Thoughts On Homeschool Rooms

Each year in the spring, I start to think in the direction of all things homeschooling (at least ever since my kids have been old enough for me to think about school).  I start planning next year's curriculum, I break out all my books about homeschooling, and I watch a bunch of videos on Youtube.  I happen to follow several homeschooling moms on Youtube (one of these days I'll put a list together for you), and I've come across quite a few "homeschool room tour" videos.

Now, most of you know that I was homeschooled growing up, and this homeschool room idea honestly surprised me.  I had never even heard of having a "homeschool room" until the last couple years.  

We do not have a homeschool room.  You can watch this little video to see our current homeschool setup:

We do most of our schoolwork together right now, and it happens most often at the kitchen table. 
The kids seem a little less wiggly when I have them sit at a table (which is probably also why most homeschool rooms feature a table).  Occasionally we do work on the couch, but that's always a little more chaotic.  Since the only table we have is in the kitchen, that's where we work.  This works out really well for us, and I'll often have Wyatt read to me while I fix dinner or whatever.  Having him at the kitchen table allows me to multitask part of the time (and he actually seems to read better when I'm not sitting right next to him looking over his shoulder).

When I was growing up, we did not have a homeschool room.  School was a more casual affair, and my mom gave us a lot of freedom as long as the work got done.  As a child, I would grab my schoolbooks in the morning, and take them wherever I felt like doing school that day.  My typical routine was to fix a big glass of ice water and lay down on my stomach in the morning sunlight that came through our living room window.  In the afternoon when the sun shifted, I often put on my swimsuit, gathered up my books, and did school in the hot tub (in retrospect, kudos to my mom for not worrying about me dropping my textbooks into the water).  Doing school wherever I wanted weirdly made the whole thing feel less like work and more like fun.

So honestly, even if I had an unused room, I'm not really sure if I would designate it as a homeschool room.  I don't want to restrict my kids to doing their schoolwork in just one area of the house.  As a former homeschool student, I know how much I enjoyed shifting to different areas throughout the day, and as the kids become more independent with their schoolwork I want them to have the freedom to go wherever is easiest and most fun for them too.

Though I tell you, if I had an extra room, I would definitely consider a homeschool library room...

Do you have a room designated for homeschooling?  Or do you just do schoolwork wherever, like me?

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Emily stone said...

Do you think your mom had a table in the early stages? Kind of like how you're dong it with the younger kids to help their focus? or do you remember from a young age being able to choose your spot as long as you got the work done? I can see the benefit of structure at the early school years and then as they mature, giving them more freedom to choose the best locations for their personalities in order to complete their work.

Heather said...

I was homeschooled, too, and my mom was always pretty relaxed about where we did our work as long as it was finished. But, on the other hand, when we were doing unit studies or guided studies we all sat at the dining room table. On a random note, which curriculum did you grow up with? We did a lot of Abeka, Bob Jones and Saxson Math. :)

We have an extra room and I do use it for a homeschool library/schoolroom set up. Right now, since Evie is just doing preschool I let them sit at a little kiddie table. It helps contain a lot of the "mess" since they like tearing up paper, stickers, coloring, etc. But, we also do morning devotion time at the kitchen table. I guess I'm 50/50 on this topic! Haha. ;)

Rachel said...

In the last house I lived in with my family before moving out, we did have a homeschool room, and it was really nice to have that space! We didn't always do our schoolwork at our tables, but that's where we each had our own stations with all of our books and supplies stored, so even if we took a book to our rooms to read it, or did a math test while lying in bed, everything went back to our station afterwards, and with 7 of us ranging from 12th grade to pre-k at one point...I'm sure the organization helped a lot!
Then my family moved into an itty bitty apartment and moved to doing school at the dining table. This meant all books and supplies had to be dragged out and then cleared up every time they needed to cook and eat a meal--no such thing as leaving your Geometry book open and your calculator out when it was lunchtime, because there was nowhere to put it. They did school that way for about 6 years...but we've since expanded and moved to doing homeschool in a dedicated space we set up for it and my family loves it so much more! No more time wasted on set up and take down--also, they've come to appreciate not having their only living space dominated by educational materials and AP textbooks--instead, all of that can now be stored in the actual schoolroom. Plus, we now actually have a chalkboard and a whiteboard available which are pretty fun!

Natalie@She Builds Her Home said...

It's funny because I am the opposite-I never considered NOT having a homeschool room! I know we could totally do it at the dining table or elsewhere in the house, but for right now, I really prefer having a dedicated space for school. It is nice to be able to have it all separate so we don't have to move it out of the way for meals and such. We also put some things up on the walls, like a map, white board, different charts, etc. so it is nice to be able to do that without it being in our main living area. I could totally see us scrapping a school room when the kids are older and working independently...definitely! Actually, I don't picture using the room forever, mostly just for elementary years. We may even do desks in their bedrooms at some point when they're older if that's what they want. And with so many online/computer based curriculum options now I could see us doing a lot of school on the computer in middle/high school years, which could be done anywhere with a laptop or tablet!

Elizabeth said...

You always pick the most relevant topics! And I actually think this question could also apply to having a dedicated art space or sewing room or homework corner. We have a nice-sized apartment but the dining table is our only big table as well. We COULD rearrange a bunch of other rooms and buy a table and make a spot in the living room, for example. We'll see. We haven't done any formal schooling yet but I thought about it a lot and decided that the kitchen is the only place I feel comfortable having kids do art. I don't like mixing it with cooking, but I wouldn't really want the mess anywhere else. So we've got an easel on the wall and a cart with supplies, etc. I do dream of having a big table just for crafts and office work. I think we will have a desk in another room that kids can come and work at when they need peace and quiet. I guess that's the only thing I would add to your set-up: a quiet corner where an older child can go and work by himself if he wants, just like you described doing as a child. Otherwise I think if you are organized and don't mind keeping the dining room/kitchen table neat and the school cupboard right there, it sounds perfect. I think we all dream of having space for crafting or office work or whatever our own pursuits are. But not having the space probably helps keeps things simple and cuts down on clutter.

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