It’s that time of year when scanning Instagram posts, Facebook newsfeeds, or Pinterest boards reveal beautifully decorated homeschool rooms, cute curriculum closets, and unique organizational cubicles. You can video tour homeschool spaces on YouTube and Facebook Live too. Who knew how creative one could get with maps, chalkboards, IKEA bookshelves, and dollar store organizers?
It reminds me of the photos you see of picture-perfect nurseries awaiting the birth of a first child. Yet do you remember seeing a photo posted of that same room several weeks after the birth of that child? Probably not! The sleep-deprived new parents may be madly trying to capture a picture of baby’s first smile, but they wouldn’t dare show you the piles of laundry and other paraphernalia now cluttering the formerly pristine nursery.
And, similarly, you aren’t likely to find many proud displays of homeschool rooms in November or February. Real life gets cluttered and messy – especially when many bodies are home most of the day! So if interior decorating brings you personal pleasure and/or the rest of your home is Pinterest-worthy, then you will likely find joy in creating an amazing homeschool space. But if browsing curriculum websites is consuming most of your waking moments right now or you are madly enjoying the last moments of summer vacation, let me assure you that your first day of school will be just fine in your kitchen, living room, or children’s bedroom. Squeezing in an extra bookcase somewhere or stashing a few large bins in a closet really is sufficient. And if you like visual displays like I do, then any empty wall in your home will become fair game! In fact, our poster of the periodic table had been mounted on the kitchen wall for so long, it threatened to leave a permanent eyesore if removed. It stayed up until the time came to redo the whole kitchen.
We can set up the cutest desks for our little ones, but many times they are more content sprawled on the floor. Read-alouds are much more fun in an oversized recliner or when snuggled up with Mommy on a comfy couch than when listened to while sitting in a straight-back chair.
You don’t need to bring a classroom into your home; that’s an artificial learning environment. Instead, strive to incorporate learning and space for learning into the lifestyle and living spaces of your home. Much of our homeschooling took place very successfully in our small dining nook and on our living room couch. However, if I had it to do all over again, I’d take school outside more often! Hmmm … I wonder if there’s a Pinterest board for homeschool backyards?