By request: How do I Prepare My Home for Homeschooling?
How do I Prepare My Home for Homeschooling?
Note, this post was co-written by homeschool mom, Alisa Taylor, who is also an editor for HP. (BTW- We are not affiliates of HP.)
We 7Sisters love to answer questions about homeschooling! Recently, I’ve had several folks ask related questions about preparing their homeschool for homeschooling:
- How do I prepare my home for homeschooling?
- Where in my house should we homeschool?
- Do we need an official “school room” for homeschooling?
- Can we homeschool at places other than our home?
First off, let me remind you of what we always say: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool! That includes: There’s not ONE right way to create a homeschool learning space. This means if someone pressures you that your home needs:
- An official “school room” or “learning space”
- Or you need official equipment or furniture
- And maybe even bulletin boards and wall posters
Simply tell them thanks for the advice and move on. Then take a breath and relax.
Now that we have that out of the way, consider these factors in thinking about how to prepare your home for homeschooling.
Review your goals, formats, schedules and needs
Here’s a little encouragement:
As much as you are able, do not put the cart before the horse. That is, do not arrange your house before you actually know what you and your homeschoolers are going to do.
For instance, why invest in a bunch of lab equipment if your teens are going to take science classes at their local co-op?
On the other hand, if several of your homeschool high schoolers are planning on taking online courses, it might be the best idea to make sure each has a laptop or other digital device. Otherwise, there may be some tough competition for computer time when classes need to be watched and papers need to be written.
Remember your family personality
Every family has a different personality. Some families love being together. They love to sit around the kitchen table together and do their lessons. Some of these families even love dedicated school rooms (although most homeschooling families I know do not have a dedicated schoolroom- or if they do, they only use it part of their school day).
Other families are full of introverts who would prefer to work alone in their bedrooms.
Lots of families prefer a mix of time together (for read-alouds, projects or simply working side-by-side on their individual lessons) and time alone working on lessons. Our family was like that. Even while our teens were homeschooling high school, we never stopped family read-alouds. After reading time, the various kids would hang out on the couches and chairs to work on individual lessons.
Allow yourself to dream then realistically evaluate your space
When I was a kid, I did not love going to public school. However, I LOVED the school desks. I loved having my own desk with its wooden top that I could lift and place books, pencils and paper inside. Thus, when I first started homeschooling my youngsters, I wished my kids could have school desks. It is actually one of those things I prayed for. Fortunately, our local homeschool community was good at sharing resources. I found two old-fashioned desks, just like those I used in school. (Now, decades later with the kids grown, I do not know what to do with them!)
As my homeschoolers progressed towards high school, they wanted more independent study time, so we were able to find more typical bedroom desks for their kids.
Some homeschooling families have lots of room for a dedicated school room. Other homeschooling families are limited in space and do not have a dedicated educational space- schooling happens all over the house. There’s not ONE right way!
BTW: For folks with small spaces, check out these ideas our friends:
- Homeschool Room Ideas for Small Spaces- Homeschool Superfreak
- Five Ways to Love Your Home School in a Small Space- Humility and Doxology
Here’s what Alisa has found that helps for creating a good learning environment for teens:
Providing a comfortable desk and chair is one of the biggest, most impactful changes you can make to your teen’s bedroom for more effective home education.
- Indeed, anyone working from home (regardless of age) knows the exponential value of a comfortable seating and working arrangement.
- A desk will create spaciousness in your teen’s work environment and allow them to utilize numerous textbooks, writing books, and necessary devices at once—which is important as their curriculum becomes more advanced.
- A comfortable, ergonomic chair can turn even the most lackadaisical of teenagers into happily seated and focused scholars. It will also provide the necessary support for their back. Both a functional desk and comfortable chair are investments well worth the money.
Put Up A Whiteboard
- There are plenty of studies that suggest that visualization can be a great tool for both personal and professional organization. A whiteboard provides the opportunity to create mind maps and visualize ideas for a deeper understanding of information and improved cognitive abilities.
- Setting up a whiteboard with some fun colored whiteboard markers is not only great to have around for creative doodling or making personal lists, but also for plotting out projects and writing down a schedule for upcoming tasks and assignments.
- Note from Vicki: My millennial friends tell me that they keep a whiteboard in their office. They tell me they write their task list for the next day on the board each evening. I started suggesting to the teens I work with to give it a try and for many of them it has really increased their productivity.
Encourage Organization And Cleanliness
- When you spend a lot of time in your bedroom, it can become easy to let orderliness slide, especially during the teen years. Encouraging your teen to adopt a healthy relationship with tidying and cleaning their room and workspace will make it much easier for them to focus on schoolwork.
- Organization and cleanliness do not just extend to not leaving piles of laundry on the floor or dirty plates and mugs lying around. It also extends to their computer and school supplies. Encourage them to organize their desktop regularly, manage their files and downloads, and always keep their screen clean and dust-free. If they use any pens, notebooks, files, or papers, these should get packed away at the end of the day, or stacked neatly. A weekly wipe-down of their desk is an excellent idea too.
Homeschooling can take place anywhere
- The local library, a quiet coffee shop, or even a fellow homeschooler’s house can all introduce invigorating change to your teen’s work regime and keep things feeling fresh and stimulating. This can help them get out of their head when things get tough and renew their appreciation for home.
- Roadschooling with the family works, too!
- Here’s a post on 10 Places You Can Homeschool and Love it!
Check the budget
Once you have evaluated your space (and your dreams), it is wise to sit down with the budget and decide what fits as you prepare for homeschooling. This is a wonderful way to get your teens interested in Financial Literacy! If you bring them in on the discussions on what the budget will allow for homeschooling-related purchases, they get some hands-on practice about making realistic spending decisions.
Remember: Homeschooling is not about keeping up with the Joneses’ cool school room. Instead it is about educating your kids! You do not need to compare yourself with anyone!