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Homeschooling: small house, many kids


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I'll let you define small house and many kids.  Really, what I'm talking about is when you can't use just one crate of materials, or share materials between children.

 

How do you give workspace to everyone?
How do you manage storing each person's individual materials?
What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children?
How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)?

 

Dh still has a dream of relocating to a city with a very HCOL.  It would necessitate something like 6 people in <1200ft/112m sq.  I'm trying to get on board while working through the practicalities.

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We've got 188 sq ft/person here

 

One thing to look at is dual purpose space. Bunk beds (2 people sleep in the space of one), storage beds with built in drawers (no need for dresser), beds with tall legs (say 18 inches) that boxes and bins can go under, loft beds (desk and bookshelf underneath), floor beds/futons that get folded up and put away during the day (as in Japan) and Murphy or wall beds are all examples of this.

 

Build shelves high on the walls, or in the tops or bottoms of closets.

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We aren't in the smallest house and we don't have the most kids - our house is about that size and we are a family of six, but we have a basement.

 

I love having a narrow file box for each kid's work books, etc (this type of thing, mine are acrylic: https://intl.target.com/p/pendaflex-174-poly-desktop-storage-box-letter-size-black/-/A-51405868#lnk=sametab).They live on the kitchen bench during the week and get tucked in the basement over the weekend. I also have a small shelf for daily use, with reference materials, manipulatives, etc. I use tuck-away things - folding display boards, a white board that can slide into a narrow space, etc.

 

The daily stuff I don't have an issue with for space. What I would find hard is storage space for stuff that isn't in current use. I have all mine on an Ikea Expedit and that works very well. You'd maybe need some kind of bin system and space and to be very organized to remember what is in there?

 

Small space organising is such a fun challenge. :)

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I only have 2 kids and have about 1300 sq ft, so I have more room than you would have, but here's what I've done:

 

Tall bookcases where each shelf holds one student's schoolwork.  I have a shelf for me with the teacher's guides.

 

I converted two tiny closets into two tiny desks.  The desk surface is on hinges and folds up against the wall.  A dining room chair fits in the closet.  You sit on the chair and lower the desktop over your legs.  An extension cord and a light with a clip on the clothing rack gives you light.  The door can be shut behind you for quiet/privacy.  We keep clothes in dressers in the bedrooms rather than in these closets which are in our schoolroom (which is really the 3rd bedroom, but we call it our schoolroom.)

 

Somewhere along the line, I got 2 school desks like what they have in schools, with a cubby under the writing surface to stash pencils and things.  Those desks can be moved all around the house until you figure out where they work best.  And since each student has his/her own desk, they're not bumping into each other while they're writing and annoying each other.  That worked for a while, until my oldest hit high school.  The youngest still uses his school desk, but the oldest graduated to a desk with lots of drawers and a bigger surface, so he can spread out his books and papers.  

 

We don't eat at the dining room table.  The DR table is used as a laptop computer desk.  One of the drawers to the china hutch (which actually houses my dry goods--because the house is small and I don't have a pantry), is used to store school supplies to be used when on the laptop computer desk (aka the dining room table.)  If necessary, the laptop can be moved for us to eat off the table, but we never eat off the table.  We eat off of TV trays and watch TV shows together during dinner.

 

School materials to be handed down are in a bookcase in the kid's bedroom.  The boys rarely use their bedroom except for sleeping, so I have a few things stored in their room.  When they played with toys, the toys were in the schoolroom.  The bedroom has always been for just sleeping and storing off-season homeschool materials.  They don't seem to care, as long as they can use the schoolroom for relaxing.  (They've moved on to computer games.)

 

Bottom line:  

 

We don't use the house the way it's intended.  The boys' room isn't for their stuff: it's for sleeping and storage.  The 3rd bedroom isn't a bedroom: it's a schoolroom.  The closets aren't used as closets: they're used as private desks.  The dining room table isn't used for dining: it's used as a computer desk.  

