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Runningmom80

creating an inviting and useful homeschool space (ETA Pics)

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I've never had a "homeschool room" before, we simply stored everything in the dining room and did school either at the table or around the house.  We moved over the summer, and we now have a sunroom off of the living room that we want to use to house our homeschool stuff and also be kind of a creative studio/computer room/library. (It's not a large room so this is a tall order! lol)

I have a ton of "homeschool rooms" pinned, from my days of fantasizing of when we would have the space, but they are all for a lower elementary set, usually with all of the nature items and natural baskets. You know, the Instagram worthy set ups. I don't think that will really work in our real life. 

I would love some words of wisdom for those of you who have created inviting spaces for your kids. I really don't want to set it up like a classroom, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what will be the most useful.  

My kids are 11 1/2 and then 8 year old twins.  Two of the kids are 2e so the space REALLY needs to be calming and comfortable. I guess I'm just looking for examples or any advice as far as desks, tables, comfy couches, etc. 

 

TIA!

 

ETA: Here are pics of the room. (I'm in the middle of a giant reorganization and this is the middle of it, hence the "recent tornado" look.)  The one book case is a built in so obviously has to say. The second hutch is moveable, but we really like it in there. The white dresser is for sale and the table I just bought second hand and now I'm feeling like we might want a long desk against the wall instead. I can't decide! 

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Edited by Runningmom80
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Maybe a table, instead of desks. A pedestal table has a homey (less school-y) look and could be tucked up in a smaller corner, if needed. Like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Donny-Osmond-Home-Florence-Collection/dp/B01N2P99FQ/ref=asc_df_B01N2P99FQ/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=241997481292&hvpos=1o10&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4254217334162053450&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009619&hvtargid=pla-407039784863&psc=1

Do you need a full couch (for side-by-side work) or just a cushy place for a couple of kids (at a time) to sit and read?  I'd maybe do a couple of squishy arm chairs with a little table/lamp between them. Maybe a pair of small swivel rockershttps://www.wayfair.com/baby-kids/pdp/babyletto-madison-swivel-glider-mir1128.html (this rocker is kind of ugly but is tiny and inexpensive, lol).

And a bookshelf! Of course you need that!

(These ideas may not be what you're looking for; I might've gotten carried away imagining for myself, haha.)

Edited by alisoncooks
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We have a few 2E kids in the mix.  A few thoughts: stick with stuff all in one finish color (all natural birch wood or all white) for a unified look in a small place.  We had desks when we had a large schoolroom.  Now that we have a Harry Potter closet sized school room, we've moved to a table from IKEA. We really only have room for a table, a couple of filing cabinets (which house the printer and other supplies on top), a couple of IKEA Trofast systems (numbered work boxes for my ADD kids), and a couple of bookcases.

If I were starting from scratch, I think I would do a white kallax system with bins on the bottom to hold cluttery things and books elsewhere, a simple table & chairs over a nice rug (if it's not carpeted), and a few pieces of nice artwork.   I'd add lots of natural plants and beautiful things.

If we had a slightly larger space, I'd do something like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/52002570672114536/ (minus the globes on the table).

 

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We found an inexpensive IKEA sofa/futon on FB Marketplace that will eventually go in our school/bonus room space. It works well with our existing kallax shelves and tables. We also got a big rug, a bunch of pillows and two IKEA Poang chairs w/ottomans. (also thrifted from FB Marketplace) My big kids like using these items so far, even if they’re more spread out in our current house than they will eventually be.

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I realized my kid did better with less, so our homeschool room has a table, an open bookcase, and 3 closed ones.  It's all warm wood.  There's a caddy on top of one bookcase for daily needed supplies (pencils, pens, markers, scissors, paper..) and a printer next to it.

Visual clutter is very distracting so we eliminated as much as possible.  The natural honey colored wood is inviting, and the bare surfaces invite projects and exploration.  We didn't need to have it all out in the open.

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3 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

Maybe a table, instead of desks. A pedestal table has a homey (less school-y) look and could be tucked up in a smaller corner, if needed. Like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Donny-Osmond-Home-Florence-Collection/dp/B01N2P99FQ/ref=asc_df_B01N2P99FQ/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=241997481292&hvpos=1o10&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4254217334162053450&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009619&hvtargid=pla-407039784863&psc=1

Do you need a full couch (for side-by-side work) or just a cushy place for a couple of kids (at a time) to sit and read?  I'd maybe do a couple of squishy arm chairs with a little table/lamp between them. Maybe a pair of small swivel rockershttps://www.wayfair.com/baby-kids/pdp/babyletto-madison-swivel-glider-mir1128.html (this rocker is kind of ugly but is tiny and inexpensive, lol).

And a bookshelf! Of course you need that!

(These ideas may not be what you're looking for; I might've gotten carried away imagining for myself, haha.)

 

Ha! It's fun to plan imaginary rooms, it's harder when I have to put my money where my mouth is. ?

 

I would like a couch, or rather, I'd like to repurpose our current couch and buy a new one for our living room.  lol!

