When we started homeschooling, 17 years ago, we had three kids and a two bedroom home with very few cupboards.  We started out very much with the idea of setting up school so with that in mind, I added a tiny little school desk to our entryway, making that our school room.  It didn’t take me long though to reach burnout and reconsider how I did everything.

A few years later we added one more child and a substantial extension giving us a family room – and cupboards.

Once I had this space I realised I didn’t actually want a school room; instead we wanted our whole home to be a place of living and learning. That being said, I also knew we needed a central place to keep organised and focused.  Looking back our family room has become a hub of productivity, a place of fond memories, and the center of our learning.

Key components to making our family room a place of productivity and learning – which will also work if you don’t have a set-aside place for your learning:

  • The Table – we gathered around this table every morning. It brought us together and to focus.
  • Every person had their own learning tools. Each child had their own pencil case and other learning tools such as rulers and staplers etc.
  • Flexible storage systems. Each child had a office-tray and a file-box for their study materials.  They kept the tray on their desk, and the box under their desk.  In their tray their kept things they used all the time.  The tray went under the table, on top of the box when they were done studying, leaving the table free for creative projects.  If we had friends over the box and tray went into the kids room making space for a large dining table or games table.
  • A place for completed work. I taught the kids to file their work at an early age – they would either glue it into a lapbook, or file it in a ring-binder.  We filed their work at the end of each lesson, which meant paper didn’t build up and get lost.
  • Unfinished Project boxes. We found it frustrating that the kids would work on creative projects in the afternoon, but have nowhere to put them so we could then study the next morning.  I bought each child two boxes for their unfinished projects.  If they had more than could fit in those two boxes they had too many projects on the go.  Occasionally a project was too big for the box and we found another place for it but that was the exception more than the rule (except for Daniel’s Lego which we found another table for)
  • Make learning tools accessible. The benefit of each child having their own pencil case is that they can sit and colour/draw whenever they want and they don’t need to check with mum.  Asking mum for everything is restrictive so I taught them to use learning tools and creative resources properly, and to put them away when they were done.  When they could do this they didn’t need to ask to use it.  But for that to work I had to have storage systems that worked.  I found using boxes very helpful – each activity was in a box – be it toys, art supplies, notebooking materials and tools,  or science experiment equipment. I initially had these boxes stored in a bookcase, but then had cupboard space for them.
  • How you decorate sets the atmosphere. I didn’t want my walls to look like a school room, so I kept posters such as ABC’s and Times Table to small individual posters that the kids kept in their trays.  Instead I used my walls in my family room, as if it was any other part of my home.

The major key for creating a family hub was that this room, and everything in it – the books, the building blocks, paints, maps, science box, board games – everything, was used at any time of the day.  We had set study times and those things where used specifically at those times, but the tools and the room where used in our kids independent free time (project time) as well as their free time if they chose.  We didn’t want learning to be compartmentalised in our life, so we didn’t compartmentalise our stuff or our space.

One of my fondest memories is taking my scrapbooking down to the family room on a weekend.  I would set up my own table, and be with my kids as they did their own thing.  They may have been writing, or building, or sewing, or drawing, or making cards, or reading, or playing a board game together … but we were doing it together.  This was what this room was made for – doing things together whether that was learning, creating or relaxing.

We are at a place in our family life where we are rearranging our family room.  The purpose for this space is changing.  We no longer have four students needing study space – they now have a desk in their own room, and they use laptops anywhere in the house.  Just this week Naomi dismantled our central table.  Bit sad – so many fond memories – but bit exciting too as we rearrange our space to meet our needs.

Further Reading

Make your family room your learning room.

Not back to school blog hop

School Room week

I wrote this blog post for the ihomeschool Not Back to School Blog Hop – this week homeschoolers are talking about their school rooms.  It’s like an invitation into a long list of homeschool homes.

Also sharing and linking with others throughout the week:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Mom’s the Word, Mom2Mom, Mummy Mondays,  Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),Women with Intention,  Whole Hearted Home,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool LinkupTip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

Thank you for joining me. You have successfully subscribed and will receive an email from me shortly. (You never know which folder emails will land in so keep an eye out for my "Thank you" email.) Stay in touch... Belinda - Live life with your Kids!

Download your worksheet and start working on your family vision statement.

Get the Family Vision Worksheet

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

Get a copy of the Jelly Bean Story

I will email you a download link.  You can print and share this story with your kids and their friends.

The download link is on it's way.

This parent guide helps parents plan family bible study and use discussion techniques to teach the important lessons.

Bible study Guide for Parents

Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts. I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Obedience looks a bit different as our kids grow older. Download this parent/teen discussion guide to understand this issue of obedience in teen years.

Download your Free Discussion Guide

Don't assume your kids are rebelling - instead talk to them about what Obedience looks like now they are older.  I will email you a download link.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Over 20 different verbal expressions divided into heart or self control to help parents discern these behaviours.

Download your Cheat Sheet

I will send you the link to download this cheat sheet that will help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Free email course -

6 days straight to your inbox!

 

 

Plan a Christmas that touches the heart of your family.

Thank you for being here - you will receive an email shortly.

Pin It on Pinterest