“Do I need a separate school room to homeschool my kids?”
How many times have you seen this question asked? Have you asked it yourself? Maybe you’re wondering if you can pull this off well if you don’t even have a space to call “the school room.”
Truth is, we’ve done it both ways, and I can tell you there are pros and cons to both. We currently have the space for a devoted homeschool room, complete with desks and everything, and I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wait (you say,)— aren’t you a relaxed homeschooler who promotes flexibility, non-traditional schooling, and read-adlouds on the couch?
Why, yes. Yes, I am. (I wrote a book about it.)
So why are you now telling me that I need to have an actual school room? (You wonder.)
Well, I’m not. But I *am* going to tell you why a dedicated school room is a must for me. And why it might work for you, if you have the room and if you’re like me. Just hear me out.
3 Reasons A Dedicated School Room Does Work For Us
Reason 1: It gives everything a place. (I like that.)
I fall somewhere in the middle between a clean freak and a messy. I’m always riding that line, fighting myself over bad habits and maniacally screaming in my head about how everything has a place and if it’s not in use it should BE in it’s place! It’s a constant struggle.
I don’t just mean that the pencils have a pencil box, the pens have a pen box, and the markers have a marker box. (Oh, but they DO. Yes they do.)
A dedicated school room also gives art projects and science experiments a place to be done. The cubbies on the kids’ desks create a dedicated place for their school books and supplies so they can find them. The bulletin board provides a place for drawings and accomplishments.
With a school room, all these “places” are conveniently grouped all together in one small space. (And in so doing, keeps all the school stuff out of all the other places.) Without the dedicated school room I was always struggling to find a place, no-the right place, for everything, and never being satisfied.
In other words, having a dedicated school room feeds my desire for order.
Reason 2: A dedicated school room gives me more room for more school stuff.
I’m sure you think I’m kidding. (I assure you, I’m not.) It’s widely known that homeschool moms LIKE STUFF.
Manipulatives! Experiment kits! Art supplies! Microscopes!
Had I not turned the breakfast nook into a school room, I’m not sure I’d have room for those things.
(YES, we would absolutely totally be fine without some of that stuff. But honestly, I would probably try to have it and find creative places to store it. I mean, we like to paint. Painting is fun.)
But before you call me a Homeschool Hoarder (I’m not.. quite..) I have to say that the flip side of that coin is that it a dedicated school room also limits my stuff acquisition to that which will neatly fit into our school room area.
If it doesn’t fit, it goes.
Because I want all the school stuff to have a home in the school room, I have to pick and choose what goes in there, what we keep for future years, and what needs to be purged. It’s a self-limiting benefit, and that’s a very good thing.
So basically, a dedicated school room lets me feed my addiction to resources in a controlled environment and prevents me from crossing the line into Homeschool Hoarderism.
Reason 3: A School Room Puts Us In School Mode
Probably the most serious and important reason that a school room is good for us–it helps us “do” school. We do better when we have a room to do it in.
- We can find our stuff quickly and easily
- The school room is a clean, dedicated place (away from dirty dishes, laundry, and other chores)
- When we go to the school room, our brain goes into school mode, we focus better and get done faster
- When we use our school room for at least most of the time, overall we are more diligent and on the ball than when we don’t
We may not do school like a traditional school but when we do it in the school room, it just works better. When it works better, we get it done faster. When it gets done faster, we have more time for other things – chores, free time, going places.
Having said that, we don’t do all the school in the school room all the time. If we are feeling a little under the weather we might all pile up on the furniture in the living room (because doing something that way is better than doing nothing at all.) The kids are always free to slip off to do their math or other individual work on their bed or in another room if they need to get away to focus.
We also like to watch documentaries in the comfort of the living room. And yes, we prefer to do read-alouds on the couch. Sometimes when the weather is beautiful we even take school outside.
Even though we do have a dedicated school room, we don’t have to do our work in there all the time. We are still, and will always be, more relaxed and very flexible, even while we are trying to be more diligent and focused.
In short, a dedicated school room helps bring structure and order to this otherwise very relaxed homeschooler when focus is needed — and that’s definitely a very good thing.
A Dedicated Homeschool Room Definitely Works for Us
So you see now that I really am a flexible, relaxed homeschooler who prefers the structure of a dedicated school room. Is that a little bit weird? Perhaps, but I’ve grown accustom to this blending of my tidy, messy halves throughout my life.
Yes (you say,) it makes sense now. I see that you weren’t really straying from your relaxed homeschooling platform at all. But do you really think a person needs to have a school room? What if I don’t have the space?
Well, that’s the beauty of being relaxed and flexible. When we didn’t have the space, I adapted! I made do with what we had, I got creative, I found ways to create order and structure and focus without a school room. That’s what homeschool moms do.
I realize that not everyone will need or want a whole school room. You might not be like me at all! And that’s okay.
In fact, my friend Aadel has tackled the other side of my argument for just that purpose. If you hop over and read it, Aadel has shared “3 Reasons Why a Homeschool Room DOESN’T Work For Our Homeschool.” You’re curious now, aren’t you? Go on, read it.
Speaking of reading, this post is linked to a Dueling Blog Post series — a series in which two bloggers tackles two sides of a homeschooling topic. For more dueling blog posts, click here.
And now it’s your turn. Do you prefer a dedicated school room or not? And why? Tell me, I would love to know.