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I love our open bookshelves and giant world map. I love our giant table with comfortable chairs. It doubles as individual desks because the design of the table has visual separations, but it's still one giant table. I love our cabinets that are stocked with art and construction supplies that don't look good out on display.

I used to have a cart on wheels but it was always messy so we use a pretty, wooden box now. I used to keep my art utensils in different alcoholic glasses but the baby learned to climb at about 8 months.

I want a 2 sided whiteboard on wheels but don't have the room or money.

 

If I had a sunroom (my dream) I would have crystals and hanging plants in the windows, various places to sit for different moods, whiteboards as closet doors and, if I had the money, a tatami floor with storage. Lots of wood and natural materials. No metal.

Edited by Slache
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2 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

We have a few 2E kids in the mix.  A few thoughts: stick with stuff all in one finish color (all natural birch wood or all white) for a unified look in a small place.  We had desks when we had a large schoolroom.  Now that we have a Harry Potter closet sized school room, we've moved to a table from IKEA. We really only have room for a table, a couple of filing cabinets (which house the printer and other supplies on top), a couple of IKEA Trofast systems (numbered work boxes for my ADD kids), and a couple of bookcases.

If I were starting from scratch, I think I would do a white kallax system with bins on the bottom to hold cluttery things and books elsewhere, a simple table & chairs over a nice rug (if it's not carpeted), and a few pieces of nice artwork.   I'd add lots of natural plants and beautiful things.

If we had a slightly larger space, I'd do something like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/52002570672114536/ (minus the globes on the table).

 

 

I love that space you shared!  I keep going back and forth with one table or desks along the wall.  I'm going to post a pic of the room, (IT IS A MESS) and see what you all think. 

 

I agree with keeping things simple and not distracting!

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12 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I realized my kid did better with less, so our homeschool room has a table, an open bookcase, and 3 closed ones.  It's all warm wood.  There's a caddy on top of one bookcase for daily needed supplies (pencils, pens, markers, scissors, paper..) and a printer next to it.

Visual clutter is very distracting so we eliminated as much as possible.  The natural honey colored wood is inviting, and the bare surfaces invite projects and exploration.  We didn't need to have it all out in the open.

 

yes!  I totally agree. Right now the room is the very definition of cluttered! 

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We went from the kitchen table with a bookcase to an extra bedroom when we moved as well.

I would say that my favorite thing has been these desks. They are perfect for our needs. 

Also: Floor to Ceiling bookcases for curriculum, converted a closet into a homeschool supply closet with lots of shelves, comfortable chairs that they can spin in, a table for projects so they can stay out until completed, a view of outdoors.

We are also flexible and have times where they can school on the couch or floor. I want to do an outdoor classroom, maybe I should start another thread for ideas for an outdoor classroom.

 

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11 minutes ago, RenaInTexas said:

We went from the kitchen table with a bookcase to an extra bedroom when we moved as well.

I would say that my favorite thing has been these desks. They are perfect for our needs. 

Also: Floor to Ceiling bookcases for curriculum, converted a closet into a homeschool supply closet with lots of shelves, comfortable chairs that they can spin in, a table for projects so they can stay out until completed, a view of outdoors.

We are also flexible and have times where they can school on the couch or floor. I want to do an outdoor classroom, maybe I should start another thread for ideas for an outdoor classroom.

 

 

Those desks are awesome!!

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2 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

What beautiful light in that room and I love the built in bookcase!

 

Thank you!  

 

I love the light, I'm hoping it sustains us through our Midwest winters. ?

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What do you functionally need?

If you need more book storage, I'd look for similarly dark bookcases, like these: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10371712/#/20371764

If I were you, I'd buy:

*a warm rug for the floor (classic turkish carpet style) for the center of the room

*a rectangular or large round pedestal table and chairs to center over the rug in the center of the room 

*a leather or upholstered comfy chair for the corner, probably left side as you look at the photo

* Hemnes bookcase or Kallax system in brown-black https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20305745/#/10275862if you need more shelving. I would style the bookcase with a lot of wicker bins to keep it calm and natural feeling if I had the budget, the white Drona boxes ($3.99) if I didn't. Your kids are old enough that you could probably style some things in mason jar like things (paint brushes in old pasta jars, etc.).

If you need to hang curtains for warmth, I would hang them very high and very wide....like 4-6" below that ceiling molding. The IKEA Merete curtains come in 98" and 118" height for a reasonable price as I'm guessing you'll need super tall curtains.  It will add a softness to the room that is lacking right now. I'd choose white, fwiw. It will blend in with the wall and add to that natural feeling.  Odds are, though, that you can go curtain less if you have good caulking around the window exterior.

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If you're short on space, I think you could skip the upholstered chair. It looks like couches are handy enough the next room over. I'd add a tall green plant instead....and if you have a black thumb, the fake bamboo plants at IKEA work perfectly. ?

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8 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

What do you functionally need?

If you need more book storage, I'd look for similarly dark bookcases, like these: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10371712/#/20371764

If I were you, I'd buy:

*a warm rug for the floor (classic turkish carpet style) for the center of the room

*a rectangular or large round pedestal table and chairs to center over the rug in the center of the room 

*a leather or upholstered comfy chair for the corner, probably left side as you look at the photo

* Hemnes bookcase or Kallax system in brown-black https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20305745/#/10275862if you need more shelving. I would style the bookcase with a lot of wicker bins to keep it calm and natural feeling if I had the budget, the white Drona boxes ($3.99) if I didn't. Your kids are old enough that you could probably style some things in mason jar like things (paint brushes in old pasta jars, etc.).

If you need to hang curtains for warmth, I would hang them very high and very wide....like 4-6" below that ceiling molding. The IKEA Merete curtains come in 98" and 118" height for a reasonable price as I'm guessing you'll need super tall curtains.  It will add a softness to the room that is lacking right now. I'd choose white, fwiw. It will blend in with the wall and add to that natural feeling.  Odds are, though, that you can go curtain less if you have good caulking around the window exterior.

 

Thank you!

I'm on the fence about the table.  I don't know how much we would use it, the only thing I can think of is for science experiments. however, I do own this exact table so maybe I should just keep it. 

 

It's funny, I had all these ideas, and now that I can actually implement them, I'm frozen with indecision! lol

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2 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

If you're short on space, I think you could skip the upholstered chair. It looks like couches are handy enough the next room over. I'd add a tall green plant instead....and if you have a black thumb, the fake bamboo plants at IKEA work perfectly. ?

 

This is a good point.  I'd like to get a sectional for our living room actually so maybe we don't need a couch in this room. 

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I think the long desk thing could work for the space you have if you want to go that route.  I totally understand the indecision that occurs when you actually have the option to do something.  If you go the long desk route, I would skip the rug, but add back the chair for balance.

Where do YOU sit when your kids are working quietly but need you at elbow?

Where do you keep your printer?

Where do you keep supplies (stapler, tape, glue, rulers, colored pencils, art supplies, etc.)?

Are you planning on homeschooling through high school? Where are you going to keep the serious science supplies that will be needed? This year I have three shoeboxes of chemicals, a lab burner, beakers and a rack of test tubes that are in weekly use.  My microscope, slides, and petri dishes, etc. from biology two years ago are still hanging around waiting for the next kid in the lineup. That kid, the next in the lineup has a bazillion rock samples that are being handed down.  His younger sister had electronics, magnets, mirrors, and a ton of other random stuff from her lineup that are in storage for a few years.  When in doubt, plan for storing more stuff. Some of the science stuff is just too pricey to sell and rebuy.

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18 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I think the long desk thing could work for the space you have if you want to go that route.  I totally understand the indecision that occurs when you actually have the option to do something.  If you go the long desk route, I would skip the rug, but add back the chair for balance.

Where do YOU sit when your kids are working quietly but need you at elbow?

Where do you keep your printer?

Where do you keep supplies (stapler, tape, glue, rulers, colored pencils, art supplies, etc.)?

Are you planning on homeschooling through high school? Where are you going to keep the serious science supplies that will be needed? This year I have three shoeboxes of chemicals, a lab burner, beakers and a rack of test tubes that are in weekly use.  My microscope, slides, and petri dishes, etc. from biology two years ago are still hanging around waiting for the next kid in the lineup. That kid, the next in the lineup has a bazillion rock samples that are being handed down.  His younger sister had electronics, magnets, mirrors, and a ton of other random stuff from her lineup that are in storage for a few years.  When in doubt, plan for storing more stuff. Some of the science stuff is just too pricey to sell and rebuy.

 

I didn't plan any of this! ?

In all seriousness, I'm not sure.  I think my oldest will probably HS all the way through and my twins will probably transition to high school, but that still means I'll have them for another 6~ish years. 

My husband works from home so the printer is in his office, although it would actually do the most good down in the homeschool room.  Supplies are all in the smaller hutch. Well mostly in there, some are strewn about as you can see.

Another conundrum I have is what to keep in the homeschool room and what to store in the basement.  I'm not sure that I need every curriculum book at the ready.  I'm considering getting some rubbermaids and storing things the twins aren't using yet in the basement. Otherwise the room is going to become overwhelmed really quickly.  

There's also the question of the books I'm hoarding, but those will never all fit in there so that's a topic for another day I suppose.

This has been really helpful because I've been able to better articulate how I want the space to function, and you're right, the more storage the better.

I think my main sticking point is figuring out the desk vs table situation.  I'll have to decide about the computer and the printer because that will definitely necessitate a long desk against the wall.  

ETA: I see your point about where would I sit while they are working at desks. That's definitely something to consider.

Edited by Runningmom80
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I miss my basement. ?  Yeah, if you could swap out and just have the current year's materials, that would be awesome.  Our last two houses haven't had basements (high water tables) and it makes life WAY more complicated.

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1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I miss my basement. ?  Yeah, if you could swap out and just have the current year's materials, that would be awesome.  Our last two houses haven't had basements (high water tables) and it makes life WAY more complicated.

 

that's a real bummer.  I love being able to hide stuff away. The only problem is forgetting what is down there! 

