So how do we do it? Simple. We forget about the idea of having a "school room" or "school area". I realize some people can't deal with that. They want a dedicated school area and they don't want textbooks and projects to encroach on the rest of the home. But that hasn't ever been a possibility for us.
Initially, we "did school" in two places ... the dining room table for workbooks and textbooks, and the living room couch for unit studies and reading. But as our family grew, that became problematic. We had schoolbooks still out at supper time, laundry folding crowded the school students, siblings distracted each other, and the older children didn't feel they had enough elbow room with everyone at the table. So we spread out.
Now, my 15 yo daughter has a desk in the kitchen. My 14 yo daughter uses the dining room table. My 11 yo daughter does her work in her bedroom. My 10 yo son does his schoolwork in either the living room or his bedroom. The 7 yo does his schoolwork beside me, usually on the floor. We come together again in the living room for history reading and some other joint studies.
Our textbooks and notebooks are stored on shelves in the dining room, where our wall maps are also displayed. Each child has a milk crate of their current work in the dining room. Our library is spread throughout the house, in the living room, dining room and hallway. I'm still plotting to fit another bookshelf in the kitchen.
It's working, but I had to give up any hopes of keeping all evidence of school contained in one room. I had to be okay with wall maps as decor, even when hosting guests. I have to be organized and if I have any hopes of a clean home, I have to teach the children to put away their schoolwork, craft supplies, and projects. That's the hardest part.
I also had to think creatively. My high schoolers desk in the kitchen was once my little baking center. I had to move my bread machine, crock pot and mixer to the dresser that was my changing table. And my changing station moved to my bedroom, where I now use my bed for diaper changes, keeping the supplies in a caddy on the dresser edge.
But, homeschooling in small spaces has its blessings, too. Yes, we have textbooks in plain sight, and maps on our dining room wall. BUT, that means that our maps are readily accessible for teachable moments. It also means that when we're talking about something we're learning, kids can quickly grab a book to show us what they mean. Having no school room also means that I can continue with my chores as the children do their schoolwork. I'm not in a distant part of the house, unless I'm doing laundry. Learning is part of our everyday life, and our home reflects that.
You don't need a huge home or a separate area for homeschooling. If you have that area and want a separate school room, that's great! But if you don't have the space, it's okay, too. Don't let a small home stop you from homeschooling, if you feel God is leading you to homeschool. Just pray, and be creative!
This post was written as part of the weekly Homeschool Crew Blog Cruise. Visit the Crew blog to read what others have to share on the subject.
Homeschooling my 8 sardines,