Once you’ve made the exciting decision to start homeschooling your child, or children, you’ve chosen your CEA homeschool curriculum, and you’re ready to go, right? Before getting started on your homeschool lessons, it’s important to set up your homeschool classroom in a way that best facilitates your child’s learning while maintaining the function of your household. Not everyone has an extra room in the house to dedicate as a classroom, but there are some ideas that you can incorporate throughout your home to make the homeschool process smoother and more fun for both you and your kids. The actual materials and themes of your setup depends on the ages and aesthetics of your children, so adapt and personalise as you see fit! Ultimately, your homeschool classroom will reflect your family’s unique needs, but read on to get an idea of where to start.
This idea is essentially creating separate areas, even in the same room, that have different learning purposes, be it for art, activity sheet work, hands on lessons, etc. Children can also rotate between stations to change the scenery a bit, as well as have the choice in where they want to work for the day or the lesson. If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to homeschooling, the “stations” can exist around different areas of the house (couch area, kitchen table, bedrooms, dining room).
If you’ve got a garage that’s not really in use, this might be a great excuse to do a clean out of unused junk you have in storage and transform the space into a homeschool classroom.
Wherever you decide to create your classroom, organisation is key. Not only for keeping your house in some sense of order, but also to facilitate the learning process without a mess of distractions.
If you’re homeschooling more than one child, try to gauge whether they all learn well in the presence of each other or if you need to set up individual desks, barriers, or learning stations for them. Go with the individual learning styles of your own kids. It’s helpful to have some kind of separate workstation idea available for the days that they are feeling too distracted by each other, or crave their own space.
Get the Blood Flowing
Sitting too long isn’t great for anyone, but it’s especially stifling for children who have an absolute abundance of physical energy. If kids don’t have a chance to move around, it can be really difficult to encourage them to focus on a lesson. Running around outside is clearly ideal, but during the winter or in the middle of lesson time, it may be less practical. Some homeschool families also don’t live in walking distance to outdoor play areas, so the excursion can quickly become time consuming.
You might consider getting a mini trampoline for your house, and even for directly inside your homeschool classroom. Jumping or mini trampoline, also called rebounding, has been found to increase cell energy as well as the function of the lymphatic and immune systems as well as mitochondrial processes and so much more. Kids can do rebounding while listening to a lesson or while parents are reading aloud to them. Rather than a distraction, movement can really help to blow off some steam and allow for increased focus.
Sitting on the Floor
You might feel like you are limited by the amount of table space you have available, but there is always the floor! Don’t forget, kids are generally quite flexible and can easily sit cross-legged for longer than many adults. Create a comfy area on the floor for kids to read on their own or self study. It’s great for them to get out of a chair anyway. You can also use small rugs on different parts of the floor to mentally create different work areas.
Creative Art Area and Wall Displays
It’s great to have a table space where kids can spread out their art supplies or butcher paper to make posters and other art projects. If it’s possible to have a small table just for this purpose with art supplies organised nearby, it’s a nice mental switch from some of the other types of learning your child will do throughout their lessons. The previous floor idea can definitely be incorporated into this.
If you are making any posters as visual learning aids, it’s great to display these near your work stations for easy reference and to help solidify the information. Wall displays can be an extremely useful way to create more space without using tables or surfaces used for other things. In terms of artwork, you don’t necessarily need to keep or showcase every single piece of art your child does, but if they have a favourite, or a new one, or are particularly proud of a project, it’s great to have it on display in your ‘classroom’, even if that’s the kitchen.
In terms of visual displays, it’s also great to have a white board or chalkboard up to help teach lessons or for kids to write up goals, plans for the day, or ideas on projects they are working on.
Library and Bookshelf
It’s a great idea to have a designated shelf with school books and pleasure reading books on display so it’s easy for your kids to access whenever they want. It’s nice for kids to be able to see their books and learning materials. If you have multiple children, they can each have their own special area for their books and supplies that they can be responsible for keeping tidy.
Many homeschool families in Australia have found colour coding to be one of the most useful tips for setting up their homeschool classroom. Colour coding is not only helpful for organising, but it’s also fun and stimulating for children. You can get different coloured bins for art supplies, different materials for separate subjects, or different theme colours for workstations of different kids.
Remember the Outdoors
Going outside, taking trips, and exploring the outdoors can be a major part of your lesson plan. Getting out of the house is important for the mental and physical health of kids (and parents) and can really help to allow some of their lessons settle in.
Make it your Own
Make your homeschool classroom work for you. It’s helpful to read blogs and see examples of other versions of the homeschool classroom, but don’t be afraid to go with your own ideas or inspiration. If you try a set up and it isn’t working, move stuff around! Try something new! The environment is just as important as the homeschool curriculum. Get creative and have fun enjoying your CEA homeschool adventure.