So you’ve jumped on the homeschooling bandwagon and now you have so many questions. How will I teach my kids? Which curriculum do I choose or do I put together my own? How will I socialize my children (this is a newbie question, as longtime homeschoolers know that there are a billion opportunities out there, or you can create your own)? Do I need to set up a school room for my kid? So many things to think about! Let’s tackle that last question today.
Raising kids comes with a certain amount of stuff. They have their own clothes, toys, etc. When you add homeschooling into the mix, that can also come with a certain amount of stuff depending on how you’re homeschooling. If you’re strictly doing an online program and you don’t do hands-on learning, then maybe not. But most homeschoolers that I’ve met have “homeschool stuff.” That homeschool stuff can include the basics like books, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, and paint supplies. Often it also includes hands-on materials and things that your kids enjoy learning about like sewing supplies or science kits or clay or a microscope or a telescope or craft supplies (googly eyes, pompoms, pipe cleaners) or even a dissection kit. It can be a lot of “homeschool stuff.”
We’ve always had a basket in the middle of our homeschool table that houses the basics that we use regularly - pencils, pens, crayons, markers, a ruler, glue sticks, an eraser, scissors. If we are doing a project in another area (or outside), we can just grab the basket and take it with us.
So do you need a room that looks like a public school classroom? No, you don’t. When I had my first Kindergartener, it was kinda fun to set up a room that looked like a schoolroom with a bulletin board and posters and all of the cute accouterments. I soon realized, though, that my kids often learned better outside of a traditional schoolroom setting, and that they learned everywhere. It is much more comfy to curl up on the couch together to read books than to read sitting at a desk/table. We can learn more about the parts of a plant by exploring the plants outside and taking our work with us than by just looking at a worksheet. We can learn more about the foods from China by making new recipes in the kitchen while listening to music from that country instead of just looking up info about the country in a book or on a website.
Having a separate schoolroom didn’t last long in our house. If there was bookwork to be done or games that required a table, having it away from our kitchen made it difficult. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen when we are at home. With three meals a day, there’s always something to be made, and it helps to be able to meal plan on home days for our busy out-of-the-house days. If my kids are doing bookwork or a project, I can be there to answer questions, or read aloud, or whatever while I’m cooking, cleaning up, or prepping food.
So, in the early years we figured out that a school room wasn’t needed, but we still needed a place to house our homeschool supplies. We ditched the schoolroom, but established a “homeschool area” (conveniently located near the kitchen) - shelves to house our homeschool supplies and a table to sit at to do bookwork or science experiments or play games or make amazing craft creations. I love having a table in our homeschool area, separate from our kitchen table, so that we can leave our projects/books/games out when we stop for lunch or dinner instead of having to push them aside and eat next to a dissection kit or smelly paint or something else equally cringe-worthy. In our new house (and now that my kids are older), we have a homeschool area in our finished basement to house our supplies and to do projects/experiments/games, but my kids still often bring a schoolbook or two upstairs to do on the couch or at the kitchen table since the kitchen is still the heart of our home.
Don’t let not having a “schoolroom” be a stumbling block for your homeschooling. It isn’t a necessity. Homeschooling can be done anytime, anywhere. A well-appointed shelf, cubby, bookcase, or closet can house any needed supplies, and your kids can do their learning wherever it works best.