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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our HOME School Places and Spaces 2013


Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool

Welcome to my HOMEschool.  Emphasis on HOME.  Yes, we use our home to SCHOOL our children.  But, the fact is...it is a home, first and foremost.  

While I know some opt to create a homeschool classroom...a room dedicated strictly to homeschooling that mirrors that of a traditional school, the Hubs and I have chosen to invite school into our entire home.  Because, in truth, learning happens where LIFE happens.  Neither LIFE nor LEARNING can be boxed up between four little walls.


In addition, we have a desire to foster sibling relationships and as two of the "sibs" of the house are not technically of school age, we want to provide a schooling space that is FAMILY friendly...and that includes everyone in the family.  Just as I would not expect my one-year-old to feel all that excited about spending 5-6 hours meandering around a traditional fifth grade classroom, I would not expect him to be all that thrilled about spending the same amount of time in a homeschool "classroom."  

If three of my five children are cooped up in a room all day, they will either miss out on living life with their younger brothers OR they would force their younger brothers to be cooped up with them. Similarly, I would have a difficult time wearing the wife/mom/teacher hat if I, too, was penned inside one room of the house for the majority of the day.  By spreading school all around, I am affording myself the opportunity to participate in school, but not be chained to it.  I can be baking bread for supper WHILE listening to a reading lesson, or folding laundry WHILE practicing math facts.  

So, on any given homeschool day, you can find my Littles and me sitting at the dining room table, lounging on the couch, lying on a bed, sprawled out on the floor...anywhere and everywhere...learning and living life together.

That being said, I do recognize the need to organize all the STUFF that quickly accumulates when you begin to homeschool.  For the most part, we store our IN USE materials in the dining room and our NOT IN USE materials in the basement.  

Come take a peek...


Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool


As I've mentioned before, the Hubs moonlights as a picker...a junker who loves giving new life to old treasures.  While we may have the finances to buy NEW...we almost always opt to refurb the old. Apart from our couches, mattresses, and one set of bunk beds, everything in our house is a one-of-a kind original, including this beloved china hutch.

Purchased at a thrift shop, this little lovely came to us in really rough shape.  But with a coat of paint and some sand paper, the Hubs created a homeschooling cabinet to hold the CORE of our curriculum. When we first started homeschooling, this was all the storage we needed.  But, as the years flew by, it quickly became MY primary homeschool storage space, and the kid's materials were moved elsewhere.

The hutch holds

  1. curriculum guides, lesson plan binders, preschool readers, science kits, basic art paper
  2. larger math manipulatives, record-keeping file folders
  3. drawers full of office supplies
  4. drawers full of extra school supplies and stickers


Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool


After two years of homeschooling, we assigned Super Boy the task of painting my grandmother's childhood dresser in order to provide more storage space for EXTRAS.

The dresser holds

  1. magazine boxes for each child's workbooks and notebooks, a wrack of board puzzles
  2. extra flashcards
  3. small manipulatives mostly used for math
  4. learning games (our family board games are stored elsewhere)
  5. bags of regular puzzles (I cut the top off of puzzle boxes oand store the top and pieces in a Ziplock bag to save space), and more board puzzles

Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool

The newest addition to our homeschooling space is this table.  We have a very small formal dining room that holds A LOOOOOOT of furniture.  So, when faced with the task of replacing our table of six for a table of eight to fit our family of SEVEN, I was a little skeptical that we'd find one long enough but also narrow enough to fit the space.

This past spring while buying and selling at a flea-market style junk show, I found this table.  Like all our furniture, it came with an interesting story...it was salvaged from the library of a closed school and still smelled of old books (or maybe the smell was just my imagination).  It was both long and narrow...my two IMPOSSIBLE requirements...and had been the hub of countless literary adventures for decades.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect table for our family.  

We are in the processes of salvaging unique chairs of all shapes and sizes.  Once we have found eight chairs, we plan to paint them all a mustard yellow color to add some POP to the room.  


I recently found this antique, wooden milk carrier at a flea market.  I brought it home, filled it with commonly used art supplies, and now have a portable art caddy to bring out and set in the middle of the table anytime someone feels creative.  It is very rustic, so I have no worries about spilled paint or glue blobs making it look dirty.  


Our HOME School Places and Spaces 2013

On one wall in the dining room, we hang our Task Cards and a laminated world map.  (The Task Cards help keep me sane, and the world map helps us keep track of all the countries we are learning about in our geography club.)

Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool

And then there are baskets!

And BASKETS!

And still more baskets!

Currenly, we have baskets sitting in nearly every corner of the main level of our house.  

