Hey homeschool mom! If you're anything like me, you want your homeschool space to be a place of peace and calm. A homeschool room where learning happens joyfully and everything is organized just so.
But sometimes it can be hard to know how to start with the piles of curricula you've accumulated or what ideas will work best for your family, especially if you don't have an entire room to dedicate to homeschooling.
Fear not! The good news is that you can create a warm, inviting homeschool area that works for you and your kids, even if you don’t have a lot of room or need to homeschool around the kitchen table.
Creating Your Ideal Homeschooling Space
First, let's talk about your home! Where in your house do your kids hang out? Do they like to be in the same room as you, or do they prefer their own space? Where do you, as a mom, spend most of your time?
Think about what would work best for your family. Walk around your house and take a closer look at how everything is laid out. Part of the decision-making process is thinking about how your family really lives and uses the space in your home.
If you don't have an extra room to use as a learning space, that's okay! You can easily create a homeschool nook in your living room, kitchen, or even at the dining table.
Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
One of my homeschool mentors decided to give up the dining room and make it a homeschool space for her large family. It made more sense to eat elsewhere!
The rooms in your home can be used in different ways! As a mom of an only child, we can tuck our homeschooling space into a smaller area of our home. If you have lots of kids, you might have to be a bit more creative.
NOTE: As we work on creating the perfect place for your homeschooling, just know that all your homeschool materials and curriculum don’t have to live in that same spot. We have shelves in the living room that store curriculum, but daily work hangs out on our homeschool table and art supplies live in a rolling cart.
- Have an extra room that you use as a guest room occasionally? Put in some bookshelves and make it your homeschool library.
- Have a corner of a room that sits unused? Make a cozy reading nook.
- Have a wall that is just used for pictures and maybe a decorative table? How about a small desk there instead?
Maybe you want a space where the kids can do their independent work while you're working with another child. Or maybe you all prefer to be together in the same room so you can chat and help each other out as needed.
Where is it practical to homeschool?
Before you finish reading this article, go take that walk around your house – I'm serious! Even if you already know where your homeschool spot is, let's brainstorm ways to make that area fun and inviting.
When school time rolls around you want a space that you and your kids like to be in.
Help! What if I don't have a designated homeschooling room?
That's totally OK! Here are some spaces that work for homeschooling:
- Dining room tables
- Kitchen tables
- Couches and coffee tables in the living room
- Small desks tucked into the corner of a room
- Your local library
- Outside in good weather
The important thing is to set up systems and spaces that work for you and your family, and the way you live. It’s fun to admire amazing homeschool rooms on Pinterest (and glean ideas!), but I’ve read many a story from homeschooling moms who did all that work and their kids camped out on the couch with their workbooks anyway!
The great thing about homeschooling is that you can make it work whatever space you have.
In our house, we don't have a designated room for homeschooling. I like having our homeschooling area be part of our main living area. That way, I can be available if my daughter needs help, but can also get other things done while she works independently. My desk is nearby!
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Ideas for Homeschooling Families
with Large Spaces
I’m not a big fan of recreating public school classrooms at home. If you have an entire homeschool room to use, it should be a place where you and your kids LOVE to hang out together. It should flow with the rest of your home’s decor, whatever that may be. Please don't run off and buy little school desks to replicate brick and mortar school – pinky promise?
Here are some ideas when you have a lot of space. Think functional mixed with fun:
Create a reading nook.
We are big fans of bean bags in our house! But a corner with lots of pillows works too, or a cozy chair with a nearby table to stack books.
Create interest-based work areas.
If you have a budding artist, tinkerer, computer programmer, martial artist, fashion designer… or whatever interests your kids have, think about creating spaces where they can explore those passions.
- An art corner with an easel near a window with good natural light.
- A computer desk with reference books.
- An exercise mat with a full length mirror to check form.
- A sewing table with a flat surface for cutting out patterns and a thread spool organizer mounted on the wall.
Interest-based areas can also give kids their own space.
Make a spot for movement or fun breaks.
Without forced PE class like at school, it’s a great idea to set up inviting spaces for physical activity and exercise. Movement breaks are also super helpful for refocusing during your homeschool day!
We love our rebounder. It's SILENT. It can be done watching a show or YouTube, or listening to Spotify or a Podcast. It's great exercise for kids and adults alike! One fitness person I follow doesn't even really jump, just kind of walks in place to get her daily steps in. Genius.
We're a techy family, so we have a Nintendo Switch. Ring Fit Adventure for Switch is a surprisingly effective and challenging workout and perfect for our long, cold, rainy winters! Each person in your family can have their own profile. You'll be sweating!
Other movement ideas that don’t take up a lot of room:
- yoga mats
- jump ropes
- yoga balls
- balance boards
Ideas for Homeschooling Families
with Small Spaces
We don’t have an extra room in our house to dedicate to homeschooling, so I’m all about finding small spaces that work! We’ve moved several times over the past few years, too, so I’ve had to create our homeschool areas in different homes with different layouts. It can be done!
Here are my top tips for carving out a spot for homeschooling, even if you have a small room.
Make space for a small desk or table.