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Just me, I'd keep the white dresser (pic 1) and toss the cab in pic 3. The cab in pic 2 I would use for beautiful things like art projects, science models you build, volcanoes, etc. We seem to have a lot of those, or at least dd made a lot, lol. Even ds has clothespin bats and things to keep. :biggrin:

I'd probably put the big white dresser in the middle of the room as a divider and see what happens. I don't know what you mean by computer room, as now every device has wifi and works anywhere. Maybe change your tech? $300 for a chromebook and you no longer need a computer room. That table is lovely, and I would put it in a corner by the windows to make it your main work with mom deliciousness area. Keep the primo working area, the spot in the room where *you* most like to be, as *your* work space. I agree with putting down rugs and creating other types of spaces. You could flank the couch (you own? want?) with that dresser in the middle of the room, facing it toward the doors. Now you've created two areas, a work with mom area and a work independently area. I would hang whiteboards, cork boards, whatever inspires you. You have enough wall there for a really tremendous whiteboard. I would apply a soft, pleasing tone to the walls.

If the pedestal table isn't screaming to you as it is, try putting a quilted tablecloth on it. I did that with a table and it was really nice. With the hardwood, you'll need to be cautious about your chairs. Rolling is going to destroy the wood's finish, ugh. You can put down clear office mats or use I don't know what. I'd definitely put in some kind of corduroy foam, fall into it kind of chair. All that light is really conducive to lounging and reading, mercy.

It's gonna be gorgeous.

Adding: I try to google school room organization each year for my ds' new grade, and that gives me lots of ideas for how people are organizing working areas. Really, school rooms now are trying really hard to replicate home, hehe. You'll get lots of ideas by googling 3rd grade school room, 6th grade school room, etc.

Here, these are pics from a while back. As you can see, I like the table in the corner for teaching and I'm nutso for whiteboards, lol.

School room 2018

 

School room 2018

 

Edited by PeterPan
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4 hours ago, Runningmom80 said:

I think my main sticking point is figuring out the desk vs table situation.

 

I had the same struggle when we moved. The rectangular desks that I linked earlier ended up being my answer. We bought 4 of them and we have arranged them so that they form a large rectangle. Dh and I sit on one side and the boys on the other side. So, in essence, the four desk also function as one large table. Giving us all our own personal space, while at the same time connecting us for our lessons. So if you can find rectangular desks that you like, you could probably do something similar. In the future, if the large table concept no longer works, we can simply move the desks apart.

We do have an additional small table on one side of our room that we use for projects that will take multiple days to complete.

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When my oldest hit high school, his work mattered more than it had before. We would have to create a transcript with grades and he took outside classes where those grades were also put on the transcript.  He started taking his classes very seriously.

But his 6th grade little brother didn’t take it seriously.  He would try to distract his older brother because he thought it was funny.  He would make noises and be silly, not understanding that there’s a leap between 8th and 9th grade and the work gets harder and requires more concentration.

It was vital for my oldest to have his own desk across the room from his little brother.  And his books were bigger, too.  He had a hefty math text that took up space, and he needed room for papers with the hefty book. So, he needed the space that would have infringed on his brother’s space, if they were working at the same table.

So if you need to think ahead, consider that you might want an option where the surfaces can be together or separate.  Perhaps small desks that can be arranged in a square in the center of the room...or can be broken off into separate corners if necessary.

Edited by Garga
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10 hours ago, Garga said:

When my oldest hit high school, his work mattered more than it had before. We would have to create a transcript with grades and he took outside classes where those grades were also put on the transcript.  He started taking his classes very seriously.

But his 6th grade little brother didn’t take it seriously.  He would try to distract his older brother because he thought it was funny.  He would make noises and be silly, not understanding that there’s a leap between 8th and 9th grade and the work gets harder and requires more concentration.

It was vital for my oldest to have his own desk across the room from his little brother.  And his books were bigger, too.  He had a hefty math text that took up space, and he needed room for papers with the hefty book. So, he needed the space that would have infringed on his brother’s space, if they were working at the same table.

So if you need to think ahead, consider that you might want an option where the surfaces can be together or separate.  Perhaps small desks that can be arranged in a square in the center of the room...or can be broken off into separate corners if necessary.

 

Yes I worry about this aspect too. Although my oldest does have a desk in his bedroom for now if it’s necessary. 

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I haven't had the opportunity to read all of the responses, but my suggestion would be to create a reading nook/private space by using 6 block cubby/cubes or freestanding bookshelves as a divider similar to these.  You could fill the space with books or baskets. .https://www.hayneedle.com/product/belhamliving6cubebookcasegray.cfm?source=pla&kwid=Bookcases iprefer&tid=STIP003-1&adtype=pla&kw=&lsft=adtype:pla&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgtyI5bD03AIVFeDICh1sCQdaEAQYBSABEgKgaPD_BwE

That would allow some separation and private quiet space.

