Organizing your Homeschool Room
If you are starting The Family School in Jan. 2013 and you have never homeschooled before here are some tips on how to set up your homeschool room or a space in your house where you will homeschool your kids.
I have learned some essentials to successfully setting up an efficient schoolroom when I initially started homeschooling my oldest son some years ago. Since I only homeschooled him at that time it was very easy, we worked on the dining room table and I read to him on the sofa.
Things might get a little more complicated when you start homeschooling more than one child though. It definitely required more organization on your part to keep things running smoothly.
Importance of the environment in education. In fact some say that the child’s environment is a full 1/3 of their education and the home schoolroom plays a significant part of this environment. So it is important to consider carefully the best environment in which your children learn. Yes, kids learn much outside of the classroom at home, on field trips, and the like and also there is more to the environment than just the schoolroom itself.
Here are a few of the tips on how to organize your homeschool room.
1. Good Natural Light. A bright room with sunshine is a cheerful place to be and an inviting place to learn. A room that is dark is hardly a place that I would want my kids to spend hours each week. Remember to consider window treatments for a room that receives direct sunlight.
2. Constant Temperature. If your children are too cold, they will not be able to concentrate. If they are too hot, they will be drowsy. Especially in the morning hours and for the winter months a constant temperature is a must.
3. Place Free of Distraction. I cannot stress enough about the importance of a quiet room. Do not allow a cell phone or television in the room period! Also, if you can have your own homeschool room pick the one with a door so that noise from the rest of the house can be shut out. If you do not have that option and you have other people in the house ask them to respect the school hours by being quiet and not walking into the room where you are teaching. Narration or performing difficult math problems is nearly impossible in a room filled with distractions. Obviously, if you have babies and toddlers, they needed to be in the schoolroom during school and at times, but that is a topic for another blog entry.
4. Organization. A well-organized schoolroom is a beautiful thing! Make it a point to have the supplies that you will need neatly organized in a drawer or cabinet. That way, when you need another pencil or pink eraser you will have it right there. Keep a small note pad in which to jot down supplies that are out or running low.
5. A chalkboard (or whiteboard). Whenever you will want to demonstrate anything in math, handwriting or even list the principles that your children are learning, you will needed a larger writing space than a slate board or piece of paper. When I was teaching only one child I was able to work on a piece of paper but as soon as you will bring in other children it will became necessary to use a chalkboard.
6. A table (or desks) and chairs for you and the children. Many families use their kitchen table, but if you can have your own room it is a great investment. Make sure that each of your children have the correct height for their chair in relation to the table and their feet are secure on a platform, not dangling. This is really important for posture and handwriting as well as attention. Also, everyone is able to sit at the same table, which is nice for working together on projects, sharing books or building something.
7. Bookshelves. You will need one large bookshelf or several smaller ones for manuals notebooks, books, and other essentials. You can use both stand-alone bookcases and built-in bookshelves. Any configuration works as long as you have enough shelves to store all you need.
8. Computer. I find my computer useful for Foreign Language, the Dictionary and Pictures. Obviously, I use it with restrictions and caution since it is in an environment with children. I do have to make a point to check my email only at break or when school is over. I have had to discipline myself from checking while the children are working on math problems or writing. This is not a good habit to get into and I think it communicates a lack of respect to my children. My children need me to be fully present during school, not checking my email or surfing the web.
9. Reading area. It could be as simple as one rocking chair for you when you read to the kids and an empty area around the chair so that your kids can sit on the floor around you. You can use the floor and a small sofa and chairs grouped together in a circle for reading as well. Usually, when reading literature, poetry or read aloud, move the children to this area. It is just a few feet from their table but provides a nice change of place. This is optional, but it is nice to have this option if possible.
10. Maps. You can have a world map, U.S. map and globe in the schoolroom. Before we read in our texts we always locate the places on the map. I use atlases for more detailed geography but I like to give the children a sense of where in the world we are reading before each lesson. I have also noticed how frequently the children go to the maps and study them on their own simply because they are visible. I put the maps on eye level for the children. I have found that the bigger the better for the maps. This always depended on how much wall space I have.
11. Art. You can reserve an area on a wall to hang prints from the Artist you are studying. You can use bulletin board for this area and pin the prints on the board.
12. CD Player. You can use a computer to play music if it has a built-in CD player. But, it is important to have a CD player of some type that stays in the schoolroom. You can play classical music frequently throughout the day.
13. Flag. When I was homeschooling my son, we started every day with a Hymn, Prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance. I bought a mid-sized American flag and flag holder and have it on the wall.
14. Noise Canceling Headphones. This can be helpful for math, grammar or anytime the children are working at the same time on different levels. For example, in math you may be instructing one of you children while another is working problems and the other is counting aloud manipulatives. The two independent working children wear them while the one you are instructing is listening to you. These earphones will really help your children’s concentration during these subjects.
15. Microscope. Binoculars. Magnifying glass. These are great and help mostly in nature study and science. You will be able to use them more extensively in the upper grades as well.
For the full list of Supplies for The Family School click here. Remember, you do not have to buy them all. You may already have many of the items in your home.
Check out our Pinterest board about Homeschooling Room Ideas as well for more ideas and inspiration on how to set up your homeschool in your home.