If you have a corner you can repurpose, or an unused space in a larger open-plan living room or family room, a small desk or table can be a great homeschool spot. Here’s a picture of the table we have behind our sofa that we got last year:
This is where my daughter does most of her homeschooling, and she has her gel pens and the small stack of things she’s working on this week. You can also see she’s been perfecting her origami cranes! She loves this spot and often eats her meals here, too.
What my husband and I like is that this little table has moved the homeschool clutter off of the dining room table. We don’t have to put away every single thing every day and pull it out again, and she can have projects in process.
Make your dining room table homeschool central.
Now, maybe you don’t have the extra space for even a small desk in a corner. That’s OK! We have homeschooled at our dining room table many a year. It just takes a bit more discipline to keep the space tidy and ready for meals!
I wrote about my inexpensive and movable homeschool organizing system here and it’s perfect for dining room table homeschooling. A folding shelf and cute fabric bins keep all of your homeschooling supplies organized!
Make your homeschooling portable.
You don't need a full, big-box curriculum and every single science tool to homeschool well. You really don't.
Our 7th grade choices consist of an online curriculum for the main subjects, a handwriting book, a typing book, some subscriptions, a spiral notebook where write her daily assignments, and trips to the library. All of the things she does daily can fit in a backpack, including her laptop.
(Does tech work in your house like it does in ours? That laptop was my husband's, then mine, and now it's hers!)
Even in a tiny space, you can homeschool well, and your learning materials can go with you to a local cafe, park, or to the library to work.
DIY Homeschool Room Ideas
You'll find I use the word cozy a lot.
It's intentional. Kids (and us adults) learn best when we are rested, calm, and in an environment where we feel secure. (This is one of the reasons I think many classrooms – especially elementary classrooms – are WAY too overloaded, with primary colors and constant visual stimulation. Too much stuff = kids who have a hard time focusing.)
Whether it's a specific room or just a corner, think cozy and inviting. Make sure seating works for your kids' bodies and their feet fall flat on the floor. Have a clean, open work area and good lighting.
Get a bulletin board or white board.
A bulletin board is one public school staple that I like having in our home. I love having a place to pin up my daughter’s latest drawing, school work that she’s proud of, photos from a recent field trip, and a little spot to put up some cute seasonal decor.
You can also use a bulletin board for things like inspirational quotes, memory verses, group work, or calendar reminders!
Corral those art supplies.
I discovered one of the best ways to keep all the paintbrushes, paints, markers, stacks of paper, and other art materials organized. Behold, the art cart!
I’ve had this IKEA cart for a few years and it never found its purpose. Now, it’s perfect. When my daughter’s art mentor comes for her weekly lesson, we roll the art cart over to the dining room table and off they go!
Obviously, the cart idea can work for any number of things:
- math manipulatives,
- school or library books,
- board games,
- science experiment supplies,
- craft kits… so many creative ideas!
Use cubby shelves creatively.
When my kiddo was small, we used cubby shelves to organize small toys. But those inexpensive cubby shelves can grow with your kids and are an easy way to store homeschool curriculum, books, art supplies, craft kits and subscription boxes, games, and whatever else you use in your homeschool!
You can use the cubbies in different ways, too: baskets on the bottom, open shelves on top. Or stacking, closed bins that fit in the squares. Trays with tall edges for ongoing projects.
I love cubbies for reducing visual clutter while keeping things easily accessible!
Giving each child their own set of drawers is another simple way to keep your homeschool organized. I once read about a very cool homeschooling workbox system using drawer bins which appealed to my organized, list-making, check-off-the-boxes personality, but my daughter wasn’t a fan!
Even if you don’t use the drawers for daily curriculum, they can be a wonderful way for large families to store each child’s work and materials. Kids can help keep their homeschool area tidy and know where their work is!
Create an outdoor area for homeschooling.
If you live in a place with great weather year round, or if you enjoy being outside seasonally, think about setting up an outdoor space to change up your homeschool routine.
This summer I made an inexpensive outdoor space on our deck. The rug came from Home Depot, but the comfy chair set, small wooden table, and cement fire pit came from Amazon! (Oh, and so did the storage chest for the pillows.) Is it design magazine worthy? Nah. Is it comfy? You bet!
It can be as simple as a couple of outdoor chairs for reading time, or a patio table set that lets them do art or finish a workbook page outside.
We’re fans of hammocks, too, for reading and even for video game breaks!
Your Family is Unique!
One of the things that helps me create a successful school year is organization, and simplicity. Over the years we have really honed in on what works for our family, and we are what I’d call eclectic, almost-unschoolers.
How you organize your homeschool depends a lot on the type of homeschooling you do, and your personality type as a mom! It also makes sense to consider each child’s needs as you set up your homeschool space.
Creating a learning environment that works can be a fun project for your family.
Get your kids’ input! What do they like? What is important to them?
You might be surprised at the clever and practical ideas they come up with! Young children are usually happy to be wherever the action is happening, but older kids develop more preferences on how they like to work and where is comfortable for them.
Share in the comments: how do you fit homeschooling into your current living space?