more personal and fun with color and/or patterns.
  • Containers - All sizes and shapes can help organize almost any homeschool area.
  • Pictures, Posters, and Children's Art Work - Decorate your area with visual aids, pretty pictures, or original works of art.
  • Animals and Plants - Live plants and animals can add vitality to an area.  Most children are fascinated with observing living things. 
  • Unexpected Items - Just because a space is designated for homeschooling, doesn't mean everything in it has to be functional. Some items may be included for fun or beauty. 

Dorie enjoys being outside, photography, art, writing, a strong cup of coffee, and good conversations seasoned with much laughter. She and her drummer husband, Jerry, share a life built on faith in Jesus, love, and grace. They have been blessed with four active children. Each day, whether easy or trying, is a wondrous part of this grace filled journey, and Dorie blogs about them all at These Grace Filled Days. Their homeschooling adventures can be found at Homeschooling Just Next Door.

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