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homeschool room?

Trisha K
8 days ago

I will be homeschooling two children starting in 2 weeks, and I’m in desperate need of help!! Previously, we used our dining table to do School from home, but I feel like we need something more organized. I would like to convert this front room to a homeschool room, but I’m completely lost. I really want to maximize the space, but I don’t even know where to start. My main concern is having a large desk space for the kids to do their work, which will include using computers, as well as some storage (bookshelves, drawers?) I don’t even know where to start with the layout. Any suggestions? From ~ an overwhelmed mom!

Comments (46)

  • A S
    5 days ago

    I’m a teacher and have three kids. We, like most people, just did crisis pandemic teaching from home. What I learned is that all kids benefit from space away from others as well as space where they can work with an adult. All three of mine needed solitary work spots, free from distraction, at some points. They also all needed a spot where I could be right beside them at others...even the almost 13 year old! So it’s important to have a room that provides you with flexibility.

    For me I would want the date, schedule, expectations visible to the kids so it became routine to check the board for work.

    Each child should have a storage area with their most commonly used learning materials and supplies.

    Resources and additional teacher type things stored in the closet.

    Books and other reading materials in the room as well.

    One seating area that all of you could be at at once.

    Also seating spots where each child could be on their own.

    Best Answer
  • thinkdesignlive
    8 days ago

    How old are the kids? We love our sit stand table desks for our kids from IKEA (monoprice has some as well). Being able to work seated as low as 24” high (if they are little ones) or up tall when standing (our 16 year old is 6’3”) is great.

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    A friend of mine's house is a similar layout to your new house. She used the "dining room" as a play room without adding any doors. She homeschooled the kids for part of the day then would bring them to the elementary school for PE and music. She had a pretty cool IKEA storage system set up (sorry I don't remember the exact name of it) and when guests came over, the kids would put away the toys on the floor so no one would trip over them. She considered closing off the space, but now that her kids are 13 and 17, she is glad she didn't. She (and the kids) loved having the open space and it felt less like a classroom like it would closed up. We used our dining room as a play room as well but it is where your first floor master is. It was open on one wall to our living room and the kitchen on the other. It never dawned on me to close up the space. The time goes by quick and now my two are in high school and we converted the area to a study area. I have the cubbie/bin system from Target (I think the Threshold brand) and they keep books, games and papers in them, plus some toys for when the younger cousins come over. How many times do you actually have guests stay over? I think it's a waste to use the first floor master as a guest room unless you have guests over on a monthly basis. If you want to keep the homeschooling area separate, I think it would be a perfect space for it and put in a pull out couch for the occasional guest.
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  • thinkdesignlive
    8 days ago

    It’s a great room for homeschooling - lots of natural light! Maybe do a huge write on wipe off board on the wall where the small one is now...do you need a small table and chair for yourself when being in there? Post the room dimensions so we can help with more detail.

  • thinkdesignlive
    8 days ago

    Oh darn I see a switch on the wall right in the middle of where the board should be. Well they do make thick vinyl you can apply like a wall covering that is marker board. If the kiddos are small they would need something lower on the wall.

  • Ellen S
    8 days ago

    That looks like a great room! How old are the kids? There are a ton of ideas out there, but it will be helpful if we know their ages to know what’s needed and appropriate.

  • Trisha K
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Thank you for the encouragement and the ideas!! The room is 12x10. This room will primarily be used for my 12yr old only. I also have a 4yr old, but this space will mostly be used by the older child.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    8 days ago

    IKEA might be your best friend in this one. Does the 12 yr old want a desk in the middle of the room?

  • eld6161
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    It’s such stressful times, I commiserate with you.

    I would buy a long folding table and invest good comfortable office chairs.

    This way you will have room for a computer and space to spread out.

    I like Shady’s plan, but not convinced to you to invest just yet.

    You should be able to sit side by side when necessary.

  • pds290
    8 days ago

    You and your kids will be glad to have a space dedicated to online learning. Good for you for thinking this through ahead of time. Some questions for you to consider in your planning: How is your 12 year old’s school approaching online learning? Is your child going to be in zoom classes for long periods of time, or logging on to asynchronous videos periodically and then working independently? If the former, make sure to provide a good, ergonomic desk chair. I would also suggest something more comfortable for reading and relaxing. I’m sure your child would enjoy being a part of that decision. Are they the beanbag type, or lounge chair type? Just being able to move from one seating type to another can be welcome. What kind of device will they be using? If it’s portable (chrome book, laptop, iPad, etc.) the more comfortable seating may be preferred during zoom class, but something like a beanbag may not be allowed during class by your school or teacher. The closet looks like you would have enough room for a rolling cart that could house office materials, files for each class, etc. Make it as easy as possible for your child to keep their school supplies organized independently. Will online school also include larger scale art projects, or longer term projects that would need space set aside to work on them over time while also going back to a computer and short term paperwork at other times? If so, you might consider something other than a typical desk - perhaps a table in the middle of the room instead. I hope this is helpful to you.

  • dallasannie
    8 days ago

    that is an excellent idea! Unfortunately many don't have the spare room. At this point, I would gladly give up any formal areas of the home. But, there are no formal areas to give up, Some are also looking to create home offices for both working parents.

    I think that there is going to have to be some structure imposed on school children and having a dedicated place for it is a good idea. And, keep it specially for that purpose and don't allow anything like eating or entertainment in the space. And, no pajamas!

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    8 days ago

    I have found that the kids are learning structure maybe even more so since this distance learning has come about. They are getting the message this is their responsibility and probably not with really young ones but I have Interentional students that really stpped up to the plate when the ball was in their court but like all teenagers their bedroom was where they srudied and did homework I think 12 is right on the cusp as far as where they will study best.

  • thinkdesignlive
    8 days ago

    Can you repurpose items from the rest of the house - like a lounge chair? Small bookcase? Really if it's just the one right now a sit stand desk and a comfortable chair for him/her is all you need. I can not stress how wonderful the stand option is for these kids - it keeps them engaged more when they can get a break from sitting.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    8 days ago

    What does the 12 year old have to say about the design? Not many kids that age need to sit side-by-side with Mommy. Does that child want a desk, or a table good for spreading out? A laptop could be easily moved from one to the other, as would a second monitor. Although with a younger child, that scenario may work in the future.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    8 days ago

    Meant to say a younger child may want a side-by-side set up.

  • Trisha K
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    The 12 year old is a VERY easy going child, and not very opinionated. I guess the blank canvas is a little daunting to me! I do like the idea of a large desk and /or table because we’ll definitely need space to spread out and do projects. I’d also love a cozy space for reading - not sure how to accomplish all of that in this space. We will be using a laptop. We just moved here so I really don’t have many items to repurpose. I use a sit/stand Varidesk for work and I LOVE it! Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    8 days ago

    I think I'd set up a long table against the wall without the windows (with enough clearance for the door) with two chairs and their respective computers at each seat. Put a low file cabinet for each kid under the desk on one side of their chair. Bring in a second work table to put in the middle of the room so they can put together their projects using their art supplies. Get a bookshelf for their text books, and bins to put on the shelves for art supplies, etc.


    A few inspo pics:



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  • Ellen S
    8 days ago

    One option for layout: long table on one wall, it even could be the window wall, with the sit/stand device on top to one side. In another corner, reading chair with a small bookcase next to it.

  • bpath
    8 days ago

    If you can find one, a raised relief map of the world on the wall is so helpful for learning geography. Mount it at a height the younger child can reach, too. The multi-sensory, being able to touch as well as see, really makes knowledge “stick”.

  • jk atz
    8 days ago

    Love how much natural light that room gets. I think the most essential elements would be a large table and chairs where everyone can spread out and work. A large bookshelf, and either a blackboard wall or some fun educational wall posters. Having the closet in there for storage is really nice too. You could store art supplies and that sort of thing in there.

  • cupofkindnessgw
    5 days ago

    IKEA makes a wall unit/shelving book case, called Kallix, that would be a fantastic storage option, you could even use the largest one to divide the space. White, black, and expresso, plus a gray perhaps?

  • Fori
    4 days ago

    I might have missed it, but is this for actual (permanent) homeschooling or for (we hope temporary) online/distance learning? That will make a difference on how much you want to spend! (Although, even if it's a temporary setup, it'll be nice to have this as a permanent kid office.)


    If there will be Zoom-style online classes, a good headset can help a kid focus--look at the ones made for gaming. Stylish, comfy, built-in mics, and the ability to drown out siblings.

  • Moxie
    3 days ago

    Here are a few suggestions based on working from home for many years.