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We have a very large, odd-shaped room that we use as the playroom (as the kids age, its also got exercise stuff) and school room - the previous homeowners finished the upstairs as one giant room with jut-outs, sections with sloped ceiling, and a weird raised area where the foyer has a higher ceiling downstairs.  I wanted one of those ikea systems that mounts on the wall and decided to wait until we were settled.  Over the 6 years we've been in this house, I've decided that our 'repurpose assorted castoffs' system is a much better fit because I can change things every 6 months or year as our needs change.  At times, I've put the kids far apart from each other.  Usually I have one desk on either side of me - I sit in the comfy padded glider that I used to rock my babies.  The kids go through phases of using their desks or using them as a place to stack their books while they work elsewhere.  Right now, one kid has a giant lidded basket, originally gotten to hold blankets, to hold his books while the other has little plastic bins that fit on a shelf on her desk to keep everything stacked.  The only other permanent fixture upstairs is several bookcases and cubbies.  The big ikea bookcase is purple, the wal-mart ones are white, and the cubbies are maple.

Other features that have cycled around and are sometimes used for school, and other times migrate to the 'play' or 'storage' part of the upstairs:  An old futon for when they want to sit on the couch, an old mattress covered with just a fitted sheet and a bunch of pillows, sitting on a cheap platform frame - great for guests and also a place to lounge and read, an old small kitchen cart - useful for when somebody prefers a stand-up desk, a low table (coffee table height, acquired when a clothing store that had used it for display closed) - often used for crafts or puzzles by somebody sitting on the floor, assorted systems on the wall or side of bookcase for hanging things - we've got a hanger that maps and such can slide in and out of, we've used small corkboards, and we just mounted some metal sheets on the side of a bookcase to use with magnets, an old small kitchen table (from before we realized that my kids need to be separated), an old padded mat that was used to lay babies on, now a soft place for sitting on the floor, and an exercise ball, which is used when a desk chair gets uncomfortable. 

I move things around to fix whatever problems arise.  This year required minimal shifting around, but the small moves that we did make meant that one desk got a lot less natural light, so by day 3 we had gotten a floor lamp.  Our room is not color-coordinated pinterest perfect, but we all look forward to the end-of-semester assessment when we look at what we've got, ask 'is it working for us?', and then rearrange furniture, restock supplies, and look for solutions to anything that isn't working with the current situation.  

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For workspace, my kids have a 6ft collapsible picnic table and two 2ft foldable table. All three tables are closed and tuck against a wall if they temporarily need a space bigger than the 6ft table.

2ft https://www.target.com/p/personal-folding-table-almond-lifetime-174/-/A-717372

6ft https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sandusky-White-Folding-Table-FPT7230/206486059

 

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We moved to a home with an extra room for homeschool after not having one for 3 years at the old house.

What I did for the first year is just use what I had. An old desk, a small couch, ottomans, 1 bookcase, and a dinky dry erase board. We just used that for 2 school years, actually. During those 2 years, we added a big cork board to display artwork and a piano for lessons. This year I knew exactly what I needed after working in the space for so long. A computer desk and printer in one corner, a little desk and activity bin for the toddler in another corner, 2 desks and 2 cubby systems for the school aged kids, 2 bookcases for all the books, and the little couch for lounging and reading. Ottomans... gone. Curriculum not in current use... in a Rubbermaid tote in the basement. Dinky dry erase board...replaced with a giant dry erase board.

I would organize everything with the furniture you have and if there is still a lot of things without a spot, get a bookcase or cabinet, whichever you need for the types of things you have. 

Then try the table in the middle for a while. If you're not using it like that much, move it against a wall and set it up like a desk and see if you get more use out of it that way. That will also give you an idea of what type of desk(s) you want. 

I totally understand indecision when you've got to invest some $$ and you're not sure what you actually need.

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20 hours ago, RenaInTexas said:

We went from the kitchen table with a bookcase to an extra bedroom when we moved as well.

I would say that my favorite thing has been these desks. They are perfect for our needs. 

Also: Floor to Ceiling bookcases for curriculum, converted a closet into a homeschool supply closet with lots of shelves, comfortable chairs that they can spin in, a table for projects so they can stay out until completed, a view of outdoors.

We are also flexible and have times where they can school on the couch or floor. I want to do an outdoor classroom, maybe I should start another thread for ideas for an outdoor classroom.

 

Yes! I would love to talk about outdoor classroom ideas!

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Some Ideas:

  • A nice wooden table at one end, with office chairs that adjust up and down, so they can be the right height for the students. The right height helps with eye strain.
  • Another table at the other end to hold the current science or art project
  • A book shelf with a shelf for each student, and another shelf or so for reference or educational books
  • A green plant or so
  • A wall map and a few educational charts
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15 hours ago, RenaInTexas said:

We bought 4 of them and we have arranged them so that they form a large rectangle.

The best part about this is that you can rearrange them into new configurations each year! 

5 minutes ago, MrsRobinson said:

I totally understand indecision when you've got to invest some $$ and you're not sure what you actually need.

Another thought is to google for layout software. I think this is the one I use. http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/  I'm only teaching one, and I usually rearrange each year to work with where he is developmentally and what kind of work we're doing. I take one room (a bedroom as you saw in the pics, smaller than your sunroom) and I try to create 4-6 work areas, places that are distinct. With a room the size of yours, I thin you can get it up even higher! So with the software you can think about FUNCTION, think about what pieces of furniture would facilitate that FUNCTION, and then rearrange and play with how it could look.

