Asking what a homeschool room should look like is like asking what someone’s backyard should look like. That is, there’s no one right answer. It totally depends on the needs, desires, resources and situation of each unique family.
So far, in this Tour of Our Homeschool series, I’ve shared about the desks and tables we use for homeschooling all over our house. Now I’d like to focus in on the corner of our lower level that we call our “school room”.
For us, it’s worked really well to have a dedicated space for all of our curricula, every-day supplies and school-related stuff. Even though we do schoolwork all over the house, I’ve found having a base camp for all-things-school really helps me stay organized.
Our Homeschool Room
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Since we don’t have an extra room to use as a classroom (if anyone has any spare rooms, send them my way!), our school area is one of several corners in our multi-purpose lower level. It’s nestled between the “music corner” (i.e. the piano) and the “office corner” (i.e. my desk) and is across the room from the “game and toy area”.
At first I was worried that a lack of a separate room would be a problem. But having the school area right next to our computer desk makes it easy for me to sit at my desk and plan our week with all the school materials nearby. And the toys being in sight hasn’t been a distraction like I thought it might be.
IKEA shelves have worked really well in our space. This one, pictured first below, holds the curriculum books we use on a daily basis. Each of my boys also has their own compartment.
The other shelf is organized by subject and, for the most part, it’s where I keep the curricula we’re not using this year (or at least not often).
We’ve got an art closet for most of our art and office supplies but the top of our bookshelves is a perfect spot for the basic supplies we use every day. For us, that’s pens, pencils, colored pencils, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, white board markers and a pencil sharpener. (I talk more about not-so-basic school supplies we love here).
As you can see, the top of this shelf also holds our globe and a paper sorter with sheet protectors and notebook paper. My 5th grader loves using the notebook paper turned sideways for math scratch paper (since it has lines to keep track of place value columns). As a former engineering nerd, I’m hopeful he’ll work up to graph paper soon!
I also have an “I-don’t-have-time-to-file-this-right-now” box next to the globe. It’s usually a lot more full than it is in the picture… I tried to make it look presentable for you. In any case, when the pile starts to fall over, I take a few minutes to weed out and sort the papers into the file bin on the floor (one hanging folder for each kid). This way, it’s at least semi-organized by the end of the year when I put away this year’s schoolwork.
On the wall above the supplies, we have our big USA map (along with a smaller world map on the adjacent wall). It’s been very helpful to have these on the walls for quick reference. For some reason my kids are totally opposed to looking something up in an Atlas, but they’ll excitedly point the same info out on a wall map. Go figure.
Moving to the top of the other bookshelf, we’ve got a space for our printer and the rest is pretty much dedicated to spelling. The magnetic whiteboard holds our All About Spelling (AAS) tiles and you can see the spelling progress charts on the wall. The little blue box has the AAS phonogram cards and the Jail (for words that break spelling rules) hangs on the wall above the printer, so we can scorn those tricky words whenever we walk by.
I never intended Spelling to get as much real estate as it has in our school room (I mean, come on, it’s not even one of the Three R’s!). But we use the whiteboard for other subjects, too, so I let it slide.
We do have all of our literature books (you know, the main library categories like fiction, non-fiction and Garfield books…) on other shelves around the house. And a few other school-ish things can be found stored in areas outside of our school room. This drawer organizer, for example, once used as preschool workboxes, now holds our maze, coloring, crossword and puzzle books.
Overall, this has been a good setup for us. For the most part, there’s a place for everything and (ideally) everything in its place.
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue the Tour of Our Homeschool series. I’ll zoom in on the contents of our school shelves and share how we organize materials for each subject. Stay tuned!
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