Edited by Garga
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How do you give workspace to everyone?
Is a "build your own shed" in your yard a possibility? Use it now as a schoolroom to go out to, and store all your supplies and have a small fold down desk and chair for each student in there, and then when you move, the next owners can use it as a shed. If you have enough $$, you can pay to have it installed for you. Build your own shed info from Loews, Home Depot, Costco, Sam's Club.

 

Can you rotate if the workspace is limited? For 1 hour at a time: two children work at desk or table workspace, another 2 children watch educational video or computer game or audio book or other solo supplement, and 2 children are with you on the couch in another room using clipboards or lapboards for desk tops for individual work?

 

How do you manage storing each person's individual materials?

If that's not workable, we used heavy-duty stackable crates, one per student. I stacked them in the laundry room. If you have a lot of kids/materials, you could probably do 2 stacks, each with 3-4 crates, covering a floor with a total "footprint" of 19" x 24", in a tower that is 3-4' high. 

 

What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children?

- sell & re-buy when actually needed -- and, may not be needed, as different children have different needs

- loan out to homeschooling friends with children at ages who can use the material in your in-between years

- do an internet search for small space storage ideas (esp for apartments!), like here and here

cardboard file boxes, labeled with a sharpie as to contents

 

How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)?

- create a full length tear out the drywall of a wall in the house and convert it into a double-sided floor to ceiling bookcase; use sliding panels or cupboard doors so it reduces the cluttered look

- cardboard file boxes -- all the books, supplies, materials for grade 1 in one box; grade 2 in another box; etc. OR, all of a Sonlight or Bookshark core in one box, etc. -- and store in a stack in an outside shed; in a stack on the back porch up on bricks or blocks and neatly covered with a tarp; stacked along a garage wall; slide under beds put up on risers; etc.

Edited by Lori D.
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Our home is a 865sqft condo but we don’t use the patio so more like slightly over 600sqft living space for two adults two kids.

 

How do you give workspace to everyone?

 

My kids have an IKEA Micke study desk, a Target 3 tier white rolling cart, an IKEA 5 Alexa white drawer unit

 

How do you manage storing each person's individual materials?

 

IKEA expedit/kallax 2x2 cubes, lots of stackable transparent 18 gallon totes

 

What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children?

 

Common bookshelves. My kids do have their own set of curriculum so it is more of the common reference books than curriculum.

 

How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)?

 

Boxed and labeled in the dining room since we don’t use that room as a dining room. Lab supplies for biology, chemistry and physics are there too.

Edited by Arcadia
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We have 7 in an 1100 sq ft house.  I do have a crawlspace, but schooling items aren't stored there because it's too difficult to access. 

 

Stackable bookshelves are my best friend. Floor to ceiling along two and half walls.  (Plus two small bookcases, one in a bedroom and one in the living room.) I use labelled canvas cube bins on them to help group and hold items (each child has a bin for their own books, and other bins include math manipulatives, science lab materials, history books for that year, and so on).  The shelves also hold subject binders for each child, to file away paperwork as it's produced (per TWTM)--- though I only save select bits of their work, because this binder is all the storage they have for that subject.  Some hanging file boxes sit on the shelves as well.  And I've tried to find storage containers/binders/furniture pieces that are pretty, so that I can tolerate living in a glorified closet.  :-) . I'm not one for having a home that looks like a giant schoolroom, so everything is chosen with that in mind.

 

The butler chest in our dining area holds school items that are used frequently there (because group schooling happens at that table.)  I also have kiddy tables in a small tv/family room area that are used for one-on-one sessions.  One rolltop desk holds my supplies (bills, etc) but the kids have no desks of their own.

 

I'm very selective about the books/curriculum/manipulatives/materials we own, because of storage.  Lots of classics (children and adult) line our shelves, but the rest we borrow.  Toys are very limited (and rotate in and out of the crawlspace).  Clothing is limited too.  Each child has a hanging closet organizer with six bins, plus a little hanger space for church clothes.  That's it.   Our house is too short for bunks, so we use trundles for two of the children.  

 

For now, it is working surprisingly well (though I wish we had more than one bathroom!).  I can imagine as the kids get physically bigger that we will find it more challenging, though.  

 

 

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850sqft house, family of 6. (2 adults, 4 kids). Our linen closet is the homeschool shelf with current books. We homeschool in the living room... there are 2 computers along the wall. One is mine, one is for school. There is a collapsible table near the computer that students working with me sit at. Usually someone is at the computer. And then we use a couple of tv tables near the couch.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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With constant thinking outside the box....:)  There is no one way and it so depends on what materials you use and what kind of space you all need.  My upstairs is a low-ceiling loft not good for anything but sleeping and storing clothes.  My downstairs is 600 sq. ft.  There are two adults and four kids.  We make it work.  Currently, I have a small dresser that holds a whole bunch of school materials (and the drawers CLOSE....no need to constantly tidy!)  I have one smallish shelf for all the other stuff that I am constantly tidying to help it look decent - it's right next to our dining table.  I have one single shelf up on a wall in the living room that holds the living books we use.  On top of the dresser is a little caddie full of pencils and index cards and glue and all that.  Each kid has a pencil box with color coded supplies.

 

We all work at the dining table, unless my eldest needs quiet - then she is allowed to sit on the couch in the living room.  She sometimes does work up in her little loft area/room, but is required to do writing at the table so it stays neat.  If she really wants to write and really does not want to sit at the table where other people are working/talking, she can sit at the school desk.  This is one of those wooden, one-piece desk/chair combos that my mil found at a yard sale.  It is shoved in a corner half hidden by the futon in my living room and slightly inconvenient - but it's there and it gets used.

 

Do we hear each other?  Yes.  Is there (sometimes constant, it seems) reminding that school hours are quiet hours and no one is allowed to interrupt someone else's lesson?  Yes, and yes.  Do we get distracted by the baby and do I bounce (almost literally) back and forth between kid-in-the-living-room, four-year-old-in-the-bathroom, six-year-old-at-the-table, and baby-in-the-play-pen?  Yes.  All day.  It's life in a small space with lots of people - that means lots of organizing and holding the line on things staying organized.  That means rules about our day - and holding the line on those rules.  It also means we are learning to live together in a way we wouldn't if we had a big house and lots of separate spaces.  It means we all enjoy this little baby all day.  And I've really grown to love it despite the challenges. :) You'll figure it out.

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1000 sq feet. Each kid has a plastic school crate with their books and supplies. Our living room is decorated with book shelves. The crates stay in oldest’s room when not in use. That was part of the deal of her getting her own room, is that she stores a ton of stuff in there. We joke it is Smaug’s Treasure Lair because she sleeps on a lofted bunk over a lot of stuff. We school at the dining room table. It is never quiet. If the kids need quiet they have to retreat to their own room or my room. They don’t do this for most of the day. They’ve gotten kind of used to ignoring regular noise as long as they can still hear me talk. Sometimes I feel guilty, but I think it bothers me far more than any of them. Also, to keep the three year old happy and reasonably quiet (i.e. not yelling or throwing tantrums) I basically let him make a giant mess most of the day and clean up the fingerpaints and fifty billion scraps of paper he’s cut up right before dh gets home. That also drives me nuts. But it keeps him from messing with their stuff too much, so it’s worth it.

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The key for us with several children is to have multiple places where they can work. Obviously that’s a little easier in a house with more rooms, but it can work in a smaller one too. Tote bags or crates that they can carry around will help them move to different spots. You might set up some sort of desk in their bedrooms, or in your bedroom, in addition to having some working at the dining table. Or maybe they work in separate rooms, and you do the one-on-one tutoring in their separate rooms.

 

For storage, rent a unit, use under bed boxes, store things at a relative’s house, sell and rebuy as needed, use a lot of PDF curricula and print as needed and then toss. . .

