The concept of homeschooling was increasingly popular long before the COVID-19 outbreak. Today more-and-more parents are embracing homeschooling in small spaces as a prime opportunity to take a hands-on approach to their children’s education.
Many people find that proper organization makes all the difference between a day of smooth sailing and a day of chaos in the home classroom. This can be even more challenging in apartments and small homes where available space is at a premium.
If you are ready to dive headfirst into the homeschooling revolution, a few of the following ideas might help you make the most out of your available home classroom space.
A Folding Desk
The desk is a critical component of any learning environment. This is especially true for homeschools, where children have to sit in one environment for several hours straight. With little more than a sturdy piano hinge or a pair of heavy-duty strap hinges, you can easily mount a desk to a wall or inside a wardrobe closet. Though there are a few details to be mindful of.
You want to get the height right for your child, which might call for more than a few measurements while they sit at their preferred chair. Ideally, you want the desk to be level with their elbows when seated. This will be more comfortable and give them better posture for handwriting.
One other advantage of a folding desk is that you need to properly clean it off before folding it up at the end of the day. This is great for children who have a nasty habit of leaving behind too much clutter on their desktop. It essentially forces them to put all their school supplies back in the correct place.
A lot of homeschools use some type of tablet, iPad, or other touch devices for interactive learning and watching educational videos. When children hold them in their hands the audio can be inconsistent. When a lesson is going on, they might also need a free hand to write with, and holding a tablet is awkward.
Many tablet devices have stood for sale, but they can be a little bit pricey. If you are on a tight budget or buying something like a stand just doesn’t seem worth the time and money, you might try making your own.
A little bit of spare wood can be cut at a 45 to 60-degree angle in a miter box or a compound miter saw. Then you can use it as a foot wood glued to a larger, flat piece of wood to create a low-cost sturdy tablet stand. This way your child can have their hands free to write on paper, listen to a video, or use both hands to touch an interactive screen.
Adjustable Shelves & Dividers
When math books get mixed in with language and social studies books, the scramble can be frustrating for you and your child. Giving each subject it’s own dedicated partition in a bookcase or shelving system improves organization. Using adjustable dividers is also handy for times when one subject might swell with added papers and workbooks.
Hang A White Board For Schedules & Timed Tasks
Children do best when they are given structure and they know what is expected of them. Hanging a whiteboard, chalkboard, or painting a section of a wall with blackboard paint near their designated learning space helps your child stay organized.
A larger board gives you room to write encouraging messages that help them start their day off on the right foot, without compromising space for scheduled tasks and events. It’s also a great way to create a checklist that lets you track their progress throughout the day.
Use A Filing Cabinet For Old Assignments
It can be tempting to throw out old assignments and completed papers only find out a week or two later that your child needs it for a review exercise. Not to mention the sentimental value a lot of parents place on their child’s best work.
Keeping a separate filing cabinet for their completed work keeps it out of the active projects while also keeping things organized. If you want to go back to it later for nostalgic reasons, it’s always close at hand. You might even want to set up hanging files so you can organize each by the subject.
Labeled Stackable Totes For Supplies
Homeschool children still need a subject like art and music as part of a complete education. Just like paper subjects these supplies can get scrambled together if they aren’t given their own dedicated space.
Heavy-duty stackable totes with labels let you set up a specific tote for art supplies, music sheets, and other subjects that need physical tools. If possible try to stack them in the most likely order of use. If your child has art at 10:00 am and music at 11:00 they can be grabbed right off the top of the stack each time.
Set Up Baskets And Bins As In and Out Boxes
If you are a very hands-on homeschooling parent, where you are grading papers yourself, then you might want to set up bins or sliding baskets labeled as In and Out. This way your child can turn in the papers while you might need to attend to other things around the house. It’s especially handy if you are homeschooling multiple children at one time.
A Wheeled Cart
If you have a small home or apartment, it might not be feasible to provide your child with a static learning space. You might need to repurpose the living room or the child’s bedroom during the day and you want to keep everything together.
A wheeled cart is also a handy idea if you are working from home and you might be using different rooms for your own office purposes. A wheeled cart lets you send your child’s supplies with them to their room, while you appropriate the living room for a video conference. You can then rest assured that your child isn’t going to disturb you while looking for something they need for their lessons.