Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homeschooling in Small Spaces

Our family of five resides in a simple 2 bedroom 3rd floor apartment and we love it. In roughly 1,000 square feet we have everything we need and no room to accumulate too much more than what we have.  In the few years we have been homeschooling, however, I feel like we have accumulated a lot!  Mostly books, and that is something I hope I'll always be able to make room for.  Still, with such a small space and no dedicated "school room" there is the challenge of having everything we need accessible without it taking over our home.  I searched on Pinterest and blogs for other small space homeschooling and really loved what this blogger did with her space!

Ours is a work in progress, and in truth, I doubt we'll be in this apartment for very long (this is an in-between stop for us after we sold our home last year) so I try not to stress too much over ways to improve upon it.  But my hope is that with this post to show that it CAN be done! I'm including general pictures of their bedroom to give you an idea of the space and how three growing girls make it work sharing a bedroom.  They are one another's best friends and even with the option of having their own room, have always chosen to stay together. I'm so thankful for this! <3

This is typically where we are most days.  Our rule is that everything but reading quietly must be done in the main living area- either at the dining table or on the couch or on our porch area.  It's a new rule as I tried letting them do their work in their room but found too much was flying under the radar. The whiteboard is temporarily there and easily tucked away.

We use Teaching Textbooks for our math curriculum this year which is computer-based and so is done from my bedroom right off of the main living area (entirely viewable from the main living area). 

So. Here is their bedroom. There are a few educational elements with the world map and globe. The art over the top bunk is displayed using command strips and so I can slide the canvases in and out to change them based on whatever project they are working on.  Flat canvases can be purchased inexpensively at Walmart and so I pick some up a couple times a month and let them paint to their hearts content!

Most days the closet door is left open and the stacks of boxes in the corner is hidden behind it! No room for shoes in the closet when we have so many books!

And the storage! We are blessed that these apartments have generous closets. These inexpensive wire shelves from Target fit absolutely perfectly. 

And that's it! Maybe someday I'll have one of those gorgeous rooms devoted to educational endeavors but probably not. I do like to look for tiny ways to improve. My next task is to frame that map on the wall. Here's a couple more helps to keep the clutter away.

* I'm fairly strict with the girls about putting all of their books and supplies away once school is done for the day. I emphasize everything in its proper place.
* We keep library books in a canvas basket in the living room.  I need it visible to remind me to take them back when they are due.  
* We also have this tray that holds everyday stuff. It is easily pulled out during school time and set aside otherwise.

*We toss a lot! I keep very little long term and as much as I'd love to look back and read their 7 year old thoughts on ancient mayans when they have grown and have a 7 year old of their own.... it's not going to happen.  One thing I would like to do is take snapshots of certain things and make end of year photo books from them.... hmmm..... (note to self: start that asap)
*I'm a big believer in doing the best with what you have. That often means our style is eclectic-which can also describe our method of schooling, days in general, and our personalities. I aim to be more intentional about what I'm teaching my kids than the aesthetics in which I do it, as I'm sure most of us do. 

"Unless the Lord builds their house they labor in vain who build it." -Psalm 127:1a

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