According to Pinterest, there are lots of people who enjoy converting a spare room into a homeschool classroom. These rooms are beautifully decorated and gloriously organized and I admire the creativity and love that many a parent has poured into these rooms. Hello? Color-coded subject bins and adorably framed art? Yes please! There’s also something very dreamy about kids sitting at desks in a room designated for learning. But alas, this has yet to be my reality. For various reason (smaller homes, several moves, no spare rooms, kids don’t sit still) I’ve never gravitated toward a school room in my home. I’m happy if I can just keep my kids in the home! In fact, this is what school looks like for us most days. Of course the high-quality camera and incredibly skilled photographer managed to capture beauty in what would have otherwise felt chaotic and unorganized, but you get the idea.
So if the thought of doing math on the couch sounds good, then this post is for you. If geography at the dining room table appeals to you, this post is for you. If reading time from bed elicits two thumbs up, then this post is for you. If the idea of hiding your school materials after hours so as to not feel like you live in a classroom appeals to you, then this post is definitely for you. And yes, this post is also for those of you who are very content with your school room setup but would like to take a peek at the other side:). We are all gloriously unique in what makes us tick and one way isn’t better than the other!
Either way, c’mon in as I take you to the dark side. No, literally. I school out of an unlit closet under our stairs.Truth be told, when we moved from a 1,500 sq ft house in Philly to a McMansion of the South, I had every intention of converting a room into a classroom, since we had so many to spare and all. But as with all of our moves, I gave myself a few months to get a feel for how my family used our new home and, lo and behold, it quickly became clear that we were not in need of a separate school room (or individual bedrooms, apparently, since all the kids piled up into one room…on the floor…like a pack of ferrets!)
So with a separate classroom no longer in the running, the next order of business was school storage. Surprisingly, our McMansions didn’t come with lots of closets, so I was left with 2 options: the bigger coat closet (which holds rain jackets and bins of train tracks and NO winter gear #IheartGeorgiaweather), or the smaller closet under the stairs. Thus, the secret school closet was born! Ta-da!
I purchased this bookcase off of craigslist, which found me driving to an address on “Danger Way” in the dark with no cell phone coverage (#sorrymom #C’monGeorgia) but I did pull over to consider if I was ok about this possibly being how my life ends- buying a bookcase on Danger Way. Come to find out, the most delightful (and normal) family lived on that unfortunately named street and they explained how they can rarely get delivery services to their house since most assume it’s some sort of joke and they were surprised I followed through at all. So I suppose I can check do something pointlessly risky off of my bucket list now, too.
Anyway, this closet stores all our school materials. This works for me because (1) it’s tucked away and out of sight (2) the door keeps the toddlers from getting into everything and (3) the limited size serves as a built-in boundary. It can be frighteningly easy to go waaaay overboard on the latest and greatest supplies, books, maps, markers, etc and since I don’t want those things to overrun my home, this closet gives me a very definite limit. Plus, it lends itself to the less is more approach of a classical education.
If you’re curious about what specific items are in this closet, here’s my virtual tour!
I’ve been asked often about summer school. Yup, we do it. But don’t tell the kids. They think it’s all pretty normal to do school upon waking. But I do also love flexibility and going with the flow, so these Summer School Goals & Guides hang from our homeschool closet to help keep me focused, flexible & gracious as a summer school teacher 😉If you school out of a smaller home, you might enjoy my post about how we managed all this in our tiny Philly home. This was a fun one for me to reread and I was encouraged to see how my strategies have continued to work through the years. Like the minimalist craft cart! Pencils, markers, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, crayons, scissors, tape, construction paper & coloring books. Done! For the past 6 years and counting, this is the cart that the kids continually circle around day and night. We go through A LOT of artwork in a day, and some of it is hung up, but most of it hits the recycle bin by bedtime.
However you go about homeschooling, I wish you lots of peace, laughing & learning!