In our old home, we had 8 people in a 1200 sq. ft., 3 bedroom home with an eat-in kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room. There were no other rooms. The kitchen area held the dining room and the laundry closet, as well as serving as our school area. We had two bookshelves in there, and we used plastic file boxes with hinged lids on top of the shorter bookshelf.
In our current home, we now have 9 people in 1800 sq. feet. We still only have 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, and one (blessedly large) living room. But we now have a dining area separate from the kitchen, and we can do our schoolwork in the dining area. The dining room is connected to the living room, with a built-in buffet/shelf between the two areas. This was our second school year in our new home.
We have a large dining room table, which has plants, a napkin box, and Daddy's paper stack on it. At the moment, it also has schoolwork from the older two kids at the end by the window. We have a clear vinyl table cloth protecting the table from pencils, scissors, glue, markers, and tape. (Yes, my walls need to be repainted. We wanted to do it before we moved in, because we knew once we were in, it would be much more difficult to accomplish. But, it didn't happen, and it still hasn't.)
We use the buffet top on the dining room side to hold plastic boxes for each child to store their schoolbooks in, as well as several smaller baskets for pencils, pens, erasers, etc. The built in shelves under it hold school supplies, some textbooks, coloring books, and other craft supplies. There is even a cupboard that is the perfect size for paper-back books. (Of course, we also have to occasionally look in the cupboard to see what the 3 year old might have stashed in there. She calls it her closet and is always losing things inside there.)
Under the window, we have a long thin table that holds file boxes, magazine files, and a big file drawer. This organizes paper, answer keys, and several other things. The shelf under this table has more boxes of craft supplies. The stack of stuff in the corner is my scrapbook supplies and other projects.
There are 4 bookshelves in the connected living room and two in the hallway. Every single bookshelf holds schoolbooks of some sort. Reference books, historical books, literature books, currently unused textbooks ... many of which are double-shelved. There isn't just one shelf for school books; they're everywhere!
Most of the time, you can find children doing their schoolwork in the living room, as well. The couch, love seat, and even the floor also serve as school areas. If the girls are reading, they're just as likely to take their history and literature books to their beds, or outside.
It's crowded. It's not always pretty. But it's our school area, and we're thankful for it. I often wish I had extra money to spend on some really great organizational tools for this area. I'm sure over time, we'll continue to revamp the area.
But today, this is what it looks like.
Trusting in Him,