Before we started homeschooling, I made the mistake of wandering innocently onto some Pinterest boards for ideas. I say “mistake” because what I saw was immediately overwhelming. I saw dedicated school rooms! Imagine that … and keep imagining it, because for our little 1000 square foot house, it was just not going to happen. How in the world was I going to homeschool in our small house?
We have three bedrooms – the boys’ room, the girl’s room and our bedroom. Beyond that, there’s a bathroom (a small one) and a dining area and living room.
Where in the world was my dedicated school room going to be with the pretty lettering on the walls? And the maps? And the kids’ art work?
I was saddened. Perhaps you are, too. So in this post, I’m going to talk about what you do not need and what you do need when it comes to being able to homeschool in a small house.
You do not need a chalkboard
The oddest thing about making the decision to homeschool is that most people think they need a chalkboard. Or a dry erase board. I did, too. I think the idea of school that looks like a classroom is something so deeply ingrained in our minds that we can’t conceive of another way. So here it is: you don’t need one. Use paper.
The advantage of homeschooling after all, is that you will be working one on one with your children. Use a pad of paper to explain a problem. Alternatively, if you really like dry erase boards, you can get a small one to hold.
I still much prefer paper.
You do not need a dedicated school room
If you have one, great, but you don’t need one. There is absolutely no need for a school room or a play room for your children.
Yes, it’s nice to be able to put all the “school work” in one room and yes it’s fantastic to be able to get all the toys put away out of sight in the evenings, but no, you don’t need a separate room for that.
“School” tends to spill out into real life anyway, especially if you’re a classical unschooler. So why bother trying to contain it in one room?
Writing? Use the dining table. Reading? Use the couch. Memorizing? Use the backyard or patio. Or the car.
Things You Do Need
A dining table that is clear of things
Most people have a dining table with things on it. At least a table cloth. It’s a good idea to take some time to clear clutter before you begin homeschooling because it tends to collect.
Keeping a small house clear of clutter is the single best thing you can do for your homeschooling success.
Alternatively, a desk and a chair in the kids’ rooms where they can sit and write, read or do Lego projects could work as well.
A dedicated space or closet to store school supplies and books
We have a closet that my husband has built shelves in. In a small house, shelves are a life saver.
In the closet however, we keep only school-related things. Nothing else. It is accessible to the children and it is cleared out regularly. Anything that we are done using gets sold or given away or even thrown away. We do not store more than necessary.
A closet also serves us better than say, shelves, because at the end of the day I can put things away and shut the door. Because I am here all day long, in the middle of the toys and books, it’s nice to be able to close it when I stop working.
Most of our sit down work happens at the dining table, but we do the occasional read aloud on the couch. (I’ve been reading aloud after lunch, so we like to just hang out at the table and listen.)
Most of the children’s reading is also done on the couch and in their own beds. All this to say that if you are in love with reading nooks and can afford to have them in your home, that’s great. But if you can not, you’re not robbing your kids of a lifetime of reading. If my children can read hanging upside down from two chairs, they can read in a brightly lit open living room.
Don’t stress it.
So don’t let the size of your home stop you from taking on the adventure of a lifetime and giving your family the gift of homeschooling. We have a small house and we do just fine.