Homeschooling Without a School Room: Shelves

The thing about homeschooling without a schoolroom is that I don’t want my house to look like we are a homeschooling household.

The thing about homeschooling without a schoolroom is that I don’t want my house to look like we are a homeschooling household.

I’m not at all embarrassed to be a homeschooler, but I want a house that looks welcoming and inviting and calming, not one that has timelines in the entry way or schoolish posters in the dining room.

I decorate with books, but I don’t want to decorate like a kindergarten classroom or like homeschooling is our primary identity, the thing that takes over not only our days, but even our walls.

SC046: Homeschooling Without a Schoolroom

During school hours it does take over all our surface areas, it seems, but I want to be able to EHAP& and have the house look reasonably “normal.”

Therefore, shelves.

Homeschooling Without a School Room

Using shelves

The real trick about having a tidy or organized house is for everything to have a home. Things without homes are clutter. Things with homes can be put away, leaving space for life to happen. Mid-day, the house might look chaotic, but by evening, if everything has a place to go, it can look decently in order again: like my kitchen counter day-in-the-life post shows.


When finding homes for homeschooling materials, consider how often they are used and who needs to access them. If something is used daily, it has to be easily accessible. If something is accessed by children, it has to be simple to get out and put back.

So, our Circle Time binders are on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf in the kitchen eat-in area where we do our memory work and singing time every morning. Everyone can grab their own binder and, more importantly, put their own binder away when we’re done. The row of colorful binders along the bottom shelf doesn’t bother me like a timeline across the dining room wall would.

This spring I purchased two IKEA cupboards. When closed, they look like furniture providing a decorative surface in a transition space between our dining and living rooms (which are open to each other). When open, and during school times, they provide storage and useful space for our stuff to live, closed off and uncluttered-looking (when the doors are closed, anyway).

I’m a fan of doors that can be closed on a oft-used space.

homeschooling without a school room

After all, this space does get used and it does show.

For items I only use once a week or less, and that I am the one to access, I have a bookshelf in the basement to store them. I can’t show you a picture of that right now, because the basement space is in flux; my husband is building me more shelf space!

Because our primary education materials are books, having bookshelf space is essential. Books are in nearly every room of our house and kids have wide and free access to most of them.


The great thing about using mostly books is that books are never clutter. No, they aren’t ever. Books on shelves look normal and nice and necessary.

One can never have too many.

And, whether or not you homeschool, an important shelf to have is some sort of command center. Check out my Simplified Organization post for how to make a simple command center in your kitchen in order to harness the clutter and get organized.

The thing about homeschooling without a school room is that I don’t want my house to *look* like we are a homeschooling household.
Return to the series index

What sort of shelves do you use for giving homes to your school materials?

Similar Posts


  1. I have a tall Ikea shelf that is open on top and cabinet on the bottom – and a child lock! It has been decorated in blue crayon by my active middle boy. It can hold hands on, art and preschool supplies behind the child locked cabinets and the top holds my curriculum manuals and reference volumes, especially the ones that are not currently in use.

  2. Mystie, I’m interested to know which Ikea units you purchased and what they look like in your home with the doors closed. I want to sell my near-useless sofa table (what a waste of space underneath!) and purchase something with shelves that I can hide when I’m not accessing the items inside. I’ve visited the Ikea website (best designed website on the Internet, imo) but just can’t decide what piece to buy.

    This isn’t exactly related to homeschooling, but it does relate to how to get creative with furniture. We had a Home Goods store recently open nearby; they have an ever changing inventory of attractive storage pieces, but one has to stop in frequently to get the wanted item. My stepmother scored big with a beautiful “sideboard” (it’s not exactly a sideboard and not exactly a dresser–not sure what to call it), but it has all kinds of storage, drawers and shelves inside. It’s in her living room, but she uses many of the drawers to store extra coffee supplies and other things that won’t fit in her kitchen cupboards. I love that outside-of-the-box thinking!

    Every piece of furniture in her living room serves double-duty e.g. an ottoman with storage inside, side tables with drawers, wooden trays to display pretties but useful for transporting drinks from the kitchen to visitors in the living room. If I had her furniture, it would be pressed into service for homeschooling needs, but it would easily transition for other needs after the homeschooling years are over (three years from now in my case). I think that’s something to consider, even if a person is still early in the homeschooling years.

    Okay, I went off on a tangent, but it does fit in with the theme of your post. Sort of…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *