Right now we are in a school break which means, among other things, that I take the time to tidy our school room. Today, I thought I would give you a tour of where we do most of our school work. We are blessed to have a dedicated space for our school materials and work. I love seeing what works for other people and getting ideas for our room. For us, a dedicated space is important. We can leave the learning materials out and walk away from the clutter for meals and play.
In our first house, we used the extra bedroom for our school room. I realized we would spend much of our day hiding in the back bedroom because that is where our learning was taking place. Our space evolved as the kids transitioned to elementary school. When we bought our current house 2 years ago, a dedicated school space was a priority, and I knew that our school room had to accommodate my four school space non-negotiables: I wanted a reading couch, computer desks and both independent and community work spaces.
#1 A Couch
In our 5 years of homeschooling I have become a big fan of what Morning Time, or what we call Couch Time. With 3 very different students I like to combine the subjects we can. We do that with read aloud books for History, Science, Literature and Bible. Having a couch in our school space allows us to cuddle up together to read without disrupting our flow. Some of the kids can be high distractable so staying in the same space keeps them focused on the learning.
We also use it during the rest of our school day to get comfortable while doing independent work, or when we are reading with mom one-on-one. Challenging math lessons can be way more fun when we do them with a lap-sized white board on the couch, rather than sitting at our desk. Cold winter mornings are also much easier to take when there are quilts on the couch to hide under during read-alouds.
#2 Computer Desk
Technology is a part of our school work. It’s part of the adult world our kids will go into and it helps my energy go farther to utilize online classes. We also use the internet for research and apps and games for extra skill practice. It’s a pain to set up and put away laptops each day, so I like having a work station set up that can be used as needed. We have one laptop the kids can rotate through and I have my own at a different desk, which gets used as needed as well by the kids. The oldest takes a few online classes so having a good computer set up is important for her. We also use a digital package for the older two’s math curriculum and a DVD for the youngest.
#3 Individual Desks
Staying focused and on-task is a normal challenge for my students. So having separate work spaces where each can work away from the others is important. Each child has a work space on a different wall than the others so when they are working they won’t be distracted.
Having their own desks also works on their executive functioning skills. They have their own space and materials to manage and take care of, and their school work should stay there. Along with assignment books for the older kids, having ownership of their small desk space is growing their organization skills and self confidence. They are in control of their school work and how it gets done. I am able to work with them to make good choices in managing their time and controlling their environment.
#4 Community Workspace
Everyone has their space to work on their own independently but, like our “Couch Time,” there are times when we all work together on the same project. Often for Science or Art, it’s better to all sit together to work, where we can share materials and resources. Also, I use the space when I’m working with a child one-on-one and we need to spread out our materials. It’s much easier than kneeling next to their desks in each corner of the room.
Last year for science we used a Lego Education Simple Machine Kit. We enjoyed working together through the materials and building each model. Who says homeschoolers can’t do group work. 😉 This year we have also met together at the table to watch art tutorials on a laptop for Art.
What does your school room look like?
With 5 year of learning at home these are the things that work well for our family. Each family finds a groove for themselves. Having all these different work spaces in the same room allows us to move around and change up how we get our work done with out extra work of carrying materials throughout the house. And the hassle of searching the house for misplaced materials. And it’s easy on mom to have everyone close by. A few of my other favorite features in our school space:
- A large map on the wall for impromptu geography lessons.
- My own teacher desk to plan and keep materials.
- Yoga balls for alternative chairs on extra wiggly days.
- Big windows to observe nature outside and also take breaks to run.
- In and out boxes to collect completed work instead of it creating clutter in the room.
Where do you do school? Do you have a dedicated space?