Excited to start home schooling?
Unsure how to convert areas of your home to accommodate for your home school plans?
Fear not! You are not the first to start eyeing the kitchen table in a new light!
I have lots of dreams of the perfect school room and have searched and pinned tons of images depicting my dream home school room 🙂
In the meantime, here are a few tips for making your current living space work for you while you start home schooling.
1. Our School Table
(yes, it is our dining room table;))
I highly recommend having a place where you and your children can all sit together and draw, craft, or make together. You can sit on the floor, chairs, pillows, or even exercise balls; whatever floats your boat, but being able to relax into the moment and concentrate fully on your children while you work on an activity together is key!
For me, this area is normally around the kitchen table. It works for us because there is enough room for everyone and the baby can observe from the high chair or my arms, but not get into everyone else’s materials.
One major challenge with using the kitchen table or other area frequently used by the family during non-school time is keeping it clean in time for dinner or other family activities. Fear not, I have a system to help make this a possibility. If this is a challenge for you as well, keep reading and I’ll tell you all about my magical bin system in a few minutes.
3 Keys to Making this Work
Three major things help keep this area usable over and over again for daily projects with littles.
- I use a cheap vinyl, easily washable tablecloth from Amazon that can be cleaned with baby wipes. I keep spare tableclothes in the china cabinet for when there is a rip.
- I keep a floor protector made to go under office chairs to protect the floor immediately underneath the baby’s high chair, so he can join in the some of the messy, taste safe fun without too much worry.
- My cordless handheld vacuum gets a major workout cleaning up after projects that leave small pieces of paper, yarn bits, and hole punch remains.
2. Display Area
Inevitably there will be some things that you want to display or share with the kids.
I encourage you to try to keep this to a minimum and not overwhelm your kids with too many wonderful diagrams, phonic pronunciations, and chore charts at the preschool level.
One of the joys of home schooling with the TV off is that you have the capability to help promote focus on the current moment. Too many flashy images gathered all around can actually divert your child from paying attention to the areas you are covering that day.
Yes, you want your child to learn all the letters of the alphabet, how to count to twenty, and name the continents of the world, but it’s not all going to happen in one day; even with the coolest posters in the world.
Since wall space may be limited I highly recommend limiting the decor to things you cover daily. For us that includes weather, and the monthly focus character trait, numbers, color, and shape.
We also have a
Linear Alphabet with Both Capital and Lower Case Letters
Monthly Focus Letters
Monthly Bible Verse
Tips for Display Items
Most of the display pieces are kept out of reach of little hands. Some pieces such as the calendar are replaced each month and are kept at a level low enough that the kids can be active participants in keeping track of the day. Certain pieces that the kids are allowed to change, but need to last all year are laminated. I use this laminator and these lamination sheets.
Home schooling preschool brings with it lots of picture books, art supplies, and general chaos. In addition to the tips I mentioned above for keeping the area easy to clean, I also have a few ideas for helping keep the potential clutter under control.
3. My Magic Bin System
I created a bin system for my home school materials that fits our family.
The smaller bins are for art, science, poetry team time, etc. I also use one of these bins to store the materials I’m actively using for my Morning Basket.
All the bins stay easily accessible in the hall closet under our coats.
These bins are ONLY for the materials I am currently using. Everything else gets put up on the bookshelf or in storage. This makes it very easy for me to grab what I need without having to return everything to a different place in the house when we are done.
The largest bin is for my Mother Goose Time boxed curriculum materials. I have each day in a separate hanging folder.
4. Craft Closet
One of the best decisions we made when starting to home school was to re-purpose this bureau as a craft closet. The bin on the very top of the craft closet is where I keep the boxed home school (Mother Goose Time) materials for next month. The other box on top is full of plastic containers for use with paint and other projects.
In my craft closet I store crayons, markers, pens, pencils, tape, glue, paper, and a whole slew of other fun school and crafting supplies.
The craft closet is kept secure with a child safety lock. We only take out what we need for a project and then return them as soon as we are done. I have this craft closet organized by shelf and can actually find what I need and put it back easily and quickly. It’s a life saver!
5. Book Shelf
I use these book shelves from Saganizer. They are cheaper than most of the front facing bookshelves, since they use cloth for the shelves instead of wood. My kids do crawl on them and they have held up so far. They hold just enough books to keep the kids focused on our chosen topics while in the school room. Yes, there are often far more books on these selves. We just returned a bunch to the library in preparation for the start of our next session 🙂
6. Get Outside
As often as possible, I get the kids outside when we are crafting or doing active games. Some of our simple cooking can even be done outside. It’s much easier to be relaxed about paint, craft materials, and glitter when the mess is falling on the concrete patio or the grass. We have these chairs, which we love. We have this table, which we love, but the chairs that come with it are horrible!
7. Morning/Mama Basket
There are so many wonderful advantages to having a Morning Basket ready to go.
- You know exactly what to start with in the morning without any hassle.
- You develop a routine and make sure fun, beautiful parts of life don’t escape your home school day.
- You have a place to stick off limit items like the camera and the phone.
Lots of people have fantastic and beautiful morning baskets to use. I’m totally crushing on this tote bag from Lakeshore, but for now this simple plastic bin works just fine 🙂
If you are new to Morning Baskets, you owe yourself the chance to listen to the Morning Basket Podcasts. There are several golden ones including a few that directly address morning time during the early years.
Momma, we’ve got this and we are going to have an awesome school year!
If you’re homeschooling younger kids, please say hello. I love making new home school friends!
The image below is perfect for saving on Pinterest!