There are two words that are crucial in my life: simple and practical. I need a simple homeschool room that meets all the practical needs of my family. I bet you do too!
Having moved 6 times since I started homeschooling, coming up with practical ways to make our homeschool space work has been a fun challenge to say the least.
A few years ago, I wrote about my journey from the traditional dedicated room to a more family centered atmosphere in The Tale of Two Homeschool Rooms. If you are still trying to decide which approach to take, you might really enjoy my thoughts and ideas from that post, too.
My Simple Homeschool Room—>
I’ve actually been working with this setup now for over a year, so forgive me for just now getting around to sharing it with you. When we moved a year ago, I bought this 4×4 expedit shelf from IKEA. Since it’s purchase, it has been living happily in the dining room.
I love that setup because it’s the central part of our home. We don’t need an extra table in the house, it works for food and school just the same. (Kinda crucial when you are dealing with smaller spaces.) I also love that I can be in the kitchen cooking while calling out dictation or spelling words.
The Homeschool shelf—>
So what’s on this shelf anyway? Let’s start at the top right. I have our amazingly wonderful best-printer-ever (seriously saves on ink). Next to that is our multi-age studies. These are the things that the whole family works on together. We use: Apologia science, Mystery of History and Who is God Worldview.
Of course, we also have 2 dictionaries and computer paper on this shelf, too. One of the best features of this shelf is that it is only 4 feet tall. Which means that my girls can easily reach the items on the top when needed!
Shelf 1 contains our student cubbies. I’ll explain those a little more below. Each child has their own and the end is reserved for my 4 year old. Since he just has one simple box, we also keep the world’s best pencil sharpener (yes, it’s actually endured 3 years of kids without issue) and a 3 hole punch in his cubby.
Shelf 2 houses these sweet boxes to cover up all the junk. Ha! Seriously, in these boxes we keep the messy stuff like math manipulatives and extra pencils, glue sticks, and folders.
Let’s look at shelf 3, starting on the right. This is my “preschool fun” cubby. Basically, there are some letter games and puzzles there for the little guy. He tends to like to do “big school” at the table and will opt for a coloring book or something written, but he does often get done with that quickly and will sit an enjoy these learning activities.
After preschool fun is my teacher’s guides. I’m not really much of a fan of the teacher’s guide except for the answer key. It’s very helpful for this busy mom to have all the answers laid out before me. I can still usually figure it out without the key, but this is a huge time saver. Right now we have textbooks for next year in the third cubby.
Last but not least, I keep some of my favorite books series here that way I can grab them quickly when a child needs something new to read.
Shelf 4 starts with a paper shelf on the right. Here I keep card stock, plastic sleeves, gold envelopes, etc. Next is the white boards and finally I keep a box of supply boxes. In these boxes I store markers, extra colored pencils, and other fun supplies that we don’t keep on the table everyday.
Maybe it’s the classroom teacher in me, but I simply have not found a way to give up personal space for each student. It’s crucial for helping them keep their materials together and know where to find what they need each day. The white magazine boxes are from IKEA and I usually update a photo of them for each school year to make them fun.
In the white boxes, they keep their work texts. Basically, anything they write in. I really prefer this method to having a bunch of papers strung all over the place.
Each student has a notebook. It’s divided by subject and stores important tests or papers that are keep-worthy. I don’t keep all the work texts from year to year because there simply isn’t space. Also included in the notebook is the morning checklist and daily school checklist.
I bought the little black box at Target. It has been great for keeping books that are perfectly on the child’s level right at his fingertips so he can read them at any time!
This one thing has been a life saver in our homeschool. All you need is a few mason jars and some kind of container to keep them together. I bought mine at Target. Check out the one my friend Rebecca did. She was my inspiration.
Before I started this, there was always a lack of supplies. Now everyone knows where to go and where to put it away… AND it’s easy. No need to figure out who it belongs to, either! Although we could remove it, I have to admit that it sits in the center of the table all the time. (Yes, even during dinner.)
One note about size. This basket barely fits the 4 mason jars that I have in it. At first I was kind of annoyed, but then I realized the beauty in it. There really isn’t room for a mess. My kids have been at camp all week and no one cleaned this jar up before I took the photo.
Doesn’t it look nice? That’s why I like it! Just enough room for everything seems to make it a much better fit!
What are your best tips for creating a simple homeschool room? Share them with us! If you have a blog, be sure you leave a link to your post so we can see it!