For instance, a function might be cozy places to read. And you might have together reading and independent reading, but you know from their work lists that they need places to do that, meaning you want multiple areas that are conducive to that, depending on how many kids will be doing that at the same time. And you probably have a together teaching area and you probably want independent work areas. And you might even do like a regular classroom and let independent work areas rotate, with some being nooks for privacy and some being in the common area, where they can work if they're able to work without being distracted. So maybe you have 3 work areas in the common area but a 4th one that is uber private, created by the way you arrange the furniture, so if a dc needs some separation for a while they can have it but still be with you. I personally would be cautious about the in bedroom thing. It will need check-ins. Me, I'd rather have in-kitchen, in somewhere else in the house that is still not lost in legoland, dreamland, pinterest land...

With the software, you can try out different kinds of furniture, resize pieces to match what you've got, add rugs, everything. It's fun. :biggrin:

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21 hours ago, RenaInTexas said:

I want to do an outdoor classroom, maybe I should start another thread for ideas for an outdoor classroom.

When my dd was young, we would set up a tent and do our work in there. It was a way to be defined, not just floating all over. As she got older, we took out picnic blankets, lawn chairs. She'd run around while we did grammar aloud, etc.

Come to think of it, I've never tried to do that with ds, hmm. He needs the control of a room with a door so it connects in his brain that we're there to work. A tent could work for that though. Just depends on where the dc is developmentally and what they need. When he started ABA several years ago, they worked in dd's playhouse. He needed the division between work, play, and break, even in such a small space. So functions, what you need to do in the space, what kind of set-up would facilitate those functions, that's what it goes back to, at least for me.

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11 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The best part about this is that you can rearrange them into new configurations each year! 

Another thought is to google for layout software. I think this is the one I use. http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/  I'm only teaching one, and I usually rearrange each year to work with where he is developmentally and what kind of work we're doing. I take one room (a bedroom as you saw in the pics, smaller than your sunroom) and I try to create 4-6 work areas, places that are distinct. With a room the size of yours, I thin you can get it up even higher! So with the software you can think about FUNCTION, think about what pieces of furniture would facilitate that FUNCTION, and then rearrange and play with how it could look.

For instance, a function might be cozy places to read. And you might have together reading and independent reading, but you know from their work lists that they need places to do that, meaning you want multiple areas that are conducive to that, depending on how many kids will be doing that at the same time. And you probably have a together teaching area and you probably want independent work areas. And you might even do like a regular classroom and let independent work areas rotate, with some being nooks for privacy and some being in the common area, where they can work if they're able to work without being distracted. So maybe you have 3 work areas in the common area but a 4th one that is uber private, created by the way you arrange the furniture, so if a dc needs some separation for a while they can have it but still be with you. I personally would be cautious about the in bedroom thing. It will need check-ins. Me, I'd rather have in-kitchen, in somewhere else in the house that is still not lost in legoland, dreamland, pinterest land...

With the software, you can try out different kinds of furniture, resize pieces to match what you've got, add rugs, everything. It's fun. :biggrin:

 

This is a great idea, I'm nervous I will be on it for hours. I'm going to have to set a timer. ? I probably need it for other rooms in the house too. Thanks for the suggestion! 

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26 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

I'd maybe get two desks like this:

https://www.wayfair.com/furniture/pdp/ermont-writing-desk-lrfy1910.html

and put them end to end against the longest wall. If you look at the reviews, there's a picture where someone did that to make 2 workspaces. 

 

I love these!  (And I love when people post pics in real houses. Mostly they sell it more than the highly stylized pics of the item!)

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Have you looked at things with adjustable legs? Staples, wayfair, etc. sell tables with adjustable legs. I've done things like creating an island with two tables, one up and one adjusted lower. Your youngers might like having that variety. You could have one table raised up to where you sit on bar stools (cheap, cute) and the other side adjusted lower. Then your pedestal table could be in the corner for together work. Then when you want to do big group projects you could adjust both tables to the same height. And if you want to rearrange, you could use dividers on the table and have two nice work stations. 

Walmart right now has some cute personal desk size tables in their folding tables section. I eye them every time I go by because they're so pretty, lol. Some have a plastic look top and it's smooth. Some folding tables have a plastic top that is nubby, which is awful for doing math and writing, lol. But yeah, Walmart, adjustable. 

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On 8/16/2018 at 5:06 PM, Runningmom80 said:

Another conundrum I have is what to keep in the homeschool room and what to store in the basement.  I'm not sure that I need every curriculum book at the ready.  I'm considering getting some rubbermaids and storing things the twins aren't using yet in the basement. Otherwise the room is going to become overwhelmed really quickly.  

There's also the question of the books I'm hoarding, but those will never all fit in there so that's a topic for another day I suppose.

This has been really helpful because I've been able to better articulate how I want the space to function, and you're right, the more storage the better.