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I would go digital. If you have paper resource, scan them and get rid of them. Then you would need multiple i-pads or laptops. I would limit each kid to a binder, a pencil pouch, and a book bag. 

If you are moving to a city location, I would be tempted to work out of the home often - in the library or at coffee shops. 

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We are a family of 8, living in under 900 square feet, so I would think this qualifies as small; but we actually feel it is just right at this time-lol. Although I would give anything for the laundry to be upstairs, and out of the uninhabitable basement. The city lines back up into our basement all of the time and so it smells and is just not encouraging to go do laundry-lol.

 

 Here are things that we have done to organize things in our house.

 

Our kitchen is tiny, but our livingroom is the largest room in the house and we do just about everything in there.  We have a beautiful tri-window area that we placed our dining table at; and this is where the children sit for meals or Montessori/craft activities.  We put one loveseat and one couch in here plus my rocking chair.  We have one large bookcase to store books in- we have found that buying reusable things, and organizing them saves so much money in our homeschool. 

 

When we first moved in this house we put desks along one wall, and it worked well for overseeing independent work; but I felt it took up too much room for the 11/2 hours of use it got daily.  I have switched my children to lapdesk, and they can sit in the livingroom wherever they want to or on their own bed (if they are getting their work done well under supervision, I try to begin giving them space during silent reading/independent work).  I put a large bookshelf where the desk were- I think every homeschool will eventually need a decent bookcase.

 

I did put one desk in each of the bedrooms, and the children in those bedrooms can keep consumable workbooks/binders in that desk, this also gives them another place to do seatwork if they want to; some of my children prefer the desks over lapboards.

 

I also minimize my books/ curriculum to what we love and will definitely use over the years. 

 

I also limit outfits for the children, based on what they need if washing twice weekly, plus a nice town outfit, and two church outfits.

 

Enjoy those babies-lol.

 

I am looking at investing into a game cabinet - with a lock- lol, so that I can incorporate more time playing with my children, without "missing" pieces. 

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Well, we lived full time in our RV/fifth wheel for two years (450 sq. ft.). We are still living in it, but on 3 acres where we have more solutions now (too complicated to explain). In the RV, there is a built-in bookcase in the kid's room that holds all the teacher's guides, future books to be used, etc... We bought one of these Elfa systems from the Container Store https://www.containerstore.com/s/elfa/best-selling-solutions/cabinet-sized-elfa-drawer-systems/platinum-cabinet-sized-elfa-mesh-pantry-storage/123d?productId=11002108 . We have two of the biggest drawers, one for each girl. The smaller drawers are for school supplies like scissors, pens, and pencils, etc... The big drawers store all of the girl's books. I like them because they can pull them out completely, and take them to their work spot then put them back at the end of the day. My son stores all his books in a square storage ottoman that has a triple use (a seat also). Our couch has storage underneath, where book already used or to be used way later go. I know ours came that way with the RV, but there are freestanding couches out there that have storage underneath also. As far as workspaces one of the girls works on her bed the other at the kitchen table/living room couch. My son and I used to work at the other end of the couch (it is a large u shaped couch with a long table in the middle). Now we work in a separate building. If my 3 yr. old did not need a nap we could work in our room too. Think dual purpose, portable, and floor to ceiling shelve storage solutions.

Edited by coralloyd
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We have had four people In 1000 sf, and basically :

 

Zero tolerance for clutter and junk/ each kid gets one trunk with their name and whatever they can stuff in there is what they can have. Exceptions are LEGO for boys (get an under bed storage bin with wheels) and stuffed animal for girls (she can keep some on her bed)

 

IKEA- ikea has a lot of dual purpose furniture. Every single thing you buy needs to include storage. There should be drawers under every bed, every night stand or end table should have storage, even if it’s expensive and didculf

To assemble it’s worth it!!!