Our baskets hold

  1. library read-alouds
  2. our living literature books for our TruthQuest History curriculum
  3. my daughter's independent project supplies and journal
  4. my most frequently used flashcards
  5. our handwork projects
  6. coloring books
  7. old magazines to be used for art/projects

Our HOME School Spaces and Places 2013 The Unlikely Homeschool


In addition, I have two plastic bins in a closet.  One holds art supplies and one holds clean "trash" to be used in art/projects such as empty oatmeal cylinders, egg cartons, jars, etc.


That's what our space looks like.  How about yours?


Linking up with the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop at iHomeschool Network.

26 comments:

  1. I'm not sure why many people who do not have a schoolroom think this, but I've read it many times lately and it needs to be said for anyone reading:

    We that do have a schoolroom do not keep our children "cooped up" inside one room all day. We are not "penned" to one room, and certainly not "chained" to it! Sure we may start our day in there, or do certain things in there, but we move around the house just as much as any other homeschooling family. We just have a room to organize it all in. Every family is different. One way is NOT better than another. We are all supposed to encourage one another and to share in our excitement. If you have a schoolroom, great! If all you have is a dining room table, that's great too! If it works great for you, and you are happy, THAT'S what matters!

    Don't assume that because there is a dedicated schoolroom, that we are trying to recreate school at home. I've seen pictures of many homeschool rooms over time, and can honestly say that not even one of those rooms looks truly like a classroom in a school. Take what ideas you can from the pictures and leave the rest. Some people have admitted feeling jealous or inferior over certain pictures. Don't be jealous. Be thankful for this opportunity in your life and for what you have.

    Disclaimer: This comment was not intended towards any particular individual. I've seen many, many people making statements similar to those above. I just want people to hear the "other side of the story". Thanks for listening.

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    1. I completely agree with you...every homeschool is as unique as every homeschooling family. If I have offended you, it certainly was not my intent. Thank you for your willingness to share the other side.

      While I have chosen a "non classroom" because I know it best suites my family's particular needs, I would never criticize you for choosing a different path when it suits your family's needs. Lately, I have been sooooo saddened by the unschool vs. school-at-home wars among homeschoolers. I have been "privy" to a bit of it myself. Some think I'm a school-at-homer simply because I like organization and occasionally use workbooks, while others feel I'm too loosey-goosey and need to look more traditional in my methods and approaches. I guess, in the end, we all have to do what we feel God is calling us to and be content to know that He doesn't call everyone to the same journey.

      Today, I just shared MY journey...but I am certainly not implying it is the ONLY way.

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    2. You didn't offend me at all. I just want people to realize that just because some of us have schoolrooms, that we are NOT stuck, penned, chained, etc, in one room all day like most people seem to think. I've read that sort of thing SO many times over the last couple weeks and I don't understand why so many people think this. Sure, we have a schoolroom. But last week's school was done at the table in the dining room, on the floor of the living room, in the car one afternoon, and on the couch another day (as well as at the school table a little as well). But at the end of the day and week, it's all stored away nicely in our schoolroom. It's the best of both worlds.

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    3. I think the original post was judgmental and even tho this is old, I wanted to comment. At the beginning, I used to dining room table, and I hated having it cluttered and having to clear off projects that were part-way thru, stick them somewhere, and drag them out the next day. We didn't have storage in the dining room either so it was always messy. Now we have a nice finished room down the basement and I have to say, while we do not use it all the time, it's REALLY nice to have a space for the stuff and not have it all over. We aren't stuck anywhere just because we do have a room. We have a less cluttered house and a more organized room where I can easily find things. So, whatever works, but don't belittle those who have rooms vs whole homes.

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  2. Thanks for this post. At our old house I had a small hallway closet for my homeschool stuff to fit in. When we moved I was very excited about having an extra room in the basement that we could dedicate as a classroom. We don't use it as much as I would like to because like you we end up doing school where ever the activity would best work out. I love the flexibility of homeschooling!

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    1. Ditto! Different strokes for different folks! Sometimes the word "classroom" can simply mean "a place to hold it all". So, in some aspects, we ALL have a classroom of sorts...they each just look quite different.

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  3. Thanks for this. We have gone back and forth between having a school room and not... I'm not exactly sure what the plan is for this year... probably not. I need to work on organization and having a way to store all of our stuff, but working at the kitchen table truly works better for our family.

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    1. Neither way is RIGHT or WRONG. Only you can decide what works best logistically for you and your kids.