    • It's important to have a clear delineation between work/school and the rest of your life. It helps to have the former more structured and "formal."
    • Good posture makes it easier to stay engaged. It's also healthier. Get a good, ergonomic chair. Seriously consider a sit/stand platform for the computer.
    • If there's much computer work, get a full-size monitor. They aren't expensive and the extra screen real estate makes it possible to take notes in one window while engaging in video conferencing in a different window.
    • Don't have a window behind the computer user because of the glare on the screen. If there's no other option, be sure that the window has a light-blocking window covering available. If the room is bright in general, a glare reduction screen that fits over the monitor screen may help.
    • Have enough space next to the computer for taking notes on paper even if most notes are kept electronically.
    • If possible, have another work area with a large surface so you can work with others or just spread out a project with lots of pieces. I don't like facing a wall for long periods, so mine was in the middle of the room. For even more flexibility, you can put the table on locking casters.
  • Kathleen Marineau
    2 days ago

    I setup a school area for our 5yr granddaughter about 2 weeks ago. She is already doing workbooks and practicing writing at her desk. I'm not sure how it's going to work, but her mom signed her up for Virtual School and the school system is supplying I-pads for all the kindergarteners, even the ones who will start the year in the classroom.


    I was able to repurpose a storage unit and worktop from Michaels. Their modular units make it easy to change configuration as needs change over the years.

    For supply storage we're using a rolling plastic drawer unit from Office Depot, left over from when I was working from home a decade ago. They are not expensive.


    If you close the blinds, you can use the space in front of the windows for a long table. This would provide computer and project space for the older child. Be sure to get a good surge protector for the computers.

    I agree with a larger monitor and a pc in addition to the tablet. Spending all their time on a tablet is bad for their neck, even if you get a stand for it. The 12yr old can use the separate computer setup for online research and word processing. Being able to shift from one to the other is better for posture and eyesight. Plus it'll be easier to have the tablet open to the assignment in progress while simultaneously having the research info up on the pc monitor.


    Chances are the 4yr old will want to do school along with the older sibling. I'd put a smaller desk, a child's table or even a card table next to the single window. Our then 4yr old had zoom calls with her preschool teachers, watched teaching videos, did art work and practiced writing this last spring. If you google what an incoming kindergartener is supposed to know and understand you could well be shocked. I was. Much has changed in the last 4 decades.

    Keep in mind that this time in 2021, the soon to be kindergartener will also need a workspace. Plan ahead.

  • Kathleen Marineau
    2 days ago

    Here is our kindergartener's setup. We don't have space other than in the dining room. Washable glass paint for decorating the windows. Curtains to close during video class time.

  • Kathleen Marineau
    2 days ago

    Look at a Habitat for Humanity Re-store. A $20 upper kitchen cabinet, doors removed and painted made a shelving unit in daughter's small 2nd bedroom at our house. For now it's a learning grooming place, later it will hold books.

  • brittjg
    2 days ago

    There is special paint that acts as whiteboard that you can use dry erase markers with. I suggest a different paint color for this than the rest of your walls so that writing isn’t on non-erasable surfaces. That way you can make the “board” exactly the size you need or you can expand it if not big enough. Might work well for working math problems together or to mark out steps or to do items

  • Madelyn Lang
    yesterday

    As a long time homeschooler, my advice is to think less schoolroom and more real life learning. It is nice to have your own desk but I wouldn’t require your kids to sit there. My kids did their work wherever they were most comfortable and, given the choice, rarely used desks or even tables. The couch, outside in the air, wherever. A child losing patience with what he’s working on may actually be a child tired of sitting at a desk after four hours.

  • ital mover
    yesterday

    My only suggestion is to ask your older child if she would like an inexpensive portable lap desk in addition to whatever else you set up. That way, if the mood hits to go write or do math in the closet, or in the basement, or sitting in the empty tub, the child can go with the nutty mood. If the weather is nice, it's a chance to go outside. There are lots of inexpensive little desks. I like the ones that have beanbag bottoms, but your child should choose. It can be paired with an inexpensive clip on LED reading lamp.


    Wood Lap Desk with Storage - Portable Workspace Platform for Laptop, Accessorie · More Info




  • lazidazi
    yesterday

    A Lot of wasted space in the closet. Maximize that space initially so that you then know what else needs to be shelved and stored outside of the closet.


  • willozwisp
    yesterday

    Having homeschooled two children from 1st grade through high school, we found that all rooms were used and didn't dedicate just one space. Assignments were taught and completed where they felt comfortable: kitchen table, living room chairs, their bedroom, a desk etc. We didn't try to duplicate a classroom. Rather it was a home and they found where they were most comfortable using their laptops, or reading their books, or writing an essay or taking a test. A regular in school classroom can be pretty chaotic, and our home was a familiar safe haven. Everyone has their special space or place that they like in a home. It was fluid and depended on the assignment or task. A different rhythm. And they learned to study and complete their tasks utilizing the entire house. Worked quite well and stood them in good stead when they went to college and had to complete their work outside the classroom/.lecture hall.


  • hsmeghan
    yesterday

    I also am a former homeschooling mom and also am wondering if this is distance learning or actual homeschooling, which is totally different than school from home. I homeschooled my two sons from grade 9-12 and my daughter all the way through K-12. If you are just doing distance learning you can take my comments or toss them as needed.


    But my advice is to forget the room layout totally until you have determined your child's learning style. A great place to start is with the book The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. This helped immensely with my two ADD youngers. Some kids just can't use a desk, believe it or not, to get the optimum result from what they need to learn. My daughter and I spent years together on the couch snuggling and reading good books together from a literature-based curriculum and very little time doing seatwork at a table. We never had a homeschool room, although I would have loved one, and you know what, it didn't matter. The kitchen table worked great with her self-organized box of workbooks, etc, that we could move when we needed to.


    Maybe your child needs a comfy chair and lap desk, maybe a rug on the floor and a source of music, or maybe a totally quiet desk with no distractions. This is the beauty of homeschooling: tailoring it to your child's needs. It may be more beneficial to put a couch in the room instead of a desk, depending on your child's needs. Don't waste time and money for things you don't need that won't work.


    I also led a homeschool support group for 5 years. I saw many moms' homeschool rooms and we talked a lot about what we did day to day. One thing that still stands out to me is that the moms who were teachers in schools had to totally re-learn how to do school with their own kids once they were home. So much of "trained" teachers' methods have to do with crowd control. Homeschooling is more like tutoring one-on-one. A whole day's teaching can be completed in a couple of hours, allowing the child to explore his or her own interests.


    So I encourage you to think outside the box right now and explore who your children are before you set up a schoolroom. If it's not done on the first day of school, you know what, it will be okay. You are in a process, and a process takes time. Don't panic about deadlines and schedules for having everything ready for the first day of school. Take it one day at a time. It's life at home and kids get that. I hope this helps a little.

  • A S
    yesterday

    I agree so much with what is above but I also know that long term I could never tolerate school stuff throughout my house. So even if the home school room was like a starting spot or a home base for learning, to me, it would be worth it to create it. I like things clean and organized and long term while I would fully support my kids working wherever made them feel good and productive I would want an organized spot for all my resources, all their materials, and a storage spot for tech etc. So absolutely that would be a room not in our main house. I standby my suggestions of creating a space with lots of options as a hub for where the day can begin and where the stuff can stay!

  • hsmeghan
    yesterday

    Just have to add -- the learning that takes place in homschool is so much more about the relationship between parent and child than anything else. It is okay for a parent to learn right along with the child. I am a compulsive researcher myself and I guess that helped as we went along. I loved learning with my kids. I loved building relationships with them in a way I never could have done if they'd gone off to school every day. And frankly I loved being in control of what we studied.


    Concentrate on building good relationships with your children. If there are conflicts (one of my kids was especially difficult to work with) you will be forced to work through them, and that is good. When kids are in school day to day the conflicts can be let go and put off until they are crises. A great book to do with your teen is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. Life skills was one of my homeschool subjects every year.

  • Trisha K
    Original Author
    yesterday

    Thank you all for the suggestions, encouragement, and ideas! My oldest will be doing virtual/distance learning to start, which may evolve into homeschooling. My youngest will be doing homeschooling and I will be using a curriculum (Abeka) since I’m just starting out. I already purchased an L shaped desk for the room, but I really appreciate the advice about allowing the children to learn where they are comfortable. I’m currently trying to figure out a way to add comfortable seating and additional table space in the room, but I’m afraid the room is too small for all of that. I do have an empty sunroom, so I may purchase a couch and table for that room instead.

  • Judith Schulten
    yesterday

    Our daughter-in-law homeschooled their 3 children for more than 12 years. They had a big schoolroom with a couple of old couches, big table, standing blackboard, giant map...most of it old stuff that was around the house anyway.


    This has nothing to do with the room itself, but I would like to praise home schooling. Lisa (known to family as St. Lisa) rang a schoolbell at 8:00 a.m. The children were dressed, with beds made & breakfast eaten when the bell rang. They said the pledge of allegiance and a prayer. In the middle of the morning, they took a snack break, and, by noon, they were nearly always finished with the work for the day.


    It sounds more rigid than it was. As others have said, the children worked individually all over the house.


    I admire our daughter-in-law and every other home school parent immensely. The family became very close, in an almost miraculous way. As each of our grandchildren finished high school, Lisa provided a beautiful, personal home graduation ceremony for them.


    They were also members of the Florida Home Educators Association. At the state-wide graduation, the students had great fun with home-school-kid jokes.

  • gotlander
    yesterday

    You could save some space and expense too, by having someone create and install a large "counter" along one wall. No desks needed. Then you only need desk chairs appropriate size of course for comfort and ergonomics too...Perhaps a small division wall up the middle so each has their own space - to ceiling or partial if it feels too confining. Another either narrow or round table for projects, art, and the like, to spread out when needed, at another side or corner of the room and some comfy bean bags for reading time, or watching educational videos. Make it fun. Use posters they enjoy and change them out seasonally. A cubby or brighly colored narrow locker for tight spaces would be great, if possible for their personal "tools of the trade" and storing work, books, etc. I was a teacher too,..and actually miss it!



  • susancarol
    yesterday

    I love all these ideas! I homeschooled for 30 years. Personally, I loved having one room where all the ‘school-stuff’ was stored, and where each child had their own space (usually a desk). Yes, they ended up reading, doing projects, etc. all around the house, but it all came back to 1 place at the end of a day. My only advice is let need direct your plans and let your students help in the planning process. That closet is wonderful; I would have loved having such a great storage place. And your windows are lovely—such a well lighted room. Find a cheap table on Craig’s list or a consignment store, and get started. Then you can adjust and change if that doesn’t work without feeling guilty that you invested in furniture that nobody likes. You won’t need to have everything perfect to start! Good luck to you this year!

  • Kim Allman
    23 hours ago

    Ages ago homeschooling our 2 (now 26 & 30) we used a repurposed microwave cart to hold supplies. 2 cabinets top and bottom, one drawer, and open space where the m/w would go was for text books. A larger than you think you'll need white board on the wall. We later added a small computer desk. A large Rubbermaid tote for the dozens of library books. We "did school" all over the house - kitchen, garage, garden, basement, workshop, yard, porch, woods, & lots of field trips, but the dining room was "classroom central." Best of success!

  • Fori
    21 hours ago

    I have a kid who only uses a regular chair at meals--the rest of the time he is on an exercise ball. Yeah, the bouncy kid in the Zoom class was mine. But he has a core of steel!

  • Kathleen Marineau
    4 hours ago

    I am enjoying all the helpful advice. What surprises me is how little time many of you report was spent in actually doing school work. I think that was the main source of my anxiety.

    Our kindergartner gdaughter is signed up for Virtual Learning and we read that they will have between 1 and 3 hours of class time.

    The in-class students arrive by bus before 7:20 and aren't dismissed until 2:45. That's 7hr 25min at school. Half an hour for breakfast, lunch and recess time, I estimate 5hrs at least in the classroom in previous years. What did they do all day if there was only 1-3hrs of instruction?

    It will be educational for me to see how this works. We are committed to 1 semester of Virtual Learning, if it goes well, and if we can get a peer play group together, we may stick with it for a few years.

  • Shoemaker
    3 hours ago

    Kathleen, with all due respect, that chair is too large for a kindergartener. They are tiny people :)

  • Kathleen Marineau
    2 hours ago

    It's her favorite chair, she chose it for her desk over some smaller ones I have.

  • Shoemaker
    2 hours ago

    Thats a tough one.
    Research shows that an oversized chair for an extended period of time causes muscular/posture deformities/injuries as well as metabolic disorders.

  • A S
    2 hours ago

    Where is the chair?

    School at home, one to one, is more focused and intense. The transitions are quicker and the feedback from an adult faster. The reason the day is much longer at school is all the other stuff that goes into it like music, gym, recess and lunch, changing rooms, etc. When people say they spend a smaller amount of time doing school at home they mean dedicated learning. Home and school are not comparable

  • Jayne M
    19 minutes ago

    There is home directed home school where you set the curriculum and pace and there is online school with set real-time classes and set assignments (and there is everything in between). We did K-12 one year. There were real time online classes and regular homework due each day. I would say we shaved maybe an hour (AT BEST) off a real school day- not counting transit time. If you are in a set curriculum online school, it will depend on how much real-time screen time your child is required to do and how much homework is given. You probably wont know until you get into it how demanding it's going to be or not be. At 12 , you also may not be sure how much "help" vs independent learning your child will be doing. The biggest challenge to a lot of kids that age is self-motivating to stick to the new schedule until it becomes a habit. They might also miss school friends. It might be a struggle in the beginning until everyone settles in but it usually gets better.

  • Kathleen Marineau
    14 minutes ago

    A S, you need to click on more comments to see the ones near the beginning of this conversation.

    It is a ladder back dining chair. I went through my fabric stash but didn't find anything I thought she'd like, so making a cushion is waiting for a shopping trip.