 

Basically ikea is your friend. We also have looked at pottery barn and then found similar items on amazon for 1/6 the cost. For example we enter and exit through our back food becuse the carport is in the back. This is also our dining and kitchen, all in one 200 sf space with no closet. Our little house actually has great closets but not there. So I looked at pottery barn and they had a banquette dining / they’re huge 19 inch square cubes designed as seats- it would cost 2000.00 but I found the same exact thing (not as pretty but ok) on amazon for 300 and reviews say they’re very sturdy. So you do have to shop around to get exactly the right furniture for the right space.

 

Previously we always had a garage to store some items or an attic and now we have neither. So it’s very important to buy the right furniture. I would absolutely stand my ground with hubby that if this relocation is going to happen, 4000.00 needs to be set aside just for the right furniture. Double that If he wants to use Ikeas assembly package- Ikea is very fiddle and annoying to assemble and all items should be glued as well as screwed.

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We have a smaller space than that for 5 people. We do have a very stuffed, 1 car garage for storage. So I label plastic storage boxes for the 10 yr age gap of school books. (youngest of older two is almost 10 yrs older than the next one.) So I have stacked in the garage a blue storage tub that says k-1st grade, one that says 2-3, and so forth. The 5th grade texts and up are all out on our currents school book cases, because we pull from 5-high school stuff currently.  We have one wall covered with bookcases. It is in the room we all eat in. 3 bookcases. I have to keep those full with all references, all current texts and T.M.s, catalogs, tests, literature books for the next couple of years, etc. 

 

Each kid has a bookshelf in their room for personal belongings, special books, etc. I have 2 bookcases in the baby's room of all of the elementary readers, references, storybooks, toddler books, etc. 

 

We have small shelves in the living room that do double duty as our end tables. Those house educational toys for the preschooler and books in current reading use within reach. 

 

Workspace: We use the dining table (the only table we have and eat at 3 x a day,) and the couch with T.V. trays and the floor. The teen uses headphones a lot during the day to drown out the 3 yr old playing all around us as we work. 

 

I don't let them work in their room because everything gets lost in a teen room. 

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I don't have a very small space (or a very large family), but I have some friends that have in the past. Some things they've done are

 

  • They used Sonlight. Each core not currently being used was on a shelf above the doorframes, so out of the way, but not inaccessible. 
  • Under each chair at their kitchen table was a fruit crate with that kid's books for the week and a pencil box for each kid.
  • They had 2 hutches in their dining room - one was for kitchen/dining storage, one for school storage (rest of the work not in the fruit crate and supplies)
  • Toddler toys were organized into bins kept in the top of a closet, so completely out of sight of little one - a set number was brought to the dining room each week. 

 

We use noise-canceling headphones here when one of the kids is being too loud for another to work - we have space, but it's all open. 

Edited by beckyjo
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We have six people in a 900 sq. ft. house.  We generally do all of our living and schooling in one room.  Our daily-use homeschool supplies are kept in a 2x4 cubby Kallax Ikea shelf, to which I added two of the drawer inserts.  These each make one cubby into two drawers, so each kid has a drawer.  Our kitchen and living room are really just two ends of the same room, and this is in the kitchen half, near the kitchen table where we do most of our work requiring a writing surface.  I also found some short and wide stacking shelf unit things from Goodwill, and instead of stacking them I placed them end-to-end on the floor against the "living room" wall next to the dining table, below the wall where we use the projector  (takes up way less space than having a tv).  I'm thinking it would be a good idea to get a roll-down projector screen (we currently just use the wall) so I can put maps behind it for school.  These long, low units add extra storage for homeschooling books and papers and also seating without taking up much space. On the wall across from that one is the couch where we do a lot of our schooling.  I keep some sturdy little folding tv trays in the coat closet by the door, and often pull those out when someone needs a separate workspace.  The other wall has a bookshelf in the corner with doors on the bottom shelves, which contain the preschooler's school-time toys and manipulatives, and the printer and music books at the top.  It also has the piano, and I have mounted hangars for most of the rest of the instruments on that wall (haven't figured out what to do with the cello yet, though).  I store the big whiteboard for AAR between the piano and the wall.  At first I had a problem with it scraping the wall as it was slid in and out, and with little letter tiles getting knocked off and lost behind the piano, but I fixed both problems by gluing a long strip of flannel folded over the top edge of the whiteboard.