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  4. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blogspot. It has been very helpful and encouraging. After 6 years of homeschooling, going on 7, I learned to be more appreciative of other family's ways of doing things. No more of those negativity and doubt nor keeping up attitude with others but rather being open-minded. It takes some bravery and effort to expose what you're doing in your personal home in the web.
    I have a designated homeschool room set up in such a way that works for me and my kids. I am thankful for a supportive hubby who did the bookshelves in that room.
    Your blog opened my mind that other spaces at home can be utilized. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I, too, have fallen prey to the comparison trap...especially when I see such wonderful ideas/homeschooling projects on the web. As you said, it's nice to finally come to a place where you can look at someone else's style and appreciate it for what it is and not feel bad about why/how your situation looks different. Great perspective! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I totally get it! When we moved in to our new home almost 2 years ago, one of the exciting things was to have an office. One of the first things my in-laws said was, great now you have a classroom or school room. (sigh) Well, no we have an organizational hub, an office to house the computer, printer, books, materials etc. Yes we gather around the table in there to work on projects or use the white board, but we learn everywhere including outdoors in the chicken coup! LOL. I find it a bit amusing that if you're homeschooling folks want to assume your re-creating school @home and then when I was in the preschool scene we had graded assessments that tried to have teachers re-create home @ school. (dramatic play, kitchen area, reading/home-life center.) funny really, when you pause to thing about it. Thank goodness we have the luxury, and freedom as homeschool families to figure it out on our own, unlike public school staff who are really being told who, what , where, how and oh yah, with less money than ever before. Keep up the great effort!

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    1. It sounds like your office is similar to our dining room...a hub.

      I actually taught preschool for 3 years and never really thought of the irony of recreating home at school...but you are soooo right.

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  6. I loved taking a tour of your homeschool spots! (found on Pinterest) We just moved from Texas to Florida into a much smaller house and it is challenging, but also fun, to find new places for all the homeschool stuff. We have a dresser in the living room and I also stick baskets all over the house. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one who has a dresser in an unusual spot. It certainly works for us, but it does raise some eyebrows occasionally.

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  7. I can honestly say that we, at one time or another, have used every single room in our house (including the bathroom) for school! We have a spare bedroom where we keep our computer, school supplies, bookshelves, and desks for my kids. Is this a classroom? Some may consider it one. But really, it's multi-purpose room mainly used for storage. We do use the desks for seat work and some art projects, but not every time. Our dining table & kitchen island get used a lot too! As does the couch, floor, patio, and bed! And sometimes the car. :) Isn't it nice to have options and not feel tied to one particular space?

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    1. Yep...very nice.

      Funny that you should mention the bathroom. My MIL says that the bathroom floor was my husband's favorite spot to do homeschool when he was a boy...right next to the heat vent on a cold winter day. Ha!

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  8. We recently moved from a house that had space for a "school room" into one that does not. We didn't really do much school in the room once the kids got a bit older, but I did enjoy having a dedicated storage space for all of our stuff. I am struggling, but slowly getting a system into place that allows us to store our school stuff in a visually tolerable yet practical way. I don't know why I never thought of using the dresser we have in our living room. It is sitting nearly empty!

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  9. I LOVE your refurbished hutch! I, too, like to paint old furniture! It makes your home feel so much more original that way. Great blog! Thanks!

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  10. Task cards are all printed from Staples and all ready to go. Praying it keeps me sane teaching K and 3rd @ the same time. While we've multi taught before it was always much more spread out in age groups. Thanks for the freebie.

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  11. Just posted about one of our learning spaces yesterday! :) Fun to get a glimpse of your spaces. Our inside is a lot like that as well... some here, some there, learn, learn, learn!

    http://covingtonchronicle.blogspot.com/2013/08/hammock-homeschooling.html

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  12. BEAUTIFUL room!!!! So pleasant! I could homeschool in there anyday!

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  13. We have a "school room" that has a long desk, bookshelves, the kids' computer, the coloring table, and wall space for the white board. (It also houses the air hockey table...for um...geometry? LOL!) The biggest reason we use this room is because it's the biggest room in the house! And we transformed our linen closet into the "craft and supply" closet, a lot of which ends up in the school room periodically. (That kid "Not Me" leaves stuff out a lot!) My oldest tends to do most of her school work at her sewing table in her bedroom...the next two prefer the dining room table! So I think that most people who have a "school room" probably end up using their whole house too...at least that is what it sounds like the majority does. Some could even label your dining room as the "school room" during the day. ;) It's sad that there have been "fights" or "wars" over ANY type of schooling. Everyone really just does what they believe is the best fit for their family, right?

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    1. I forgot to mention the toddler that uses her high chair for "school" when it's not meal time. Puzzles, crayons, etc...she loves to do school with her older sisters!

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    2. Agreed! No "war" was intended. I was just posting with regards to how I know MY children would feel having a classroom-looking school room. Obviously, other children will feel differently. But that is definitely one of the many benefits of homeschooling...each home is different and so each school can be different too! Thanks for sharing about your room. Sounds like a great place to learn!

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  14. I love baskets too! You have a very organized space that I will be taking a few pointers from.

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