When we decided to build a house two years ago, I had at first planned on building in an extra room for a schoolroom. But when we began looking at actual blueprints and working within our meager budget, I realized that it just wasn’t going to work for us to have a separate space for HSing. I changed up my dreams a bit and we worked a larger dining area into our plans, and that is where we have our HS space: our dining area. It’s connected right to the kitchen and is open to the living room. It’s all very open and quite spacious; for this I’m grateful. I had an extra bank of cabinets built into the dining area, with HSing in mind. I also had an extra wall built between the dining area & the foyer, so I’d have a place to put a cabinet or desk (right now it’s a cabinet), and a place to display a large classroom calendar and other school-type decor.
Now that our summer break is over and I’ve had a chance to go through all our supplies & cabinets, purging and organizing anew, I finally took pictures of our homeschool space—I had to hurry before it all gets disorganized, you know. 😉 Actually, my goal in organization is to make it where things actually stay that way during the school year, and so far, it’s been pretty successful.
Anyway, here are the pics of our space; I tried to give both a big picture as well as a detailed view of all the storage areas so you can take ideas as needed. I also tried to move clockwise from my starting point.
Here are the boys at the table; Little D is having lunch while G is finishing up his independent work. G is just beginning 2nd grade work, and D is going to be starting preschool-type learning later this fall.
Note that Little D has been tucked away for his nap; G is still finishing up his work. This is the view from our dining table/school space into the kitchen.
This is the split view from our dining table/school space; the kitchen to the left, the living area to the right. I love the openness.
This is the view from the table/school space into the living area and also the wall where I keep our calendar/supply cabinet:
Closer view of calendar/supply cabinet. I keep the clock/flag/globe/money tray up there to keep them out of reach when not in use. Otherwise they tend to get roughed up or strewn out.
Inside the supply cabinet, Top row: Readers & schoolbooks I want G to get to this year, and magazine holders full of their coloring/activity/paint books. 2nd row: Markers, colored pencils, crayons, and math flash cards. 3rd row: Dictionary, phonics flash cards, games, other supplies in bins. 4th row: Big phonics cards (used daily), abacus, file with last year’s portfolio (because I’m still adding things here & there).
One of the windows in the dining area, my favorite one to look out of. There’s a bird feeder that gets lots of visitors, and the boys’ wisteria bush.
The view facing the windows, looking in from living area. On that wall with the clock, I’m going to put up a fabric-covered bulletin board and frame it out, on which to display their art masterpieces & excellent schoolwork. The bank of cabinets there was built specifically with our homeschool space in mind, and I’ll detail that next.
This is the cabinet bank I had included into our house plans. I couldn’t have a separate room, but I got a separate bank of cabinets, and I love them! They serve a dual purpose for both school supplies and for our medicines & a few table-related items.
The top cabinets hold all of our art supplies and other school supplies that I want to keep out of reach. They also hold our table napkins and Des’ bibs, as well as our med/vitamin supply (multipurpose!). Those lazy-susan turntables are excellent for storing meds, vitamins, and school supplies!
The countertop is where I keep all our daily books for easy access: my manuals, his worktexts & workbooks, lapboards, Bible. Also, our pencil cup is there (not shown) as well as our pencil sharpener. All things we use daily.
The drawers hold Des’ letters & scrap paper for scribbling, and all the various small office supplies that need corralling. Dry erase markers/eraser, grading pens, rubber bands, erasers, stapler, stamps, counting sticks, index cards, etc.
The bottom cabinets hold paper trays on the left for filing daily work, artwork, and all the different types of paper we use; in the middle is a box full of recycled office paper with print on only one side (what the boys use for drawing, writing, etc, usually free-time stuff); on the right is a collection of all kinds of bigger supplies for art (cardboard segments, newsprint, etc. In the very back I keep various containers stashed away for future storage purposes.
And there is a complete view of the school space, as well as a very detailed description of all the supplies we use and how I store them all. It works well, and I really enjoy it. To tell the truth, I’m secretly happy that my plans for a separate schoolroom didn’t work out. We enjoy working out in the open and it’s much easier to tend to Des and do housework while G works this way. We’d likely feel claustrophobic in a closed room, and it probably wouldn’t work well with Des. This works great for us and we feel happy and sunny most every day as we sit and do lessons together while Des plays in the areas around us (or wreaks havoc, whichever you choose to call it :-D). The only thing I wish I could do is hang posters, which I don’t want to do in our dining area, but would do if we had a separate room. That’s the only negative I’ve found after a year of homeschooling in this space. Which, in the big picture, is nothing to complain about! I love our space and thank God for allowing us to have it.