Our First Homeschool Classroom
This is how our homeschool classroom looked when we first began, back in 2010! I had a 5-year-old kindergartener and a 3-year-old little sister. We went with a table instead of desks, to allow more space to spread out. I also wanted the table to double as a dining table for the children. It’s been used at every birthday party, and many more occasions. Mr. Scientist LOVED cutting and gluing crafts together, but I didn’t know what to do with them; hence the map bunting I made to hang across the ceiling. I could clip his projects up with clothespins, and easily rotate them out.
The art on the wall is framed in simple picture mats, and also easy to change up as new art is made. Our visual schedule below the window made it easy for us to see what the plan for the day was, and stay on track, without having to check the clock. And if we ran out of time for something, we would just remove that card to be used the next day! All of our homeschool supplies were in the shelves on the wall, plus some in the buffet (to the right, not showing in this picture). We were baby homeschoolers and hadn’t collected much yet, plus we hadn’t discovered Montessori, either!
We also had a little reading nook next to one of our bookshelves in the living room. We already had bookshelves everywhere; homeschooling has only added to our collection! This space worked very well for us. We didn’t always do school in this room, of course; finding projects in the kitchen or on the big dining table or on the couch was never uncommon! But for us, having some kind of dedicated space has been helpful.
Homeschool Classroom 2.0
We moved in 2012, and a new house means a new homeschool space! Things moved around for a while until we figured out what would work best for us. Here’s what our learning spaces looked like in the fall of 2014, when Mr. Scientist was in 3rd grade, Miss Adventuress in Kindergarten, and Miss Braveheart was 2. We had a classroom, but it wasn’t where we spent the majority of our school time; it became the place where materials were stored, and where individual work was sometimes done. But the main learning space was the living room. Here’s what you would see if you had walked in our front door, into the living room:
I built these bookshelves using Ana White’s plans…they cost me about thirty dollars total and a few hours of work. They are super strong and so useful. Each child had their own shelf, too! If I wanted them to read a particular book, I could put it here, and I would almost always find them with their nose in that book within a day. This way I got them to read some books they might not choose for themselves, without starting a battle.
And this shelf was for my two-year-old, Miss Braveheart. I had materials for her here so that she could work while I was reading with another child, or while I was doing an activity with someone else. She was able to choose her own work, take it off the shelf herself, and put it back when she finished. I changed out the materials every once in a while, when she lost interest or when a material wasn’t helpful for her anymore.
And now, to the classroom! This was the view from the door. The girls shared a room, and Mr. Scientist had a room that was actually a tiny little office, and that left us with a room to use as a classroom. Mr. Scientist preferred his little room over this that used to be his room initially, because he could clean it much faster. And since he had space for himself in other rooms in the house, he didn’t need a big bedroom. He just had a bed, a cabinet for clothes, and a small desk, and that made him very happy. And we didn’t have to do school in the basement! I REALLY wanted to avoid that.
The classroom closet:
To the left in the closet were the geometry materials and the microscope.
In the center of the closet were the children’s cubbies, where they stored their notebooks and binders with their box of special pencils and scissors.
On top of the cubbies was a three-drawer organizer with white paper, lined paper, index cards, envelopes, and graph paper.
To the right in the closet were our math materials:
In the chest under the window we kept more materials: chemistry and physics sets, skeleton models, robots, more manipulatives…
To the right of the chest was our reading rug with a pillow,and one of the many bookshelves full of books found in our house:
Continuing the the right you’d find a shelf of sensorial and practical life materials:
And then the science shelves. On top were habitats for various creatures the children capture and observe. Perhaps you noticed we had an aquarium with tadpoles in the living room in the picture above! We’ve never lacked pets. 🙂
And then there were language, botany and geography materials that were without shelves at this point. They’ve since been built, but this is what the classroom looked like at the time and it’s how we used it, so I’m not editing. 🙂
And there was one more shelf between the classroom door and the closet. This one had more of Miss Braveheart’s materials, as well as books.
I also had a closet in the basement where I stored more educational materials. And I had chemicals in boxes labeled flammable, reactant, and corrosive in the tops of our clothes closets. By this point in our homeschooling journey, we’d collected lots of resources, and I stored them where I could, anywhere in the house!
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