When we were searching for a new home, I already knew I wanted to homeschool, so I was specifically looking for a homeschooling space. Well, then we fell in love with a home that didn’t appear it would have a homeschool space outside of the dining room, but hey, the dining room is 12’x14′, so no problem, right?
Now that we are actually using our dining room as our homeschooling space, I have plans to put the three youngest kids in one room next year, when the baby of the family will be 2.5. And then, I’m taking over her room, in sha Allah.
Until then? The dining room remains our homeschooling space, and here’s how we use it.
The school box
All of our everyday stuff is kept in what we call our school box. When I grab the box, we have our most common workbooks, copywork sheets, and math manipulatives for both girls. I also keep a reserved set of crayons and colored pencils inside the school box since the kids tend to break and lose those items if they roam free. For free time, there’s a separate pencil box they use with crayons and colored pencils that I no longer keep tabs on. If they break them or lose them, well, then they don’t have that available to play with anymore. Bummer.
Obviously, I can keep everything that I will ever use in this box, but I can grab it, get Aamina started, and then quick grab anything else we might need for the day. What’s in the box accounts for about 70-80% of the stuff we use.
The corner: books, blocks, paper, and tools
One thing I didn’t really pay much attention to when I was imagining the dining room being our main school area is there is not one full size wall in the room. There’s a half wall that looks down half a story to the living room, a fire place in another wall, and the rest of the walls have windows. I have no vertical space to work with.
What I do have, though, is a cubby next to the fireplace and a large ledge above that cubby. With a 13″ cube storage shelf, I was able to better use the space, give the kids some non-fiction books they can explore whenever they wish.
I still have a stack of books on the ledge, and do wish I had another actual book shelf in the room, but with the end feeling near, we are making due.
Large school supply storage
I definitely look forward to, in sha Allah, having a school room where all of our books and supplies are in one place, but until then, our extra school supplies have taken over the linen closet. It’s just down the hall, but this is where we keep scissors, glue, craft supplies, extra paper, play doh, busy bags, and anything else we don’t use on a regular basis.
Also, anything that’s large and a bit of an eye sore will live in the linen closet, as long as we don’t need it every day. Things like the laminator, binding machine (best thing, ever!), math balance and board games all stay out of sight until we need them.
In order to not make this linen closet a total mess, I found bins at the dollar store to keep our scissors, glue, paints, stickers, and everything else more organized within the closet, and we still use our preschool activity bag that I can bring out if I’m trying to keep my toddler occupied while we are doing schoolwork.
With even less space
So, maybe you don’t have a large dining room like we do. At our last place, our dining area was the size of a postage stamp, and we were a family of 5 living in a 2 bedroom duplex. Fortunately, we had a full size basement available for additional storage space, but still, how did we homeschool high school in that space?
Similar to how we work it out now, we stage what we need and stash away stuff we won’t need until the future. We used just a couple cubes in an organizer in the living room for stuff I needed, but everything else lived in my daughter’s room.
You learn to make due with what you have and be very minimalist about your supplies.
Now that I have more space, I don’t worry about getting more paint and where it will go. I don’t worry about where I’ll put my binding machine.
I might not have everything in the picture perfect place as we are still in transition until we get settled into a formal school room, but alhamdulilah, lack of space is no longer the issue.