One of the things I have always loved the most about homeschooling my children is that we can homeschool anywhere. I love being able to pack up our things and hit the park, a friend’s house, a cafe, etc. The options are limitless. That said, I also think having some excellent organization within the home, where you are primarily learning, is vital to keeping the peace and balance within your homeschool.
We’ve been homeschooling for about 7 years and have had our “homeschool room” configured in every way imaginable. We started out with a small bookshelf we already had near the dining room table, then bought a 10 drawer cart to hold the workbooks, then used a corner of a spare bedroom that was my office at the time, followed by making that office a full homeschool room complete with custom built shelves and a gorgeous new table and chairs.
When we had just one or two kiddos doing school that worked well, however, I found that staying in the homeschool room made our school work seem too much like… “work”.
Yes, it is work, and I have no problem with that, but I desired a more nurturing, open environment, where curiosity and education weren’t limited to which pages we had to read and filling in all the blanks before we could leave the little room.
As our family has grown we’ve tried to make the most of the square footage we have to work with. I have never wanted to get caught up in going bigger and adding on an addition before this house is paid off (Okay, I’ve dreamt, and I’ve pinned, but it’s not happening yet). Sure, adding a 16×20 homeschool room that faces the backyard would be darling, but I think we are managing here just fine how we are.
After baby number 4 was born I was sleep deprived and made some quick decisions with little thought (not unusual for me, but I probably could’ve used better judgment). We threw some brighter paint on the basement walls, bought some more furniture, and relocated our homeschool room downstairs.
Well folks, that didn’t last long as my ENFP personality could not stay in a room without windows, and be so far from the kitchen all day! I couldn’t keep up on housework either.
Even though we had the most space there, it didn’t feel “right”. Oh, and then we had a small water issue (thankfully we caught it right away), most likely caused by putting a dozen egg shells and coconut oil down the drain each morning for 5 years. After the bottom of the new bookshelves and desks got wet we decided that spare bedroom just seemed like the best option.
You know the whole “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke” thing? Yeah, following that could’ve saved us some serious time and money! Oh well, live and learn, and thankfully Mr. Awesome and I like doing these kinds of projects together.
I will get a full tour up on youtube, which you can check out any time by going to YouTube.com/ASlightlyBetterWife, for now though, here are some pictures of the new shelves. and layout.
You can see a mini tour on my Instagram Stories, where I am also @ASlightlyBetterWife.
Basically, we added a 5×5 Ikea Kallax that totally opened the room up, and moved the 2×4 Kallax to another wall. It’s amazing how a little change can make a HUGE difference in the way things feel.
I intentionally went with a 5×5, rather than stacking two units, to keep some visual room above the shelf.
This is definitely an Ikea showroom:
Ikea Kallax 2×4 (two of these, one is screwed on top of the 4×4).
Ikea Lack Side Table (in the corner)
If you are putting up a bigger shelf I cannot stress enough how important it is to USE WALL ANCHORS. Even if you don’t have a climbing toddler in your house, bigger kids might use the bottom shelves to reach the top shelves and you don’t want the whole unit toppling over. Seriously, use the anchors, I can teach you how to patch walls later if you ever need to move it.
Here are some other elements I want to highlight:
A good label maker makes all the difference in materials getting put back in the right place Having some sort of place to keep your pencils handy is also helpful! This one isn’t my favorite, my favorite is actually the turnabout from Pampered Chef, but I have this black one and it works just fine. The Echo Show is a nice touch (Thanks Grandpa and Granny). The kids can look up facts, watch little videos, and the youngest student can use it to launch Firefox and play on Reading Eggs or Math Seeds.Hands down this is the one material thing I could not live without in my business and in our homeschooling. I print so much, and having a good quality printer, with the HP Instant Ink program has been a game changer! No more running to the store for cartridges, or running out at 10 pm. I always have ink ready to go.