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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homeschooling in a small house – part 1

Our family lives in a small house.  For the past four years, we have used our dining room for our homeschool.  (How I would love a schoolroom!) However, this year, we had to get a little creative and have now changed the dining room into a bedroom!  (You do what you have to do, you know ;0)

For our family, it is best to have a space set aside for homeschooling.  My children and I all do better when we are at a table instead of around the coffee table or sitting on the couch.    And my kitchen is too small for 6 people to sit in and do school for hours everyday.  So for us, I had to figure out how to set up a school area.

This is where it got tricky and took a lot of trial and error.  We have found a solution to our problem and I thought that I would share it in case someone else out there shares a similar situation.  This also helps answer the question that I’m  always asked - where  do you do your homeschooling?

1.  We had to look at our house and find a usable space.

DSCN0659 edited

We needed our space to be large enough for all 5 children to be in it at the same time.  I needed everyone in one space so I could monitor learning and help as needed.  Also, it helps cut down on mishaps with the toddler and preschooler.  The space also needed to be open enough for the children to move about in without disturbing others. 

We determined that the corner that holds our coat rack would be a good space to try.

2.  We had to purchase a few additional items such as a foldable table.

DSCN0646 edited

We purchased this foldable 6 foot table from Target when it was on sale around Thanksgiving.  We pull up chairs as needed and the small ones can sit on the bench on the coat rack. 

Actually, I have recently turned the coat rack up against the short wall and the table is coming off of the wall where the coat rack is pictured above.  This enables the four older children to sit on both sides and the baby or me at the end.  I just haven’t taken a picture of it and I’m too tired to do it right now!   ~ Updated pictures will be added later.~

3.  We needed to be able to put the school room away at the end of the day.

DSCN0660 Since this is our primary living space, we fold the table and put it away after we are done.  The chairs are carried back to their spaces.  The table is also very easily stored in another place if we need to get it out of the living room.  Another added plus is that we can use this table for many things too – parties, having other families over, etc.  It was well worth the money we spent.

But what about posters and visual helps?  What about supplies and books?  More about that in post 2…

6 comments:

  1. This is such a great post! I love learning how other families do this kind of thing. We have a very, very small house too (but only one child so far), and feel the space crunch. I'm so glad you were able to find something that really works for you and I can't wait to read your next post about this! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  2. Very creative use of your space.And once again...I am inspired to do better!

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  3. wow! I have arrived to your Little White House by way of my Homegrown and Beeyoutiful friend, Amanda -- and I am so glad I am here! I have been reading up on your hs'ing in a small house posts. Great reading -- I am looking the mini-office right now. I have 4 children, 19 months to 10 years old, in an old house. I am still trying to figure out how to make it all work, and reading how you do you with the same kind of kid-ages I have makes me feel better and energized to think outside the box a bit!
    Thank you! I look forward to reading more about the goingson of the Little White House!

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  4. so happy to have found your blog! I needed some encouragement today. I too live in a small house (1200 sq. ft) with ONE bathroom! My children are 5, 3, and 18 months. We plan on homeschooling and I feel like I am getting a lot of pressure from family and friends about our home not being big enough, needing to get in a better school system and blah, blah, blah. But, I LOVE our home! it is an older house with lots of character on a large lot (we too have a large garden and chickens- we even started raising catfish in an aquaponic system). I really don't want to leave and I'd really like to have another baby too. It is encouraging to see someone taking a similar path as the one we envision and succeeding. Love the idea of having the school table that folds and is put away at the end of the day - why didn't I think of that already?!

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  5. Hi Katie! So nice to meet you. You and I do sound like we are on similar paths. It is tough for me when we receive negative comments about our way of living. But I'm doing what God has called me to so I try to keep eyes straight ahead on the goal. Hard for me sometimes but I totally understand. I would love to hear about the aquaponic system! That sounds cool. :)

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  6. Can I ask how small your small home is? Because even these tips seem to require more space than we have. It's helpful for figuring out what others do and don't do with their square footage. We currently have three adults (my mother lives with us) and three children in 850 sq. ft. and will be starting our home school journey this upcoming year. And this house has no hallway. I am at a complete loss as to where to have a school space. Our dining room barely fits a table we can all eat at, the kitchen is a "one man only" affair, and we even have a bed in the unfinished basement. I've known other who refer to their homes as "tiny" when they have 1200 to 1300 sq. ft., which, quite frankly, sounds like a mansion right about now! I desperately need to eek as much practical usage out of every square inch we have!

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