Having a homeschool space that suits your family goes a long way toward making your homeschool more pleasant. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a useful school space. In fact, you might not even need a designated space at all! Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of the space you do have.
It Doesn’t Need to Look Like a Classroom
The more you can free yourself from the idea that your home learning space needs to look and feel like a school, the better off you will be. Many of us were educated in a room full of uniform desks facing a giant chalkboard, but there’s no reason to try to replicate this in your home if you don’t want to. The goal is for your kids to have access to you and to the supplies they need to do their best work. If you have a whole room devoted to school, that’s great, but school can just as easily take place at the kitchen table, in a bedroom or on the living room floor.
Get Input from Your Kids
As you design your homeschool space, get input from your children. Ask what they would find most helpful in getting their work done. A space set aside from toys, screens and other distractions is usually important, but beyond that, be flexible and willing to try out some of your student’s ideas. A hammock or swing might help an active child to focus. Your introvert may need a desk in an out of the way corner where he can block out the noise of the rest of the busy house. Another child might work best at the kitchen table with snacks or drinks close at hand. Experiment until you find the set up that works best for your children.
Take Comfort Into Account
Have you ever tried to work in a chair that was too high? Or a room that was too dimly lit? Or a space that was too noisy? You probably didn’t have a very good attitude. And maybe you weren’t very productive either. If we want our children to be able to sustain focus and give their full attention to learning, we need to prioritize their comfort. Make sure your workspace has comfortable seating for your student (and his or her adult helper).
Make Supplies Accessible
Having everything your child will need to complete assignments in one place saves so much time and energy for everyone! You can use bookshelves, a rolling cart, or a desktop organizer to keep needed materials close at hand. Training your children to return their supplies to their designated space each day after using them will be well worth the effort.
Keep Clutter at Bay
There’s nothing more frustrating than setting up a beautiful homeschool space only to have it taken over by clutter. Having a trash can and a bin for recyclable papers can help keep things under control. Where you can’t eliminate clutter completely, try to contain it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Putting supplies away in closed cabinets or drawers, piling books in a basket, or wrapping a fabric skirt around a table can provide storage for materials in a way that isn’t so visually overwhelming.
Don’t Forget About the Outdoors
Especially when you’re homeschooling multiple children, taking advantage of any outside space can be a game changer. Reading can be done in a hammock or porch swing. A simple clipboard turns the porch or the backyard into a workstation. With a basket of books you can even take school to the park or a shady spot on the lawn.
Remember, don’t fret if you don’t have the perfect space. Use your creativity and flexibility to make the best use of the space you have.
This post is Part Four of our Back to Homeschool series. Check out some of our other new Back to School articles below: