The following is a guest post from Mandi of Organizing Your Way.
After deciding to homeschool and choosing a curriculum, one of the biggest questions that homeschoolers deal with on a regular basis is where to homeschool and how to set up a school room.
However, like pretty much every other aspect of homeschooling, the answer to this question is as varied as the families who homeschool, and there is no step-by-step guide for setting up the perfect school room.
What’s important is that you make the most of your unique space to devise a useful school area. Use these four questions to help you get you started:
1. How much space do you have?
The size and layout of your house will obviously have an impact on how you set up your homeschool environment. You may or may not have the space for a dedicated school room (and you may not want one even if you do have the space), and you may be limited as to the number of books, manipulatives and supplies you keep on hand.
Be creative in how you organize to maximize the space you do have, but also accept the limitations of your home and work with them rather than against them.
- Take advantage of your local library system for checking out the books you need each week or month.
- Work at the dining room table rather than trying to cram another table into the playroom.
- Use a basket for books and some floor pillows to create a reading nook in an unused corner of your home.
2. What is your educational philosophy?
Think about the basic tenets of your educational philosophy. What activities and characteristics are most important to you? How can you embrace these as you’re setting up your school room or organizing your supplies?
- If nature study is important to you, then you’ll want to organize your supplies so that you can easily move outside on nice days (or even not-so-nice ones on occasion!).
- If you use a literature-based curriculum like Sonlight, then you’ll want to have a comfortable place to read together for extended periods of time.
- If you follow an unschooling approach, you’ll want to have reference books, art supplies and other materials readily available.
3. What distractions do you have to deal with?
We have an open floor plan on the main level of our home, and I find that my children are better able to focus when we do school upstairs because there aren’t as many distractions–“Ooh, look at those books. Hey, we left that toy out. Oops, look, there’s my rock by the front door. Ooh, can we have a snack from the kitchen?” I’m also better able to contain my two-year-old in the upstairs room with us, whereas she’s prone to wander off and get into things downstairs.
- If you live in a neighborhood with other children, you may need to choose a room that doesn’t face the street or neighborhood park where other children are playing while you’re schooling.
- If you have pets, you may need to send them outside or to a different room during school hours.
Think through the distractions that you deal with daily and ways you can address them as you organize and set up your school area.
4. How old are your children?
The ages of the children you’re homeschooling will have an impact on the way you set up your homeschool area.
- Older children may need a quiet place for independent study, while younger children may need to work in the main area of the home so that you can help them while attending to other chores.
- If you have toddlers or babies, that will probably impact where you do school as well.
We all know that one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can do things our own way, and it’s important to keep that in mind as you envision your ideal location for doing school as well. Remember, you can always adjust as you go!
Where do you homeschool?