Creating a Homeschool Area
Creating a homeschool area in your home can help create a better homeschooling experience. Homeschool curriculum and activities are important but so is creating the environment geared for education. Keep reading for tips on developing your homeschooling space.
To create a homeschool area in your home, you will need to combine some generic considerations of how to make an environment where education can happen with the practical realities of your particular household. These two elements will guide you first of all to deciding whether your school area needs to be reserved only for school or needs to be a multi-function area.
While many people recommend having a dedicated school area, this does not necessarily work best for all people. If you have an extra room, a basement area, or a garage where you can set up a school, this may prove ideal for you. Or, it may be possible for you to dedicate part of a room-one side, or a nook in a corner-to your schoolroom. On the other hand, if you do not have extra space or have to multitask as you teach, you may find that the kitchen table serves best and allows the work of the household to go on hand in hand with education. Another possibility is that learning will take place in a variety of areas - science experiments on the kitchen counter; computer work in a home office that doubles as a learning area; independent work at a child’s desk in his or her bedroom. All kinds of different arrangements can be made workable.
But however you arrange your homeschool areas, here are some considerations worth your thought:
Types of Space Need for Homeschool
- Space for Different Work Modes: You may wish to have a variety of spaces available in which homeschool can take place: comfy spaces such as a couch or bean bag chairs for reading or story time; separate desks or a table for independent work; a place for group projects or experiments; a place for movement activities; a place for hands-on (really “messy”) activities. You may wish to designate areas where work-in-progress can be left out, and areas that will be neatened or cleaned daily. Don’t forget to consider where the teacher will be during all this and include a chair or desk or other space for the teacher in your plan.
- Storage: There are roughly 3 kinds of material that you may have to store: Materials and supplies that are available, but not currently in use (the book to be studied next week, art supplies, extra pens, physical education equipment, reference materials such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, etc.); materials and supplies that are currently being used (the project that is in progress; the math workbook that is currently being used); and archives of completed work, the year’s curriculum and lesson plans.) Storing these items may be done with shelves, boxes, hooks, and in desks. You may wish to store all books in a “library” along with the other books in the household, with a special section for library books, tapes, and other loaned material.
- Light and Temperature: Enough light, but no glare, and a comfortable temperature (but not so warm that it’s soporific) will help create a pleasant and accommodating atmosphere for work to take place.
- Minimize Distractions: Yes, in a homeschool, family life must go on. But students will generally benefit if you can minimize distractions that could break their concentration, like phone calls, doorbell, e-mail, and pets interrupting during their work. If you have multiple children, you may wish to have them work close together for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to encourage peer assistance, but keep an eye out to see that a child who is giving assistance is not having his or her work disrupted.
- Technology: A word processor, computer, a television and recording device, a radio, an MP3 player with speakers, and other electronic equipment can all be incorporated into homeschool use. For any devices you plan to use, establish that they have the space, power supply, and any other accoutrements they need.
- Walls: Walls help separate areas of your homeschool, which is useful, but they can be much more. The homeschool room wall can hold:
- a bulletin board
- a whiteboard
- a calendar
- a clock and also a clock with movable hands
- the alphabet in print and cursive
- famous artwork and student art
- a posting of the day’s work
- afterschool assignments
- inspirational quotations
Written by Mary Elizabeth