The year 2020 changed schooling forever. This may seem like a big statement, but it’s true. Many parents found themselves unprepared for the changes, but there was one group that got by relatively smoothly: homeschoolers. While those attending public or private school were in for some new learning challenges, those who already attended virtual school from home or partook in traditional homeschooling were well prepared to continue their learning.
Now, with a year under their belt, many parents are deciding that homeschooling might just be the way of the future for their kids’ education. Are you one of them? If so, stick with us as we help take your schoolroom to the next level to create the perfect learning environment for your kids!
Special occasions may call for doing school in bed or on the couch in the TV room, but for the most part, keeping a dedicated space for your school room will be helpful for everyone involved.
If you have the option, use an extra bedroom, home office, or even the basement. If you don’t have a room that can function exclusively as a homeschool room, do your best to set aside a small area of one of your other rooms for use.
As in a real classroom, it is important to minimize the distractions facing your student. Unlike a real classroom, your home is full of personalized distractions for your child. Make sure their toys, electronics, and other common distractions stay in a different space during your designated school hours.
Is there a busy street on one side of your house? A dog that barks constantly? A neighborhood common area where people like to stop and talk loudly? Try and set your school room away from these loud noises for an extra dose of focus.
Pick the Right Color
If you’re going all-in on a new homeschool room and you’re able to repaint before school starts, consider a calming color or one that helps improve focus. Examples of calming colors include pale green, lavender, pale yellow, or light blue.
One perk of homeschooling is that your kids don’t have to sit at an uncomfortable desk all day long. Set up a desk with plenty of space for most of their schoolwork, but allow some flexibility when it comes to subjects that involve a lot of reading or deep thinking that can be done in other places.
Consider adding a comfy reading corner with a bean bag chair to curl up in or a window seat with lots of blankets and pillows.
Ask any current homeschooling parent what the most important thing about homeschooling is, and many will tell you to be sure you’re staying organized. This helps give your kids a sense of normalcy and will help minimize your stress. But organization doesn’t have to be boring! Homeschool room organization ideas are a Pinterester’s dream, and you can find about a million options on there!
Here are a few things we like to keep in mind:
Don’t Overdo Supplies
Just because you can have every color crayon ever invented doesn’t mean you should. Sit down and think through what school supplies you’ll need for the year, and stick to your list. Having too many things to choose from can end up being overwhelming for your student, and more things sometimes just equal more mess.
Set Aside Important Papers
It is currently legal to homeschool in all 50 states, but the rules and requirements vary by state. It’s important to look into these laws in order to make sure you have everything you might need to homeschool well and legally. Keep a record of important papers, tests, and transcripts, especially once your student hits high school. Consider keeping these in a special place in your homeschool room or in your own home office.
Utilize All Your Space
Look for unique storage and organization systems that will work for whatever room you’re in. Gone are the days of basic bookshelves, filing cabinets, and wall hooks. Make your organization work for you. If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to school, consider storage solutions that can be easily hidden away when it’s time to do something other than schoolwork.
Consider what electronics you may need, and make sure you have enough outlets and cord organizers for them. If your student uses an iPad for work or to watch educational videos, consider a PUK as a device stand. It also doubles as a drink holder for when it’s time to put the electronics away for the day.
Include Traditional School Items
For some students, homeschooling might feel like a really big adjustment. For others, they might just miss silly little things about the classroom like bulletin boards and posters on the wall. If it helps your student to have some of these around in your homeschool room, go for it!
Some fun ways to make your homeschool room feel more like school than home include:
- Paint a wall with chalkboard paint. This is a super fun way to make the room feel special, and it’s practical for you as the teacher as well.
- Get a real school desk. Search the thrift stores or check to see if any local schools are getting rid of a few items.
- Set up a mini school library. Allow your students to “check out” books each week.
Add Some Fun
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring. Without the confines of a regular schoolroom shared with many other students, you are free to make your homeschool environment unique.
Is your student really into pirates this year? Set up their school room to resemble a pirate ship. Maybe they’re a total sports buff. Put up motivational posters of their favorite athletes, encouraging them to get their math homework done before playing outside.
Whatever your child loves, you can find a way to make their classroom a little extra special by adding a small touch of personalization to the experience.
Take the Classroom Outdoors
Who says all school needs to happen inside? Consider holding some special classes (like science) outside instead of in your schoolroom. Or use it as a special incentive to get a tough assignment done.
Give a reward of an “outdoor study hall” for good behavior or impressive focus. Set up something fun in the backyard, like an outdoor deck or a hammock where they can swing while they read.
Adopt a Classroom Pet
Many fond memories are formed when a classroom decides to adopt a pet, and there’s nothing stopping you from bringing this tradition to your homeschool room. Pick a small pet like a fish, hampster, or guinea pig, and keep it in the classroom. Make sure your student knows it is their job to care for the classroom pet responsibly.
Don’t Do it Alone
A key criticism of homeschool is that your child won’t get enough time with other kids or learn how to socialize well. But if you put in a little effort, you’ll quickly find that homeschooling provides some extra unique opportunities for your kids to meet other people and try out new activities.
Don’t get caught up in your own little world in your homeschool room, no matter how cool you just designed it. One of the best parts of homeschooling is that you’re not confined to one place—the world is your classroom.
Here are a few ideas for getting out of your homeschool comfort zone:
Plan a field trip. Invite other homeschooling families during the week, or plan it during a time when your kids' friends who go to public or private school can still join.
Join a co-op. Are you terrible at math or just can’t stand history? You don’t have to teach it. Check out your local area to see if you can join a co-op of other homeschooling families. Consider an extra-large and extra-comfy seating option for all the kids.
Don’t skip extra-curricular activities. Find what your child is passionate about and help them chase that passion. Many states have sports teams for homeschoolers, and some public and private schools will let you take elective classes or join after-school activities like band or theater.
Participate in Bring Your Child to Workday. If you or your partner have a traditional job, make it a day to remember by bringing your child to the office to learn what you do. Some workplaces have an official day planned out for kids (traditionally on the fourth Thursday of April), but others may allow it on a normal day.
Now that you know how to make your homeschool room both enjoyable and practical, it’s time to have an awesome school year. Remember to dedicate space, stay organized, and embrace the fun. Include your student in creating an environment you both love, and watch the learning flourish.