Most new homeschoolers want to know what homeschooling looks like. Do we have a classroom? Where do we do homeschool? How do we stay organized?
One answer is that we homeschool everywhere! Meaning, we learn all the time in all places. Learning isn’t confined to a classroom. But I get that most people want to replicate school at home. They want to have a dedicated homeschool room, supplies, textbooks, science equipment, etc. For a long time I wanted that too. I love to be organized and have schedules. I love the visual appeal of classrooms: bright, colorful, organized, tidy. But really for children to learn and retain the most you let them learn all the time wherever they are. They don’t just turn on the learning function of their brain when they walk in the door and turn it off when they leave. Some of the best learning is when they ask questions in the car, are exploring the woods on their own, are having to make a craft 3 times because the first 2 didn’t work.
Sorry, I’m going down a rabbit trail. Another answer is yes, we do have places we do the more formal learning. It is most often the dining room table. Next frequent would be the living room couches.
For history I stand or sit at the head of the table, reading or discussing the textbook. The kids get a sheet of notebook paper and write down any facts they find interesting. Sometimes we make timelines or sketches of things too. When we do Apologia science, it’s very similar. I read the textbook and they fill out the workbooks that come with the textbook. There are minibooks they make and experiments we do. All of this is best done around the dining room table. Of course, if we need to go outside for anything we do. The year we studied Botany we read around the picnic table and then went looking for plants the lesson talked about. We did nearly the whole course outside.
When I read outloud to the children it is most frequently done on the living room couch. The kids gather around me, someone usually practices their braiding skills on my hair, and we enjoy a good book together.
For the younger children they mostly do cheap all-in-one workbooks like Brain Quest for their personal subjects. They mostly play during the school day but when they want to do school like the big kids they will bring their workbooks to the table and I help them. It’s convenient so that while they’re coloring in all the long A sound words I can be unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the fridge, starting laundry.
The middle children do their individual subjects at the table too. The older children tend to do theirs on the couch. Thomas uses the glider rocker as his spot and does all his school there. Except he loves to read outside, walk around to stretch his legs while I give him an oral vocabulary test, play the piano and cello, and do art in his bedroom. But his other subjects he does in the same chair. Alexis had her same spot on the couch and did it there every day. Kaitlyn is all over the place. Different places on the couch, on her bed, by the fire on cold days, in the rocking chair, under a tree.
Past House Setups
In our tiny 761 square foot Texas house we did school on the couch, at the table or outside. In North Carolina we did half at the table and half on the couch. The kids each had their own couch cushion on our sectional couch. In our big Utah rental house we had two living rooms so we made one into a school room. We got desks for the first time ever. We put maps on the wall. The piano was there for easy practicing. It was fun to have a room dedicated for our homeschool classroom for the first time ever. The kids did their personal subjects at their desks but still did group subjects around the dining room table. The desks were great for keeping all their school work and art supplies. So if nothing else I enjoyed having a school room just for the kids to keep their stuff in a handy place.
Pictures of our homeschool classroom over the years
I love to see pictures of other families doing school and what their homes look like, so here are some pictures of ours over the past 20 years of homeschooling. Hope it gives you ideas of how to make your own house or apartment work for you!
Our North Carolina House
Our Utah Rental House
Our Virginia Farmhouse
Making Your Homeschool Classroom
Where do you homeschool? I dream of a schoolroom area that’s part of the kitchen and dining room, but has its own table so that we don’t have to clear our projects when it’s time for a meal. It would also have lots of cupboards for all of our school supplies, art and crafty things, microscope, educational games and puzzles, etc. A learning center that’s in the main part of the house yet doesn’t utilize the couches and dining table.
However you want to homeschool and where is up to you! Don’t be pressured into thinking you have to be ultra organized to homeschool or need a set area. Learning is taking place all the time, not only in a specified classroom as I said earlier. Do what works for you and your child. Maybe it’s at the library, maybe on your 5th floor apartment balcony, maybe in a restaurant booth where you work. Go make memories and enjoy learning together!