 

I also have a few boxes of curriculum not currently in use stashed under my sewing desk in my bedroom, and a few more things saved on the bookshelf in the bedroom.

 

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I think one of the things I am struggling with is that while my high schooler's books take up so.much.space.

 

I have been winnowing down our books so that we now fit into 4 Billy bookcases, 2 upright Trofast systems (10 shelves), two 6' folding tables, back to back for desks, 2 Raskog carts, and three filing cabinets. It's about half of what we used to own.

 

I still clearly have work to do.

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We don't have proper desks for the kids. We have a lift top coffee table that they can use. We also have clipboard cases so that they can have a writing surface away from the couch/coffee table. Individual pencils, erasers, and proclicked work for the week go in the clipboard case. Textbooks, notebooks, etc live on a very small shelf in our living room. We have "floating" shelves like this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S69002469/ high up for books we aren't currently using. If we were to run out of space, I'd have to ask myself what is worth more: the textbook or the space it takes up. You can always sell and re-buy later if space is at a premium. I also make use of space under furniture (beds, couches) to store things. 

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We have 4 kids in about 700sq/ft.

 

We have a lot of outdoor space so a lot of the general 'play' is outside. We made a caravan into the Lego room.

We use vertical space, I have shelves high on my walls for storage.

We do have a room which is the school room. It is about a third of all our house space. It has 4 bookshelves lining one side, and I use baskets on top of the bookshelves as storage. The room is loosely divided into 3 sections, one section is like a lounge room with a couch (with built in storage), tv (mounted on top of the young kids books), a keyboard and music stand for violin practice.

 

The middle section has an old dining table that we use for the school table. I use magazine file boxes for each kid to store their currently used books, and one + a box for my morning time materials.

 

The 3rd section has drawers and desks set up as a preschool work area, with an art station, montessori work table, spielgaben desk.

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When all my kids were still little and still lived at home, we lived in military housing mostly so about 1000 - 1200 sqft depending on the house and 7 - 8 of us living in the house all at the same time.

 

How do you give workspace to everyone?

 

TV trays (like these) work great as portable work desks. Lapdesks are another option as are clipboards. My kids love to sit outside to do their work in nice weather. Clipboards are great for holding onto a math sheet while sitting on the porch.

 

How do you manage storing each person's individual materials?

 

Each child had their own crate and I had my crate of teacher things and items that where shared between kids. Crates were stored in a cube bookcase beside the dining table. It wasn't fancy and there was certainly no hiding the fact that we homeschooled but it was just a season of life, we survived and no one was worse for the wear because of it. 

 

What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children?

 

If it will be a few years, it goes into deep storage like the back of a closet or a tote under a bed somewhere or something like that. Then I just keep a list of what is stored where in my household binder so I can find it when I need it. Living in smaller houses most of my adult life, I learned not to hold on to everything. If there is a good chance that something better will come along or I can repurchase for a decent price when and if I need it again, then out it goes when we are done with it.

 

How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)?

 

Lots of decorative storage containers for storing things in plain sight. Pare down everything as much as possible and really scrutinize how much you really need, well everything. Everything that remains needs to pull at least double duty to pull its weight. Store things in non-traditional places, such as pots and pans that don't get used as often in a tote under the couch or extra non-perishable food items under a bed. Keep a household binder that lists where everthing is stored in case you forget and update it monthly. Consider it part of your cleaning routine since you have fewer things, it should take less time to clean up so adding this little chore should be too big of a deal.

