Do You Need a Homeschool Room?
When we began homeschooling four years ago, it seemed important. We would have a place to keep our things, to do our work. We needed a classroom. That was the “ghost of public school past” speaking to me. [credit Julie Bogart of Brave Writer for that gem] Was it I who needed deschooling, not my kids?
On the other hand, it truly was important. For me to make the transition to becoming a homeschooling mom, I needed this room. It symbolized a major shift in our family’s life. It wasn’t just about the shelves that held our books and the table where we could do written work and the little dry-erase board that I hung on the wall. It was about our family bringing learning into our home in a new and very significant way. And it was fun to create that room.
But, what I came to discover was this: My kids do better when they are not all crowded into one room. They squabble less. They like to spread out: the couch for an on-line math program, the big comfy chair in the sunroom for reading.
And, as it turns out, when we need to be sitting at a table, we all prefer our dining room table. It’s in the sunroom, the light is better, the table is bigger. It’s where we have our poetry tea times. Artwork is better here–did I mention the lighting?
The “Learning Room” as I tried to get my kids to call it, was formerly our “Play Room”. As it turns out, they still like to play in there. It’s the home of their elaborate waffle block town, and much more. Of course, when they play in there they are learning, I know. But dedicating the space for written work or more formal types of projects no longer seems necessary.
It also has to do with our approach to learning. We started out our homeschooling career with lots more formal learning: schedules and workbooks and a more classical approach to things. When it became apparent that that wasn’t a good fit for my kids, we evolved. Now we are a kind of hands-on-unschooly-child-led-outdoors-sometimes unit studying-whatever-lights-their-fire-to-learn blend. Workbooks and text books still have their place in our homeschool, but they’re more of a side dish than a main entree.
And we need a place for those books, so we still keep them in that Playroom-Learning Room but I pulled the table and chairs out to open up the floor space and moved our most frequently used items out to the sunroom where we all want to be: Our globe, our pencil sharpener, our learning-to-read books for my daughter, our calendar for my preschooler.
Many times, we found ourselves gathering at the dining table, perhaps beginning to read about history over breakfast, when everyone is a captive audience, then running to the “Learning Room” to get a map or the globe or our timeline. It seemed to make more sense to have these things right where we were learning.
So, if you …
- don’t have the space for a homeschooling room
- are fretting the fact that you haven’t yet set up a homeschool room
- have one and you aren’t using it
- would like to use that room for something else
…I’m here to tell you, it is okay not to have one. You will not get kicked out of your homeschool co-op, your kids will not be less smart, and learning will still happen every day.