Monday, June 22, 2015

Why We Don't Have a Homeschool "Classroom"

We've been homeschooling for two full years now.  Although it took a little while, by the end of the first year I totally loved it.  For a long time, I really struggled with where we should have our school room.  I was previously a teacher, and I imagined using one of the kids rooms as a school room.  It would be so cute, with little desks or tables with chairs, posters all over the walls, easels, cabinets with neatly organized literature, curriculums, and workbooks, endless tubs of learning activities and resources and more.  It would be SO cute.  

But then, I realized this would not fit our schooling lifestyle AT ALL.  While the cute little school room was a great idea for somebody, it is not for me.  Here's why:

1.  I don't want to spend my time in a single room.  Sitting all morning in a small (albeit cute) room sounds awful.  Bouncing back and forth from that room to make snack, lunch, play outside, get the mail, vacuum, finish the dishes, etc. seems like a large feat of musical chairs.  Plus, I have 4 kids.  They sure as heck aren't going to all want to sit in that room all morning together either.  

2.  I don't want my children to think learning happens in a single, particular space.  For me, I want my children to really understand that learning happens anywhere and everywhere.  I don't want them to associate school with a desk or a table or even a quiet room.  I want them to view everywhere as school.  My children are free to take their independent work to a comfy couch, under a shady backyard tree, while walking around, on their beds, or even at the kitchen table.  Wherever they're comfortable is fine with me.  Yes, much of our teaching still takes place at the kitchen table, as that's where my curriculum books and whiteboard are, but we often use the living room floor or the backyard table for instruction, too, not to mention the numerous beyond-our-house places we utilize for learning.  

3.  I can multitask better in the main living space.  My children do not need me right by their side for all of their school time, though they often need me within earshot.  After I give them some instruction, I can often do the breakfast dishes and clean up the entire kitchen area, all while guiding them through their work, administering a test, and answering questions as they arise.  If I had a school room, it would probably be VERY clean, but the rest of my house would be awfully messy.  

4.  I don't always homeschool all the children at the same time.  Sometimes I work with one child, and then do the next one.  I don't always have all the kids together for school.  On days when I work with one child at a time, I would be stuck in that little room all morning, and would probably end up running in and out of the room to mediate arguments and such from the other 3 kids who are running amuck.  

Frankly, as much as I want a cute Pinterest-y school room, there's simply NO WAY it would ever work for me.  

So what do I use?

I currently have one bookshelf in a hall closet for less regularly used curriculum books, and one bookshelf next to my kitchen table with our daily-use stuff.  I would honestly love to put doors on it someday to hide everything away, but it works for now.  I have a white board hanging on the wall next to it, as well as a map of the USA right now.  We do our school in the main area of our house-our kitchen/dining area, which leads to the living room on one side, and to the backyard on the other.  I can hear pretty much everything that's going on, see the kids who are in the backyard, clean the kitchen area, AND homeschool each of my children.  It works so well for us.  It's far less cute, but fits our lifestyle nicely.  

Where do you homeschool?  And why?

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