Back-to-school season is here! Last week I cleaned out and re-organized our school space, so it is ready to start a new year. We start in a little over a week!
This will be our 7th year homeschooling and our 4th year in our current home. I can’t believe I haven’t done a blog post sharing our favorite space; our schoolroom/playroom!
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This room, I believe, is technically a formal dining room and is open to our kitchen, entry, and family room. I currently have a home full of little ones and we are home most of our days homeschooling, so making this space useful for our everyday life was more important to us than having a separate dining room.
This has become our favorite room of the house and where we keep ALL our toys and books. It has been really nice having our toys accessible in the same room for my toddlers while I do schoolwork with my older kids. Plus, it’s right next to the kitchen for all the snacks! 😆
I used 3 of the 8 cube organizer from Target (One horizontal in the middle and 2 standing vertical on the sides.) We keep all our picture books and science books here, at an easy reach for kids. Keeping them in rainbow order, according to their spine, has been visually appealing and is actually a great help for cleaning up. The kids can easily figure out where a book goes and put it back in its right spot.
I have learned over the years (mostly from my little boys) that we have to have open baskets for toys. If they can’t see what is in a basket, it usually never gets played with. The open baskets also make clean up easier, when they can see where everything belongs. I love these wicker baskets for lots of our small pieces. They hold our small figures/characters, toob animals, train tracks, and doll house furniture.
I recently grabbed these new rope baskets to replace some old cubby baskets that were ripping down the side. These are super sturdy and have hidden handles on the sides to make them easy to carry. In these we have our magnatiles, Lego Duplos, and Little People.
We have THIS bag for legos and it is the best!! It lays flat to play and build, then make sure all the pieces are on it and pull the draw string to close the whole thing! Makes clean up so much faster and we can move the bag anywhere in the house or take it on vacation to our cabin or hotels (it has straps to make it a backpack.)
Another shelf holds math counting bears and manipulatives, wooden puzzles, and coloring books. We try to keep our toys minimal and open ended for more imaginative play. Each of my kids have a few things in their rooms too (baby dolls, Barbies, super heros, and race tracks.) Keeping this room clean has never been a problem because everything has a place and everyone knows where things belong.
On the higher up shelves (on the right) I have some of our chapter books, read alouds, and Dart books for the school year. We are getting ready to study American History, so I pulled out our American Girl books that my daughter wants to read through again. These bookshelves are nice and deep so I can get 2 rows of books in one cubby. I LOVE books though, so I also have another book shelf in our garage that holds books we have already read or are for when they get older.
On the top left side is where I keep my teacher guides, planner, and specific reference books we use throughout the year. You can find our most used reference books HERE.
On the horizontal shelf I have a “floating shelf” sitting on top. This makes a great book ledge to display books. We love unit studies, so this is a perfect place to display the books we are using for our current unit.
In the middle is a large bulletin board I got from Staples years ago. (I linked a similar one HERE.) I like to hang our maps and projects here that we complete throughout the year. This school year we are learning about the 50 states. I’ve had this poster for years from the Target dollar spot and finally put it up. (It was too large for my bulletin board so I cut out the pieces.) My kids are super excited to color in each state as we learn about them this school year. Grab a similar US poster HERE.
My favorite “Home Sweet Homeschool” sign linked HERE.
Some other supplies we use daily that we keep on our shelves: HERE.
School table and chairs:
This table is the BEST! It is the EKEDALEN table from IKEA. It is super sturdy, cleans up easily, and extends if needed! I can pull one of the sides out, pull out the top, and have an extended table that we use for large projects, birthday parties, and co-ops. (Picture from IKEA of it extended below.) Plus, as a regular table, it is a large enough surface for all my kids and their school books.
This table is technically a dining table, but I had my husband chop the legs to make it a smaller “kids” table. We cut the legs at 22 inches and there is plenty of room for growing legs. (I can easily sit at the table too.)
Curriculum/ Art supply shelf:
Although we have this beautiful schoolroom, this one bookshelf (3 Shelf Bookcase) is really all we need. This shelf holds all our curriculum and art supplies that we use every day. Each of my kids keep all of their curriculum in their own basket. These baskets make it easier to take our schoolwork anywhere (outside or somewhere else in the house,) and makes clean up easy! Everyone has their own basket and knows where it goes. This year I bought new baskets that are more sturdy and added a personalized keychain with their name. This bookshelf is right next to our school table.
On top of this bookshelf is most of our school supplies. Pencils, scissors, glue sticks, dry erase markers, crayons, and colored pencils are all up here. It is high enough so my youngest (2 years old) can’t get to them, but my other kids can reach easily. I keep our paint palettes and paintbrushes on the larger shelf so only I can pull those down when we need them.
The other side of the room has our piano (family hand me down.) These are my favorite maps for our schoolroom. They are super inexpensive and beautiful! I also keep our Montessori moveable alphabet here so it is easy to grab and use. Not pictured next to this piano is another basket of hot wheel cars and a metal basket (like THIS) that holds our most used toy; wooden blocks. I purchased a large outdoor Jenga set and my kids LOVE to use these blocks to build things all day long.
You do not need a specific room and all the things to homeschool. Many families I know just have one small shelf and do schoolwork at their dining table. Some kids have their own desks in their rooms or spread out in the living room. We have been blessed with the extra space and have accumulated all these things over years of homeschooling, yet are still very minimal. And although we have this beautiful room we don’t always do schoolwork in here as well. We move it outside, or all throughout the house.
Let me know if I missed anything or have questions in the comments and I’ll be sure to add it to this post.