 

E-books and PDFs are lifesavers when you don't have much room in the house for books. For the books you would rather have in hardcopy, every little nook is a potential place for a bookcase or bookshelf. Our current 1300 sqft house has a slightly oversized hallway (we always wonder what they were thinking to put in such tiny closets but an almost 4 foot wide hallway) so the hallway is lined with bookcases on one side. It narrows the hallway a bit but you can still comfortably walk down it. It doesn't look like Martha Stewart lives here but we are happy and that's all that matters.

Edited by sweet2ndchance
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Ours just have always done most of their schoolwork at the dining room table, and some in their rooms sitting on their bed.  

 

We have moved a lot; the best house we've had for the layout was 1300 square feet; there are 8 of us.  Some of us are very small, though (at the time, one was an infant).  

 

Book storage has never been a problem; we don't own a lot of things other than books, though.  We don't have lots of clothes or big dressers (or any dressers, right now); we don't have multiple couches and side tables and etc.  For instance, in the 1300 square foot house (which was furnished), DD12 and DD6's room had a double bed, which they shared, a rocking chair, and two small bookcases.  Their clothes fit in bins in the closet and on hangers.  There was a ton of extra room.  In DS9/DS4's room, there was a queen bed (shared), a dresser, and shelving in the closet for books.  We could have stored probably 500 books with no trouble.  In the living room, we had a sofa, glider chair, side table.  In the dining/work room, a desk, dining room table, chairs.  We could have lined the walls with bookshelves and still had tons of room.  We don't store a lot of stuff.

 

My problem with books is less storage space and more how to keep them out of the hands of the littles.  For that, the best thing is built-in shelves (you just use the top ones for books and the lower ones for things like boots and diapers and spare pillows).

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I have a family of 6 and  live in a HCLA (Central Coastal CA) - we have lived in several houses, the smallest being 1100 sq feet. I think a lot of it is how the house is laid out, how you utilize space, rough storage (like garages and attics) and general personalities. Out of my four kids, I have two extroverts (and sensory seeking)  and two introverts (one sensory avoiding, plus two introvert/sensory sensitive parents. 1100 sq feet was a bit too small for us - we were just too on top of each other, even with extreme organization / minimalism. When we moved my priority was 4 bedroom and more space - a tall order - but it has been a huge help. We don't live in a large house by most standard - our current house is 1700 sq feet but  with lots of rough and built in storage and that is working well for us. 

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So how do you both eat and pay the mortgage in the HCOL areas. I am just agog at what the west coast housing market has done since I last looked seriously in 2015. Seattle, San Jose--it's just ugly. Even Portland is up 70% from the housing crisis 2010ish.

 

Well in California at least, it seems like they eat less (low obesity rates).

 

Kind of joking.

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I'll let you define small house and many kids.  Really, what I'm talking about is when you can't use just one crate of materials, or share materials between children.

 

How do you give workspace to everyone?

How do you manage storing each person's individual materials?

What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children?

How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)?

 

Dh still has a dream of relocating to a city with a very HCOL.  It would necessitate something like 6 people in <1200ft/112m sq.  I'm trying to get on board while working through the practicalities.

 

I had more kiddos in that in approximately (slightly less) square footage.  

 

The answer is that bookcases fit flat against the walls.  

 

Workspace was at the table.  I stored materials on the shelves and in plastic containers.  I think I have old pictures on my blog.  You'll have to hit around 2008/2009.   Materials in storage - I didn't keep a lot to be honest.  Non consumable books in under bed storage.  But I was pretty minimalistic about EVERYTHING except literature.  (And again, bookshelves.)

 

I'll be honest in that I'm not a keeper.  I have no problem with buying used curriculum, using it for a year, then moving it out of my house, knowing I'll rebuy for another kiddo (assuming it's a good fit) in 2-3 years BECAUSE I buy used.  

 

Bookcases fit against a wall and go vertical.  Truly they are the best.  I have huge built ins in our current home and then we have 1-2 bookcases in each of five bedrooms.  I love vertical shelving.

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So how do you both eat and pay the mortgage in the HCOL areas. I am just agog at what the west coast housing market has done since I last looked seriously in 2015. Seattle, San Jose--it's just ugly.

