Setting Up Your Classroom

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a separate room to serve as a classroom. Our dining room table works just fine. The cabinets in our breakfront contain all the supplies we need and our writing utensils are kept in a caddy, easily moved from the table back to the cabinet when we use the table for teaching. We use a laptop for all our computer work, so that can be moved out of the way when not in use also.

Some families have the room for desks and that’s what works for them. Others have whole schoolrooms complete with desks, a flag, and chalkboard. Choose a space in your home that you can put aside, at least some of the day, for schoolwork. It is important for your children to know that when they are sitting in their “classroom,” wherever it is in your house, that they be ready—and expected—to work. Just as they would if they were in school.

The only thing you really need is a clutter free workstation with easy access to the tools you need. Pencils, paper, textbooks, worksheets, assignment lists, scissors, glue. That sort of thing. Those items may vary from day to day, subject to subject, or even child to child–so the more organized you are, the smoother your transitions will be. I have my subjects colored coded using magazine holders for each kid. This way they can pull what they want to do when they are ready. I don’t care what order they do it in as long as they get done with all their tasks every day. Other parents I know swear by plastic bins or drawers. One even has a very elaborate binder system. Whatever works for you and doesn’t make you feel like pulling your hair out all the time should do nicely.

But the best thing about homeschooling is that you don’t need to stay in your seat behind a desk all day long. The whole world can be your classroom. Spend one day a week at the library or at a museum. Before you go on vacation, do some research and find a way to make it fun and educational. Homeschooling forces you to look at things from a different perspective, so really think outside the box. Many classrooms raise caterpillars. You can order a kit, too, and observe your own. But you can also go on nature walks or trails, or to a bug exhibit at a museum or science center. You aren’t restricted to the school day or by the needs of many students. You get to work with your own kids, encouraging their specific interests, and helping them learn at their unique pace. It does take a lot of planning to incorporate so many options into your education plan so we do recommend getting a planner or binder for yourself to keep organized. Especially if you need documentation for the state to prove that you’re actually teaching your children something. Stay flexible and focused, and you will find that you can make a classroom work for you nearly anywhere in the house, in your neighborhood, even the whole world.