Module 3, Lesson 4
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Classroom Design and Set Up

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Welcome back!!  Did you immediately start researching planners after our last lesson?? I totally would have!! In this lesson, we’re going to discuss where you’ll learn… and what you need to do it. So, let’s dive right in!

Classroom set up is both a concern and part of the fun of starting homeschool, to be honest. Do you need a designated space? Do you need designated stuff? What actually constitutes a homeschool classroom?

Most of us start our homeschool journey with the thoughts of bringing the little red schoolhouse into our home, right? I had visions of Little House or Anne of Green Gables dancing through my head as I thought about our homeschool… All I could imagine was what I associated with school— the kids would sit in desks and do their work… we’d have some breaks, of course, definitely more recess and snack times— but as I thought more about it, I realized those visions wouldn’t work for us.

At the risk of sounding flippant or cliche, “All the world’s your classroom” when you’re homeschooling with those in-between moments in mind. So when you’re approaching setting you your school space, don’t lose sight of that. 

You’ll still need to give your children a static place to work, but that area of your home where you will designate homeschool will happen is only a small part of the picture— the boundaries of your school will literally become limitless!

With that said, it’s certainly an important part of the picture, because you do need to have a place where your kids do school, a system for storing their stuff, and so forth. So, let’s look briefly at a few of those considerations and ideas. 

Our family has never had a dedicated homeschool space, so we have approached this subject in a WHOLE lot of different ways through the years, using the space we have in creative ways until we decide we’re tired of that approach or we’ve outgrown it. But IF you do have a dedicated space for your homeschool— that’s pretty awesome! You have one of the ultimate privileges afforded anyone in the homeschool world… a door to shut when you close the school for the day! 😉

One of the considerations of setting up your homeschool classroom space is that you’ll need a place for your children to work— that could be a designated space or a multi-use space like a dining room table. Through the years, we’ve homeschooled at the dining room table, the kitchen table, the family room, and then as they got older— in their rooms. Although the actual space assigned for schooling doesn’t matter, having an expected spot for them to do so is pretty important. That helps with accountability and gives some structure to their days. 

You’ll also need to have a way of storing your curriculum, books, supplies, and so forth. Now, as a warning,  that stuff is very likely to spill over into other areas of your house, especially if you don’t have a good end of school day routine for your children and yourself. 

We have approached the storing question in a lot of different ways as well.  We’ve always had some sort of a bookshelf that housed the curriculum— both currently used and those books waiting for the next Nunnery to need them. That bookcase has not been stationary, though— or even the same bookcase for that matter. BUT, there has always been a spot for those books that are not in service.

The books that my children were actually using at any given time were handled differently as well. Sometimes we’d use that same book case to store the current curriculum, and I’d give them all bins to keep their stuff in. Those bins would be put back on the shelf at the end of the day (theoretically.) 

Other times, each of them had a “mobile office,” which was simply a rolling cart that housed all their stuff and would sleep in the garage or in the closet under the stairs. Those were pretty awesome until some of the kids started spending part of the day working in their rooms upstairs and part of the day downstairs. They were a bit clunky at that point. 

To have desks or not to have desks is something else you’ll want to consider. When we started, I went on Craigslist and bought each of them a literal school desk, complete with a basket for their books… they LOVED being asked to sit in those bad boys to do their work… So, within a year or so, I went back on Craigslist, passed them on to a new owner – and moved on to schooling together at the table.

As they got older and made the transition to working more independently in their rooms, they each got real furniture-style desks of their own that they could organize and use in whatever way best suited them. That’s where we are today/

Those are some of the big points to consider when setting up your classroom. There is no checklist for doing it right, though, so look at the space God has given you and get creative!! There are lots of fun ideas to be found on the internet, but let me encourage you with another anchor to help you homeschool successfully—> 

**Be content with what you have and where you are.** 

Satan would love to use the pretty staged pictures of other’s homeschool rooms to make you discontent and ungrateful… and that will make it really hard to focus on your mission each day, for you’ll be struggling to win the battle in your own mind. God has you right where He wants you right now— and He can take the little that you feel like you have to offer and make much of it— for His glory! Trust Him with your classroom setup just as you do with each and every day!

So, what do you actually NEED to be able to homeschool. Not nearly as much as you may think you do. We’ve talked about some sort of a planner, which you’ll need both for planning purposes as well as for documentation purposes as they provide a great diary of what you’ve done. You’ll  also need basic school supplies— writing utensils, scissors, probably crayons or colored pencils, stapler, paper clips, and so forth.

You’ll probably want a printer— colored ones are nice, but I’ve never had one and we survived. 🙂 Whenever the kids needed a color copy for a presentation or something, we’d just send it to Kinkos to be printed.

You’ll definitely want to think through what you’re planning do with all those papers. Depending on how you set up your classroom, you may want to give your children folders or something to turn worksheets in. I’d generally have a designated place, whether be a color-coded folder or something hanging on the wall for them to put their completed assignments that I needed to grade and include in their portfolios.  Otherwise, there would have been papers taking over my entire house, I’m pretty sure. 

But that’s really it. You simply don’t need a lot of stuff to be able to homeschool. You’ll likely pick up extra things for science experiments or projects along the way, but you won’t need to consider how to store those all the time. 

Even with 4 children, I have found that I can store all the supplies that I need in one of those little, plastic, table top, three drawer containers, so my children would know where to look for them.

So, start brainstorming… look at your space through new eyes… engage your children in the conversation and decide together how you’ll want to set up your homeschool this year….

In our next lesson, we’ll discuss those co-ops and groups that we hear about all over town. How should you choose those… and should you even be in one or not? Once again, we’ll anchor to our mission as we discuss those things. I’ll see you there!

Classroom Design and Set Up

Classroom set up is both a concern and part of the fun of starting homeschool, to be honest. Do you need a designated space? Do you need designated stuff? What actually constitutes a homeschool classroom?

 

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