First things first!
In post number one of this series we've established that the homeschool classroom is actually not a room at all, but a heart that we soften and mold with the unique blend of education suited for the particular child, we need to engage some practical methods of organization and motivation to stay inspired. There's nothing like the dread of entering a chaotic, cluttered space to squash the learning potential of our dear little ones.
Regardless of their learning styles, children do not need to feel like they are a "dot on the landscape". In other words, they need to be able to relate to their space, to feel a sense of belonging in their surroundings. This sense of peace relaxes the brain and makes learning enjoyable, whereas a stressful environment closes the brain and learning ceases.
In my home, I strive to do things decently and in order, according to the scripture. If Creation functions best in this way, then we should highly regard this bit of wisdom and apply it to every area of life. (I should as a disclaimer here that every area of my home is not in complete order, because we LIVE here. When there are oxen in the barn, the stalls will be messy!)
Do you need "book privacy"?
I don't mind open shelving, whether it serves my books, dishware, or display items, as I have proven here in post 2 of this series, but I have friends who demand "dish privacy"! Since each family is unique, you will have to determine how much display shelving is appropriate for your home, and thoughtfully purchase or rehab items with your particular needs in mind. This post will feature mostly closed storage for that purpose.
The point is to begin to think of ways to make your home more comfortable for all members of the household, (that includes YOU moms!), while keeping school necessities like books, software and manipulaties neat and organized so they may be found when needed.
A simple armoire like the one above could hold a year's worth of books and supplies while still flowing with the surroundings of the home. To make this piece even more user friendly, one could add baskets labeled with a particular child or subject name, like Math, History or Science. Then, during that particular subject, the student need only remove the basket to the table or desk to have all their materials close at hand.
This is especially helpful to the kinistetic child, who struggles with keeping order of their personal space.
A simple apothecary chest like the one above would be a great addition to a kitchen classroom because it has so many functional compartments. Crayons, markers, paper, paints, aprons, brushes and other necessary items would be easily accessible without being always in view.
One homeschool mom I know has used this type of storage approach to stretch the space in her modest home. She added a bureau in the entryway. The two top drawers are designated for her husband and herself, to empty pockets, store keys, glasses and other items. The bottom drawers are designated for the children's school items, games, posters and manipulatives, all neatly hidden in plain sight.
Another kitchen idea is to use the bottom of a china cabinet for school books and storage. This works especially well if most of the school work is done at the kitchen table anyway. The school books are handy, and can easily be put away when finished, or in the event company drops by, which usually throws our school off by at least one hour, no matter how long the guest stays!
The last idea I wanted to share was an individualized piece rehabed for a particular person. This idea would work well in a small space or for an older child or teen who practiced self study. No one wants to look at "school" all the time, and this little desk would make a perfect addition to a bedroom where items could be easily found and returned after school.
For the next post in this series, I'm going to look at specific organizers and their uses in the classroom. Until then, I hope you will be inspired to think outside the box, and find some new uses for the furniture around your home.
Make the space in which you spend the most time teaching and learning, a beautiful, inviting, and inspiring one!