When we were weighing our educational options, I recall taking a tour of a school. The first thing they pointed out was the lack of posters and art work on the walls. They were trying to recreate the home atmosphere in school. I remember the guide saying, “You don’t hang posters and art work in your home right?” I was at the tail end of the tour chuckling as I could instantly picture the colorful posters and creations that hung on most of the wall space in my house. So even if the tuition hadn’t been the huge deterrent that it was, the plain white walls might have helped in coming to the same conclusion that this was not the place for us. (And yes, I am aware that many homes do not decorate all their wall space in posters and kid art.)
When we decided on homeschooling, and I began envisioning what that would look like, I started with the idea of taking over a room.
I had been, after all, a professional teacher, and certain concepts were ingrained. So even though I did not put in desks lined up in rows, the thought was that there would be a room that would contain our school life, apart from the rest of our life. I am happy to say that this was a very short-lived concept. The couch was simply too comfy to be denied during read-alouds.
It’s been many years since we began homeschooling and quite a few of my preconceived homeschooling notions have gone with the time.
I know that our homeschool is a constantly evolving concept. What works at one time, may have no place in subsequent years, or even months. Once I accepted this as a fact by the way, it became easier to adapt.
Our homeschool room had gone through this evolution rather quickly. Now we do have a homeschooling room, but it could just as easily be called by any room name. It’s simply a room in our house that is used as any other.
My children progress through topics as is appropriate for them. To meet them where they are our supplies are greatly varied. Our resources span several interests and age ranges, especially as my things have a place in there too. They like to go back and check information they’ve previously encountered in past books or similar resources.
So basically, we have a resource library/art center.
We have a long folding table set up to accommodate big projects that may be taken on. Occasionally, we gather there for writing or handwriting lessons. But honestly, we’re all over our house. We work in the area that’s most conducive to what we are doing. When we read, we spread out in the living room. During poetry tea time, we might be at the dinner table or outside. While working on independent studies like math, or his own projects, my son prefers to work somewhere comfy where he’ll have the fewest interruptions. My daughter loves to work on the floor.
So, the short answer to “Do you need a schoolroom in order to homeschool?” is… no. Definitely not!
What you do need is space to organize your materials. If you can’t find what is needed for a particular activity or subject, it will affect how successful or aggravating you day is. If you can’t find what you need when you need it, your day can be easily derailed like anything else in life.
Every homeschool is unique. So too are what each family considers necessary supplies. This component will dictate the amount of space you’ll need to house your supplies, whether a small cabinet will do, or you’ve just created a small warehouse in your basement. We are a project heavy household, so we need space for paints, paper, tools and the like. We use many games, and so we need to create space for those in a way that the right one can be readily found. And then there are the books. I’m fortunate to say we are a household of readers. And we reread books as well. So even with the use of the library, we need space to accommodate everyone’s reading materials within the walls of our home.
The overall question of homeschooling space for me can be summed up in two words:
organization and comfort.
This does not mean that a specific room is necessary at all. Just have some place to keep things in a way that they can be found.
And have a space that is comfortable, that allows learning to happen as just another part of living – an everyday, every moment activity.