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Meadowlark

Has anyone turned their basement into a homeschool space?

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I'm *really* hesitant to do this because we tried to make a bedroom down there a homeschool room, and it was an epic failure. So, lots of work, money and waste for nothing. Since then (8) years ago, we've been doing school upstairs at the kitchen table. It's obviously not ideal having the carts in the kitchen, but it's not too bad since it's a big space. But, there's no room at all for posters or a timeline or anything. I may (praying for discernment) pull my older 2 kids out of school and I think at that age, I should give them a desk and a space to spread out their stuff. But, our basement is kind of cold, and rather uninviting at the moment. We'd have to get new carpet and paint for sure. So in other words, another big investment. Plus, there's just an advantage to starting lunch up here, loading the dishwasher, etc. Would a basement homeschool room work? Tell me your success or failure.

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We have a schoolroom in the basement that we use half the year.  I actually have two rooms set up: one with a table, school supplies, bookcase, etc., and the other with stored books/supplies, the tv, and a smaller table.  I chose warm wood tones and white for the furniture and tend to keep a clean, tidy atmosphere.  However, it is nice because there is room for art projects, we can leave out science experiments, we have an area without too many distractions to help keep focus...

So why half the year?  By November, it is too cold.  Our basement is on a separate heating system that gets expensive to run.  If not for that it would be used all year.

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By the time my kids were the ages of your older ones, they preferred to just take any independent work to their rooms to do--they really didn't use a "school room" for anything. We have a livingroom adjacent to our kitchen where I did our together time in the mornings (Bible, history etc...) and also our one-on-one time each day. Science experiments were generally done in the kitchen, and then evening read-alouds were done in our upstairs family room. So--not exactly a "homeschool room" type of situation here! It's just not how our lives flowed. I might consider looking towards making the basement into a teen hang-out spot with game tables etc... though...

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I've done it twice, with very different results.

The first time was a "sunlight" basement that had teeny tiny windows (so no sunlight). It was only partially finished and while we put up bookshelves and a carpet, it wasn't inviting. I also had toddlers/babies.  It lasted a week...maybe.  it was dim and cold, and I needed to be able to multitask (watch littles out of the corner of my eye, feed snacks, do dishes, ect).  

The second time was a new split level home with a large room available off the backyard.  It had real windows, a sliding glass door, and good heating.  My kids were all 6 and over.  I wasnt miltitasking anymore, tbh, because teaching 6 kids was enough!!  I adore our school space now. 

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Do you have a living room/den on the main floor that you could move down to the basement? Basements are awesome for tv, games, cuddling. Then you could do your school work and set up science tables, etc. on the main floor.

My dd in her teen years needed a quiet, private space to write because it was so much work to get her thoughts out. She has an office to get her away from the noise of her brother. Too much teen seclusion isn't healthy (or safe), but they're also going to want to find their space. They might prefer to have a beanbag in their rooms, a laptop so they can drift around, that kind of thing.

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Our school room is in our walkout basement. Each of the kids has a desk towards the end with natural light. We have built-in bookshelves around three sides of the other end with some nice, comfortable seating. I spend time both working with them at their desks and sitting on the couch. My oldest prefers working in the sunroom upstairs, mostly because my 4 year old is loud. I do have a dehumidifier and a small heater because they make it more comfortable at a couple of points during the year.

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We tried but even all spruced up as best we could, it still felt a bit like a dungeon. And we much preferred sprawling on the couch or outside to do school work. I ended up keeping our extra homeschooling supplies in the basement that weren't needed everyday but I wasn't ready to part with like dissection supplies, extra art supplies, books that were too young or too old for our current needs but I wanted to keep... things like that. We had a homeschool "station" in the kitchen and books in every room of the house. Each kid had a crate with their school books and supplies in our homeschool station along with everything else that we used on at least a weekly basis. It worked really well for us at the time. I kept the posters and time lines and such in their rooms, in hallways, made them into notebook covers or hung them on the fridge and rotated them. For a long time, I would put a poem of the week and an art piece of the week, printed out from the internet, on the fridge so that it would be seen by the whole family all the time. I also put quotes or grammar rules or math rules up there that we were working on when the mood struck me. 

