Homeschooling happens in all different kinds of places. Some people have a room dedicated to their homeschool endeavors. Some people study at the kitchen table. Some use workboxes. There are lots of different ways to set up the physical aspect of your homeschool space.
Today let’s think about ways to re-energize our homeschool space by looking at where we homeschool and how we can make it better for our families.
Spending Money on Your Homeschool Space
But before we go any further, let me clarify one thing. I am NOT advocating spending large amounts of money to do the things I’m suggesting below. Obviously if funds aren’t an issue for your family and you have the ability to do lots of great things then that is super! But for many homeschool families funds are an issue.
What I’m advocating below is primarily working with what you already have and looking for ways to repurpose what is already in your home to re-energize your homeschool space. Then supplement what you already have with some carefully thought out purchases.
If you look through my Homeschool Organization Pinterest board, you’ll discover I don’t put many pictures on there of gorgeous homeschool rooms that cost a fortune. I can’t afford it and so I just don’t go there. I’m more interested in sharing clever and affordable ideas.
So what can we do to re-energize our learning environments?
1. Create a Homeschool Learning Room
A few years ago we changed our living room into our learning room. We’ve been so happy with this decision although it took me about a year to actually do it once I started thinking about it.
My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!
I know I am biased, but if you have a room that you honestly don’t use all that often I truly think it is worth considering making it into a learning room. It could be your formal dining room, your living room (if you have a family room as well), or a sunroom. Our home is not that large compared to most these days (1500 square feet), but I think it is being a good steward of this space to use it all the time rather than having it sit there mostly unused so I can have a living room.
What I love about having a learning room is that it encourages learning all the time. Because it is in such a prominent place in our home, Caroline goes in there often to do crafts, sit in the glider and look at library books, or drag out some other activity. (More on that later this week!)
It also keeps the mess and supplies in one place rather than all over the house. It is much easier to keep track of our learning materials because there is a central location for all of it. It doesn’t wander off into other rooms of the house. We rarely waste time looking for anything related to our homeschooling because we’ve trained Caroline to know that it stays in the learning room.
If you already have a learning room, there are a few ways to re-energize it.
- How about painting it a different color? Something cheerful like a pretty yellow or a soothing light robin’s egg blue?
- What about removing heavy window treatments from the windows and letting in lots of natural light?
- Moving the furniture around? We just moved a couple of pieces of furniture last week and wow! What a difference!
- What about switching up the way you use the wall space? I use ours primarily to display Caroline’s artwork (something I’ll share more in the Not Back to School Blog Hop in a few weeks). Other than her artwork, a fun US map, a small dry erase board, and a monthly calendar pocket chart I try to keep the wall decorations few and far between. It makes the room look bigger and it cuts down on the distraction.
Re-energizing your room could be as simple as rethinking what you put on the walls. Remember – less is usually more.
2. Organize a Homeschool Space or Pantry
Let’s say you simply don’t have a specific room you can use. Can you set up a specific homeschool space?
What about a corner of the family room? Could you clear out some of the stuff in the family room you really don’t use and instead put in bookcases or shelves with bins to organize learning materials? For a while we had a small table and chairs and bookcase in our family room for Caroline. Yes, it was a little crowded and it wouldn’t be a set up to feature on Pinterest. But it told her that she was important to us and that we wanted her to learn and explore all the time, not just when we were sitting down to “do school” with her.
If you have a kitchen pantry, you could use that. Most people could clean out half of what is in their kitchen and not even miss it. By purging your kitchen cupboards and pantry, you could open up the pantry space to hold all of your homeschool and learning materials.
3. Use Portable Homeschool Storage
If none of the above are possible, some kind of a rolling cart could work well. There are carts like this that could hold materials, books and supplies. Each child could have her/his own cart that could be stored in a closet or lined up against a wall in a room used less often. Each drawer could be labeled by subject with one drawer for supplies. The nice thing about rolling carts as opposed to crates is that it keeps all of the materials contained and looks a lot neater.
4. Utilize Bins and Shelves for Homeschool Organization
If you have room in the dining room or family room, you could set up a set of shelves/bookcase that holds colorful bins. Each child can keep his/her materials in his/her own bin and then you can use a couple of bins for basic supplies. This, too, will keep things looking neater than an open bookcase where everything gets dumped. It also keeps in all in one place instead of children dragging it throughout the house.
5. Purge Your Homeschool Materials
I believe that homeschooling moms, by and large, are natural hoarders when it comes to educational materials. Whether it’s books, supplies or curriculum, we have a natural bent to hang onto stuff because it might come in handy.
At some point, however, it can become more of a headache than an asset.
One way to re-energize your homeschool that won’t cost you anything is to simply purge what you have. Do you honestly need to keep every book? Every resource?
Getting rid of materials you really don’t need will free up both physical space and mental space.
Are there games no one wants to play? Get rid of them. What about craft supplies no one likes? Donate them. Curriculum you know you’ll never use again? Sell it. There’s no point hanging on to stuff that doesn’t add true value to your homeschool experience. Model good stewardship to your children by getting rid of what you don’t need so someone else can use it.
Some Guiding Principles for Homeschool Space
As you think about ways to re-energize your homeschool space, keep these principles in mind:
- Neat and tidy saves time
- Less is almost always more
- Releasing things you don’t need brings freedom
How are you reworking your homeschool space? What has worked well for you in the past? What do you wish you had changed sooner?
This post is part of my series 5 Days to Re-Energize Your Homeschool.