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.
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.”
Homeschooling Without a School Room
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.
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.