Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jumpstart Your Homeschool Batteries: Homeschooling in a Tight Space

Welcome Back to my 5 Days of Back to Homeschool.

I haven't done much in the way of homeschool this week. I had intended to take the week to organize, and plan and purge. Instead I have come down with a nasty cold.

That's the way of it sometimes. One of the blessings of homeschooling is that we can be flexible. Next week I've got an appointment with the Homeschool Cabinet! At least that is what I'm telling myself. I also have an appointment with the Laundry Basket and the Bedroom Floor.

So today I want to talk about Homeschooling in Tight Spaces. We live in an apartment that is about 700 sq. feet. We had intended to live here temporarily, but "temporary" has turned into a few years longer than we anticipated.

Nevertheless, it is close to my husband's work (though we commute an hour to our church) and we live in an area of downtown that always has something to see or something going on. Now mind you...some of the stuff going on we wish we didn't have to see. It has made for an interesting education for Josiah. "Hey, Mom? Is that guy wearing a tire on his head?"

You should know me well enough (by now) to understand that I am a bit high maintenance. I like to create, I like pretty things around me and I lack in the organizational skills department.Which is a dangerous combination.

Homeschooling, by its very nature, takes stuff. We are hoarders of school supplies, curriculum, art supplies and books. Ah, yes. Books.

The castle I have created for myself in my head has a large homeschool room...with lots of shelving for books. And more books.  I have a huge farm table with plenty of old stuffed chairs for lounging with said books.

The reality is more like this....

 In my defense, I took this picture a year or so ago when I was doing some organization. 

Don't let the mountain of mess on my table scare you off.  This is the reality of it some days. 

But I am here to tell you that Homeschooling in a Small Space can be done. It just takes a bit of thinking outside of the box. (I wonder where I put that headband!)

Here are 5 Ways I Get It Done.

1. I do have a homeschool cabinet located in Josiah's room. (the picture above is obviously not it).  It is filled with art and craft supplies, extra school supplies, curriculum I am not currently using (but intended to use) and other odds and ends. I mainly work out of the shelf above. I have to go through it every month or so. It is located in our dining room (where most of the magic happens). 

For a brief time, I just toted everything back and forth from the homeschool cabinet. I found that it works better if I have some sort of shelf close by. It keeps the table from being overrun by school.  Don't be afraid to keep close at hand only what you are using for the time being.  It takes more work to constantly rotate what we need, but my tiny dining room isn't taken up by big pieces of furniture.

2. This is my coffee table. As I look at it now I can see it needs a bit of spit and polish. I took this picture today, however, and I'm just thankful you can't see my big box of snot rags off to the side. Located in this simple chest are more Homeschool books. A few times a year, I go through this chest. I donate some stuff, bring out things I want to use in the next few months and store other items I won't see for a while. For example, many of my seasonal resources are located in here. I wanted The Studly Muffin to sand it and give it a good polish this summer. You can see we had other fish to fry (or bikes to ride).

It is helpful if I have a few things in the apartment that can perform Double Duty. 

 3. While a good portion of our Homeschool Day happens at the dining room table, we aren't bound by that space. It's HOME school. We spread out on the couch, on the living room floor, in the kitchen.I think this happens even in homes that don't necessarily have to worry about space. It's just the nature of the lifestyle.

4. We also take our Homeschool away from Home. The Y, the library, the coffeehouse or the park. The picture below is from the Nursing Home we volunteer at several times a year.  I think Josiah is at a weaving class here. Some of our best school days have been romping about town.

5. This is it. This is the biggie. This is the secret to living in a small space (let alone homeschooling). Purge. And Purge some more. You have to understand how difficult this is for me. I can think of multiple uses for almost anything. I decided, however, that it was more important for me and my family to live a full life rather than live a life full of stuff. This getting ready of stuff is a constant process. I seldom get rid of curriculum that will cost me too much to replace, but I can't hang on to the other stuff. I donate it, give it to friends or try and sell it at one of our local used bookstores. Being able to let go of things has been a big and valuable lesson. 

So there you have it. I had intended to bless you with beautiful pictures of my organized space. Hah! You are just lucky I am not posting another selfie. I have that "glow" only a summer cold can give you. It is not attractive.

Tomorrow is the last day of the 5 Day Back to HomeSchool. I want to talk to you about frugal Menu-Planning ideas. You can check out my other posts here, here and here. Please take some time and read through my friends' blogs. I know you will be encouraged. They all have some wonderful ideas and thoughts. You can find even more blogs by clicking on the banner below.

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Jenn @ Treasuring Life's Blessings
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Dusty @ To the Moon and Back
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Gena @ I Choose Joy!

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  1. We have things scattered around the house, too, in order to keep things close by. And I totally agree with purging!

  2. Ah yes, we are always scattered about the house when schooling! I think that happens no matter the size of your house. And we also have schooled all over town. Our most unique place was the courthouse when we were foster parents!


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