Our homeschool room is really a multi-purpose space where the kids can explore, learn and play – ideally this all comes together to provide a fun learning environment where education comes naturally.
Homeschool Room Reading Area
A homeschool room must have is a reading area or nook. I really focus on promoting a love a books, whether I’m reading to them, they’re just looking at pictures or they are reading solo, it brings new ideas, passions, interests and questions to the surface. Every week we go to the library and I pick out a ton of fiction and non-fiction and leave them out. Throughout the week, I see my kids pick these up when they are bored or see something that piques their interest. Some of the random books I chose this week are about lowrider cars, building with a focus on nature, the South Pole and The Wizard of Oz. We rarely read every book cover to cover, but we’ve picked up all of these at some point and explored them.
The Desk Area
A desk area is not only a homeschool room necessity and a fantastic work space to stay focused and get things done, it’s also a place for creativity. I leave random items on the desk like a dry erase book, watercolor set or graph paper and a pencil out here and the kids find it eventually and make all sorts of fun and creative projects with it. My older son is really interested making blueprints and comics in his free time and my younger son loves coloring. These are great activities for the kids to create some quiet time for themselves when they need to self regulate.
Homeschool Room Organization
I’ve tried so many ways to keep our homeschool stuff organized, but still accessible and this has worked really well for us this year. It’s a super inexpensive shelving unit from IKEA. The bins, jars and paper filers are from there too. It’s a great option for organizing our worksheets, construction paper, pencils, etc. I think it’s the fact that it doesn’t have side walls, so light comes in and I can’t just jam a bunch of stuff in there, that helps me keep it organized and visually interesting for this kids. It’s also really deep, like twice as deep as bookshelf, which I like.
Toys & Play Time
I consider toys and playtime a significant part of homeschool so I do incorporate it into our homeschool room. Whether it’s getting my kids to play together nicely and fostering teamwork, there are so many learning opportunities that can be achieved through play. Also, it allows my 5-year-old to play and stay occupied while I work with my 8-year-old on more complex tasks.
Homeschool Room Don’ts
There are very few things I do not allow in the homeschool room, but there are a couple. The first is LEGO. While we do use LEGO for some homeschool projects, I insist my older son keeps them in his room. The first is because they spread! I mean, nothing makes a mess like LEGO. The second is that he is very protective of them and it tends to create issues between the kids. The third is because it’s too distracting. It’s hard to do multiplication with a half built LEGO truck next to you!
Another toys we don’t allow in the homeschool rooms are trains. Again, this is a favorite toy and can take priority over almost everything. We save toys like that for their bedrooms. There, they can go and play trains for as long as they like, but again, it’s a matter of the toy being too distracting and taking over. Also, train tracks get insane over here and they will literally take over the entire room!
To Sum It Up
I try to keep the homeschool room an exploratory space. When it starts to get stale, I change it up by bringing out items that they kids haven’t seen in a few months. I often create my own curriculum and we do a lot of project based learning, so it’s nice to have the space to create projects like this great PBL program we did called Menu Math or the one on Planning a Trip. Since we do a lot of PBL programs, what we need most is a creative space to learn. The key is to plan your homeschool space around how your children learn and how you teach. It’s you need desks facing a chalkboard, great. If your child is easy distracted, you might want to keep toys, etc. in closed cabinets. It took us a long time to figure out what worked for us and I still feel like that changes from day to day, but however you do it, the homeschool room should be a kind of learning sanctuary where kids can connect with education and feel inspired and it should inspire you too!