A classroom in the home can be anywhere. I am truly amazed by all of the different homeschool classrooms I have seen while doing homeschool research. I have seen families make a classroom in their dining room, convert their garage, convert a large closet, use a spare room and many other clever ways. We are lucky enough to have extra space in our basement. Last year, we turned an area that was sort of an odd half room at the bottom of the stairs into a project area for the kids. Therefore, when we decided to homeschool, it wasn’t too hard to switch it into a usable classroom space.
In order to determine what we wanted in our classroom, we had to establish what our needs would be. We knew that our children needed to have separate workspaces and even possibly space where they could work by themselves where it was quiet. Also, I wanted a desk where I could do my lesson planning and other work. Our math program is DVD based, but can also be accessed online; therefore, we also needed to have a way/space to watch their lessons. Our piano program is cd based and we also have a keyboard for the kids to practice on. The piano would need to have its own space that was not distracting to the schoolwork going on. Once we figured out what our needs were, I went to work making over the existing space.
After three months of using the space, I am happy to say that our workspace has suited our needs well. Our main classroom area contains individual workspaces for each of the kids and myself. We also have a large Ikea shelf system that holds all of our books and supplies.
We have a section of the wall dedicated to the calendar that we use every morning when we do our daily planners. Also, on the walls, we have a map of the United States and a map of the world. Due to our love of geography and our desire to travel, these are necessities and used frequently. Near the classroom, there is a guestroom. In this room, we have made an additional long desk along the wall with a large workspace. This is helpful for when the children need a quiet place to work or when dad is helping teach for the day. Also, in this room is our electric piano.
I am a very organized person. I know that myself and my kids do best when they know what to expect as well as what is expected of them. When I discovered the workbox system for organizing the classroom, I knew that we needed to try it. Each drawer is dedicated to a subject or task that needs to be completed within the school day. Prior to the beginning of each school day, I set up the drawers with the necessary materials needed for each subject. On the front of each drawer, I have a label with Velcro on the back that has the subject/task associated with that drawer on it. Once the child has completed the work within the drawer, they move the label to the other side of the drawer. By moving the labels, they can easily see throughout the day what they have left to accomplish. Initially, when I started our homeschool year, I placed the drawers in order by how I wanted the kids to work through them. This has kind of gone out the window as they skip around based on their mood for the day, and my availability to work with them. Overall, I am loving this system and how it keeps us organized.
***Side Note – My favorite school supply purchased this year has been a laminator. I have used it to create all of the labels for our workbox drawers to make sure they will last all year. Also, once something is laminated, you can use dry erase markers on it. A great idea for many things in the classroom.
Occasionally the kids will move around while completing their work. I find them working on the floor, on the stairs, at the kitchen table, in their bedroom or sometimes even outside if it is a beautiful day. There is no right or wrong spot as long as they are able to complete their tasks. The biggest issue that we struggle with is when one needs quiet and the other one is working with me. This is something that I am sure will never go away. I look at it as a good learning experience for them. Very rarely is it possible to have peace and quiet when working. Especially for a parent!