Our School Nook

I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to homeschooling. On the one hand, I was brought up mostly as an unschooler, and believe in a fair degree of laissez-faire when it comes to how my children spend the majority of their time. On the other . . . well, I’d love to emulate a rigorously proper prep school, cute plaid uniforms and all.

I feel the same way about homeschooling space. Learning shouldn’t be confined to a room in the house, or even to the entire house. It should happen at all times, everywhere.

Still, I have a secret fantasy of someday owning a house big enough that we could dedicate a whole room to “school.” My fantasy is detailed enough to include a huge map wallpapering one wall, Greek and Arabic alphabets stenciled on another, a set of work-boxes for each child, vintage desks, perfectly organized cabinets containing everything from craft supplies to microscope slides to logic games, and . . . the list goes on.

In the meantime, we’ve done school wherever we happen to be. Much of our curriculum can be carried around on a laptop, making it possible to be almost ridiculously mobile. But it’s nice to have a set, familiar space to do the formal portions of our homeschooling every morning.

We’ve tried doing school in several different corners of Grammy and Pampa’s house, with varying degrees of success. We finally moved everything into my bedroom, which works quite nicely. Here is my little leftie practicing handwriting, her favorite part of school.

On the left is our school cabinet. The bottom drawer contains the books we use (Family Math, Drawing for Children, etc.), folders for the children’s completed work, and all my papers. The top drawer houses dominos, scissors, crayons, magnetic letters, and other items for Raj’s use.

My desk is right next to the children’s table. Many of our school books are recorded on Librivox, and I play them right off my computer. I move the children up to my chair when we’re watching our Italian video.

Grammy was kind enough to provide me with a cordless keyboard, so I hand it down to Axa when she’s doing her Khan Academy math exercises. Our school schedule is taped up on the wall to my right, and I have a little crock full of dried fruit and nuts in case my little scholars get hungry.

Behind us is the bed, where Tony curls up with the children to read poetry and literature selections.

We still use other rooms of the house for various subjects as needed. Science usually happens in the kitchen, as it often involves messy things like fire and water. Then there are handicrafts, like this one with Grammy at the sewing machine.

And homeschooling wouldn’t be homeschooling without plenty of time spent outside, whether it’s working,

observing wildlife,

or just enjoying the sunshine.

3 thoughts on “Our School Nook

  • November 24, 2011 at 9:45 am

    when I saw your cute little school cabinet, at first I thought, WOW, how does she fit it all in there?! then I saw how little your kids are! 😉

    we’ve gone back and forth with the schoolroom idea. we had one once and then found we didn’t like to be in there all at once (but it was nice to have somewhere to put everything), and we’ve not had one and done school at the dining room table (the kids kept their stuff in separate bins). Now, we have such a tiny apartment that the whole thing has to be subdivided when we do school, so beds get used, couches, kitchen table and hallway! 😉 My favorite was when we had a common room that you had to pass through from the entryway to get to the bedrooms. We used it as a library, office, schoolroom. I like all the ways. Because like you said, education is life, so it doesn’t matter where you learn really, because you should learn everywhere! 😉

    amy in peru

  • November 17, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I just wanted to jot down how much I appreciate your blogs on your new adventures with homeschooling. I take heart to the things you share and it helps lift my very low spirits when someone questions “why are you homeschooling?” It is so hard to feel supported when no one I know has homeschooled, so thankyou for your blog and honest entries of homeschooling. It is a breath of fresh air during this stifling time I find myself in.

  • November 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Who wants to bet that the moms who have rooms specifically for homeschooling sigh and think to themselves, “I wish we weren’t so boxed in this room the way we are, everyday…!” LoL! I just imagine that’s how I would feel about it. We school the ENTIRE house, I swear it. I wade thru supplies and notebooks. We read on the sofas, craft at the dinner table… it’s more relaxed that way. And every picture of homeschool rooms… don’t they seem utilitarian? I’d rather kids cuddle with dad on the bed and read, but that’s just me.

    OTOH, have you ever seen the classic ‘wall-of-books’ bookshelf pictures? Like in the quintessential library of old? THAT’S what I crave. More shelves. Oh, man, do we need floor to ceiling (and wall to wall) bookshelves…!!


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