Going by this year’s sold prices in my condo complex, we are at about $770/sqft.

We wanted a condo and bought a small condo with the intention to upgrade in ten years time if we could afford but still livable if we couldn’t afford to upgrade to a bigger condo.

California fruits and vegetables in season are cheap. My husband stick to chicken for meat source as pork, beef and seafood are pricier. My picky DS12 can live on milk and cheese.

We took an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) knowing that we would downpay the principal like crazy. Our ARM was at around 1.5% for five years then 2.5/2.75% for the next few years. Now it’s at 3.75% but we have less than $100k left of the loan so it isn’t too bad since principal + interest is less than $1k per month.

 

ETA:

My area is considered not as pricy as Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, Atherton.

Edited by Arcadia
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I had more kiddos in that in approximately (slightly less) square footage.  

 

The answer is that bookcases fit flat against the walls.  

 

Workspace was at the table.  I stored materials on the shelves and in plastic containers.  I think I have old pictures on my blog.  You'll have to hit around 2008/2009.   Materials in storage - I didn't keep a lot to be honest.  Non consumable books in under bed storage.  But I was pretty minimalistic about EVERYTHING except literature.  (And again, bookshelves.)

 

I'll be honest in that I'm not a keeper.  I have no problem with buying used curriculum, using it for a year, then moving it out of my house, knowing I'll rebuy for another kiddo (assuming it's a good fit) in 2-3 years BECAUSE I buy used.  

 

Bookcases fit against a wall and go vertical.  Truly they are the best.  I have huge built ins in our current home and then we have 1-2 bookcases in each of five bedrooms.  I love vertical shelving.

 

 

Kinda off-topic, but the taco tables on your blog!!   :001_tt1:  :001_tt1:  :001_tt1:  

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I think I'm re-realizing that when I think about life in terms of cost per sq ft, I just need to analyze some things differently.  You're right, I probably should not be planning to pass down some things. It's more important to be able to fit into a smaller home than it is to hold on to homeschooling books over the 12+ years age span of my kids.

 

I'm going to see if I can do a shelf/grade level thing.  My Billy bookcases have 6 shelves each; 2 bookcases should be totally doable in addition to my Trofast units....

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We live in a HCOL state and so our house is smallish I feel (1300 Sq ft) for 5 of us (once 7 of us before the big boys left home). Quite honestly you could tell we homeschool upon entering our house. We have bookshelves in every room and materials in most rooms. We have a 9 cubicle bookshelf that I use for our day to day work. Each child has one cube for their workbooks and books. We tab pages with sticky tabs. I have 2 cubes for my teaching manuals and books and 2 shelves house our current books being used in history and geography. One shelf has a wicker basket with communal supplies (stapler, hole punch, tape etc) and one bin has craft supplies and set paper. We have a small book shelf that sirs adjacent with bins of math manipulatives and Crayola art cases. On top I have various short canisters with sorted pencils, pens, paint brushes etc. Across the room by our window is a tall bookcase with readers, other history fiction, science nin fiction readers and so forth we like to have close by. That shelf also has our other art supplies like pastels, chalks, paints, watercolor pencils etc. Sitting next to that is a tiered drawer where we keep scissors, glue, extra pencils and the like. We have a side of the couch container with lapdesks, lap dry erase boards and dry erase markers.

 

That was just our living room! It is actually organized and made to look purposeful and decorative but still, pretty obvious we homeschool ;)

 

Our dining room houses a huge dry erase board and maps on the wall with a shelf that holds our electric pencil sharpener and laminator. Our house has 4 bedrooms and we moved our boys into one of the bigger rooms together and use the 4th smallest bedroom for 4 bookshelves, our computer and desk, a television and dvd player for dvd based lessons and a shelf for our experiment kits, geography puzzles and educational games.

 

I dream of moving out to a place with L COL on an acre of land with ample space. Our jobs dictate where we live unfortunately but one can dream :)

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