2

I have an office in my new house where I plan to store the things that are not for daily use. I sort things every year, and I do forget a few, but I try to keep things in clear bins when I can, and when I can't, I try to take pictures of resources with the spines out before I put them away. I also try to store history and science extras by subject vs. by grade. I think it's easier to remember that way.

I also have a one-foot-out-the-door area--I try to put things aside that we're probably not going to use, and if they don't get used after a certain amount of time, they go. I also have kind of a last-chance policy too--I put things aside that I want to use, but I know are not going to be relevant if we don't use them soon (kid gets too old, we'll not have time due to something we're adding to the schedule, etc.). 

I sort my hoarded novels and put them out for free reading on their own bookcase. They get used or not used, but they don't get mixed in with "official" books. I do put out some browsing and non-fiction books too. 

On 8/16/2018 at 6:39 PM, Runningmom80 said:

I love being able to hide stuff away. The only problem is forgetting what is down there! 

 

Pictures! Or you could photocopy covers and put them in a binder while you pack up the physical books to the basement.

I learned that having a one-stop-shopping homeschool area is a one-stop-shopping mess, but that applies to STORAGE, not to having a designated area for doing the actual work. We do like having a homeschool area in terms of physical space. Ditto for home management stuff as well. If I piece out my organization to several smaller structures (plus the office for things we aren't using this year), I have several small and less intimidating messes day-to-day, and I actually feel like it's easier to clean up. For instance, I have a small desk for my calendar, phone charger, purse, etc., and then I have a small IKEA piece (Besta, I think) that has a door, two drawers, a small open area for a basket, and then just a small surface on top. The are on opposite sides of a large double doorway (no doors, just a transition). It has different organizational and office stuff from the desk. Those things are in the dining room, but I can use either of those pieces while still viewing the entire school area. They are just steps away. The school (very next room over--quite open) will have it's own little nook for school-specific supplies (and then a small bookcase of some sort). Finally, in a third room, we have a tall, slim Besta cabinet that has art supplies in the bottom and "probably this year but not right now" books and reference materials. 

I haven't worked out all the details, but I have found that as I started splitting up my organization between a couple of (near to each other) rooms, it felt less cluttered, less overwhelming, and like the tidying tasks were very minimal, so we are going to try that for school vs. having one big set of bookcases/desks where everything goes together.

I LOVE your built-in bookcase. I also love that it's tucked away when you walk into the room. I very much dislike open shelves in my home (doesn't bother me at someone else's house), so doors plus not seeing them as you walk in is calming to me. 

 

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When I was using our very large room that I had intended as a homeschool room, I kept all my schooling stuff in there. The op's room is large enough, she might be able to get away with that, depending on how much she has. If she has a lot, I would build shelves running the length of the long wall, boom, tons of storage. It was probably 15+ feet, right? That would hold a ton. And what I did on my long shelves like that was to use milk crates to create some division and hold things for a subject or category like independent work, teacher's manuals, etc. for our current year work. Everything I wasn't using at that time went behind doors. 

Now with ds I'm using a smaller room for containment and the psychology of it, and there's minimal room for storage. Well you saw the pics, lol. I only store things in there I'm definitely, definitely using, and as soon as I stop using it I TAKE IT OUT. To make that secondary storage location work, the key is organization. Make your holdings tight, organized, so when you go to that shelf you'll see your choices even if you would have forgotten you own them. 

Me personally, I have all my stuff through 6th-ish done by subject and then at that switch to high school level materials I have them together. So I have a shelf of elementary science, a shelf of elementary LA (well two, haha), etc. All my books for each time period have their own long shelves on the wall shelving. Then for high school, I have shelves by category (math/science, LA, BJU, etc.).

I *like* having the separate storage space, because it lets me be very focused in my mind about what we're using and what we're not. Is your basement dry? Would it be in an open area where you could see it and have stuff out or tucked away in boxes? You might try clear bins if you must do closed storage. Or maybe get shelving and hang fabric over them to keep out the bugs. (Part of my basement is live-in and part is storage, and the storage part gets cobwebs, etc.)

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We have had a "homeschool room" for about five years now, ever since we moved into this house. When we moved in, the room we chose was already nicely painted (tan), so we just left it that way. We also had a somewhat middle elementary look to the room -- charts, maps, workbox drawers, and so on -- but after five years, it was time for a change. 

This summer, I emptied, cleaned, and painted the room. I had read that painting a room a pale yellow helps with concentration. I could use all the help I can get with that, and our winters here (NJ) are long and gray. So I painted the ceiling and window trim a nice, bright white and the walls a sunny yellow. It turned out to be a bit brighter than I had envisioned it, but we all love it now. 

In addition to a good overhaul with the cleaning and painting, I took out everything that we will not use for this year, except for our history bookshelves and our science bookshelves. But everything else has to justify its presence in this room! My homeschool storage space is on very sturdy (homemade) shelving in the (very dry) basement. I keep all of our work, all of it, and always have, so it just goes in a Home Depot box, gets labelled with the year(s), and stored down on the shelves. Materials that we will use again (or later) are also stored in the basement. It would drive me to distraction to have it "all" in the homeschool room. I have a hard time with focusing, so less is more for me.