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I turned my basement into a homeschool room years ago when I first started to HS,  It doesn't have much light. We painted the concrete walls and laid down some remnant carpet, added old school desks and make it look like a classroom. It worked for my kids a little while because that's all we knew. Since then I turned my "formal dining room" into an office/classroom and bought 3 Ikeas small tables as desks to put in there. Now, it's  still my office but have since moved the kids desks (small Ikea tables) into other rooms. I've only been homeschooling 1 child (12 yrs) for the last couple of years but am bringing home 2 kids older than him next year.  My office/classroom is still in the dining room where I keep all our homeschool things but we really don't do school in there either. I guess it depends on your kids and where they might work best, together to say it's "school time" or somewhere apart so they aren't disturbed. I don't ll I' be moving any desks back to the classroom because I think they'll do better undisturbed or sitting on the couch with me going over something they don't understand. I will move the desks where they need though. It might be because I enjoy sitting on the couch over sitting at a desk all day as well haha. Maybe before you go to the time and expense of moving to the basement, ask your kids how they want to do school. 

Edited by Mom28kds
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Our basement is our official homeschool area so my desk (our old kitchen table), two kid desks, and all our supplies are down there. This year, we've moved to doing several subjects upstairs because that is what my kids prefer. I still insist that some subjects be done downstairs because I need our big whiteboard.

The basement is pleasantly cool in the summer but chilly in the winter, plus we all crave sunlight in the winter. Our basement walls are a cheery yellow, but there is no natural light, so that plays a part.

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You all have convinced me to probably not do this. All of the comments about it's dark, cold, minimal natural light...ring true here. Heck, they don't even want to play down there so doing school down there would be a struggle. I guess I'm just envious of those of you who can put up posters and have a designated space. I will ask them where they'd like to work and take it from there. Thanks!

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4 hours ago, Meadowlark said:

I guess I'm just envious of those of you who can put up posters 

 

some poster ideas:

Get foam board and mount posters (you can put a different one on each side). Then you can display them around a room (either mount temporarily or just lean them against walls etc...) and put them away when you need to.

Hallways can be good places to put posters that will be seen regularly, even if you don't have a school area.

Use a clear vinyl tablecloth on your dining room or kitchen table, and put posters on the table, under the cloth. Again, easy to change out if you have company or want to change up the poster

Use magnets to put posters on the fridge or on metal doors

Put posters on closet doors (inside or outside--open the door to display the poster during school hours, close it to hide it away).

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Unless you already have two or more living rooms on your main floor, I would make the basement into another living space with a comfy couch, chair, a desk or two (and lighting and stuff) so it doesn't scream HOMESCHOOL but you can still put stuff up and leave stuff out.  Unless your basement is super small, then nevermind...

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We school in the basement and have done so since my 9th grader was in kindergarten. I have a walkout basement with full-sized windows in two rooms and French doors, so perhaps that is why it works so well for us. It is finished like the upstairs, and has been well worth the money to finish it. All of our school stuff is stored in the basement. I have a table and a white board in each room. The larger room does also double as a space for the kids with TV and sofas, but kids know that TV is never allowed on before 4. My kids also have desks in their rooms, but do most of their work downstairs. All lessons are done in the basement. I love my basement and cannot imagine not having it available for school. I love having everything school stored downstairs.

Edited by SevenDaisies

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On May 10, 2019 at 1:48 PM, Meadowlark said:

it's dark, cold, minimal natural light...

There was a poster who I don't see around anymore unless she changed her name. Was it judomom? She had a totally dark basement, so she painted the walls a light grey (which are really fab for color calibration btw, means your photos will look good) and installed a whiteboard the whole length of one wall. I think she did bright green, lime kind of accents. It really worked. But she had a really structured homeschool style and a lot of energy she was trying to control. 

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I've thought about doing this too. But it feels like a cave down there. We bought our house for all the windows in the main areas, and I can't make myself spend any time in the basement, unless we're watching a movie during a tornado watch. 

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Can you flip rooms and move a living room down to the basement? Paint color can make a huge difference in opening a space, also light. You can get florescents that are daylight, full spectrum. I'm not saying I would, just saying you can. 

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