As we wrap up the school year, and as conventions are around the corner, I’m exited to make room for new curriculum and re-arrange our homeschool space.
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I’m also very exited about organizing our homeschool space. Yes, organization makes me giddy. For the last few weeks I’ve been cataloguing bookshelves, cleaning out drawers, making lists and getting ready to sell or donate what we don’t plan on using.
In our old house, like many homeschool families we used our “formal dining room” as a dedicated schoolroom. Because of the layout, the room was somewhat separate from the main living area, so our house wasn’t cluttered with school related things. Homeschool rooms don’t work for everyone, and they’re really not necessary. However since we had the space, and we had looks of school supplies the room made sense to me. I wanted all the charts and maps and posters on the wall. We actually spent most of our days in that room, crafting, sewing, playing board games.
After the move however, though we have more living space, there is no separate schoolroom. The charts, maps and posters are no longer on the walls, and we’ve had to get creative with how and where all the school stuff goes.
Here are some of the things we did to set up a homeschool space, without letting school take over the house:
A few weeks ago I came across a Facebook meme that said “You might be homeschooler if your main idea of decorating is squeezing in another bookcase.” I laughed out loud, because just days before reading that I had my husband and three oldest children work up a sweat trying to squeeze just one more bookshelf in between two others. They were at it for nearly 30 minutes, when I finally told them to give up. We were off by 1/8″.
If you’re like me, you’ve seen
hundreds thousands of homeschool room photos (I can get a little obsessive). Because I love books I’m always impressed with the bookshelves. How do they organize them? Does their system work? Do they actually read all those books?
We came up with our own system, and after 8 weeks, it’s still working. We separated all our books into a few categories: children’s fiction, adult fiction, nonfiction, biographies, history, science, art, reference, poetry & plays, apologetics, christian living, devotionals, Bibles and picture books.
Then, we assigned a different color of washi tape to each category, placed a strip on the spine and wrote the author’s last name first initial.
Lastly we alphabetized by authors first initials only. This makes finding books as well as putting them away much easier. We occasionally use paint stirrers to mark a spot on the shelf.
And yes, we actually do read all these books.
We’re using magazine holders to separate curriculum by subject. When we started homeschooling 3 years ago, the categories were pretty basic (math, science, etc.); however as our interests grow, we are constantly exploring beyond just ‘science’. I also use these to gather subject specific resources as I come across it.
During our first year I was overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ that needed to get done. I was constantly worried we weren’t doing enough, so the kids literally had between 13 and 17 different subjects to get through EACH DAY (excessive I know). In order for me to keep track of 6 kids and so many subjects I adopted the workbox system so many other homeschoolers use. Because we had limited space we did some modifications to our setup. Much has changed since then.
I finally figured out that 17 subjects in one day was not necessary. We do however, still use the workboxes or as we like to call them, the ‘cubbies’ to store daily materials.
I found these desktop sorters, that were just the right size for the space we had and added numbers on the right to help us remember where each book goes. Work that has been completed and needs to be graded goes on the bottom shelf, and work that needs to be re-done goes on the top.
Before our move we had a small craft/sewing room, where my husband installed shelving all around. At the new house we have a small closet under the stairs that was originally going to house linens. It has become a craft room instead. Theres just enough room for a bookshelf with all our crafting and lab supplies, as well as a small desk. You’d be surprised how many kids actually work in this room at the same time.
Here is what our room looked like before, as well as our current setup.
Not having a dedicated room, has pushed us to spread out around the house. We still do the majority of our group work around the school table, however independent work is done all over.
Do you have a school room? Where does most of your learning take place?