Also, with the make-over, I wanted an older, more "mature" look to the room, with less stuff hung up on the walls and just an overall more "living room" feeling. We have a nice, cushy recliner and carpet in one corner. I sewed some floral valences to dress up the windows, and softened them with lace panels behind the valences. Most of the walls are basic bookshelves (be sure to anchor them!) full of books and bins. We have four sturdy work tables in the center of the room, one for each of us. This allows each student to accomplish her own grade-level work, but since we do so many of our content subjects as a group, it's nice to be able to have that "rectangular table" discussion. There is one computer at another table, a few lamps, a few CD players, a fireplace we have never used, LOL.... some other stuff that I'm too lazy to turn around and see....

It's nice because this room is right next to a bathroom (convenient and quick!), just upstairs from the laundry room (making switch-outs convenient and quick), and near the kitchen (making lunch and supper prep easy to do while still keeping an eye on things). We have another computer at the other end of the house that the girls use for French, typing practice, and composition, but it's locked out for internet access when no one can supervise them there.

I will try to post some photos later. At the moment, my camera battery is dead, which means the kids have been using my camera... 

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1 hour ago, Sahamamama2 said:

We have had a "homeschool room" for about five years now, ever since we moved into this house. When we moved in, the room we chose was already nicely painted (tan), so we just left it that way. We also had a somewhat middle elementary look to the room -- charts, maps, workbox drawers, and so on -- but after five years, it was time for a change. 

This summer, I emptied, cleaned, and painted the room. I had read that painting a room a pale yellow helps with concentration. I could use all the help I can get with that, and our winters here (NJ) are long and gray. So I painted the ceiling and window trim a nice, bright white and the walls a sunny yellow. It turned out to be a bit brighter than I had envisioned it, but we all love it now. 

In addition to a good overhaul with the cleaning and painting, I took out everything that we will not use for this year, except for our history bookshelves and our science bookshelves. But everything else has to justify its presence in this room! My homeschool storage space is on very sturdy (homemade) shelving in the (very dry) basement. I keep all of our work, all of it, and always have, so it just goes in a Home Depot box, gets labelled with the year(s), and stored down on the shelves. Materials that we will use again (or later) are also stored in the basement. It would drive me to distraction to have it "all" in the homeschool room. I have a hard time with focusing, so less is more for me.

Also, with the make-over, I wanted an older, more "mature" look to the room, with less stuff hung up on the walls and just an overall more "living room" feeling. We have a nice, cushy recliner and carpet in one corner. I sewed some floral valences to dress up the windows, and softened them with lace panels behind the valences. Most of the walls are basic bookshelves (be sure to anchor them!) full of books and bins. We have four sturdy work tables in the center of the room, one for each of us. This allows each student to accomplish her own grade-level work, but since we do so many of our content subjects as a group, it's nice to be able to have that "rectangular table" discussion. There is one computer at another table, a few lamps, a few CD players, a fireplace we have never used, LOL.... some other stuff that I'm too lazy to turn around and see....

It's nice because this room is right next to a bathroom (convenient and quick!), just upstairs from the laundry room (making switch-outs convenient and quick), and near the kitchen (making lunch and supper prep easy to do while still keeping an eye on things). We have another computer at the other end of the house that the girls use for French, typing practice, and composition, but it's locked out for internet access when no one can supervise them there.

I will try to post some photos later. At the moment, my camera battery is dead, which means the kids have been using my camera... 

Yellow is a tough wall color to choose from swatches... ask me how I know! Lol! 

Your room sounds lovely, I'd love to see pics!

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Thank you for your help everyone! Over the weekend the room got a complete overhaul, and I put our only couch and the tv in there too.  It's probably not going to make any sense to anyone but me, but the TV was really out of place in the living room and I decided to just make the sunroom the homeschool and tv room which sounds ridiculous but I've managed to make it work.  All of our "school" books for the year went into the built in, and I boxed up what we won't be using this year.  The novels will all go in the living room built ins (yet to be built! lol) right next door.

 

What it came down to was that I really couldn't picture us sitting around the table doing school very often.  My kids like to school all around the house and I didn't feel like it was going to get much use the way it was.  We'll try this and then if it doesn't work I'll move it back the way it was.  My kids are used to the TV being off all day so it shouldn't be a problem to have it in there. Shouldn't. lol

 

I'll post pics tomorrow. We all really love the room and I think that says a lot.

 

I appreciate everyone's help!  All of the advice helped me organize and really zone in on what we need.

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I'd probably build bookshelves to run along the solid wall, put a butcher bench full of lovely plants in front of the windows on the opposite side, put two comfortable chairs in the corners in front of the other set of windows, and put individual desks in the middle of the room. ETA: I googled butcher bench's for a link to a picture and that isn't what I meant. I meant a butcher bench like my mom's which was a real one used on a farm for years. It is a long wooden bench, counter height with wooden legs. It would look lovely in front of the windows, but I'm not sure what is selling today that would be similar.

 

Edited by Meriwether

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