It’s time to share our learning spaces with everyone! We’ve been homeschooling for eight and a half years and our learning environment has changed a lot over that time. When E14 first started homeschooling half way through first grade, we had just one small table in our living room and a bookshelf for his school things. As we added more children to the official homeschool roster, we added books, larger tables and we dedicated part of our playroom to homeschooling. Last year when we began looking for a new home, we knew we were looking for some place special. It had to have space for our learning materials, our homeschool library, and our project spaces.
Requirements for Our Learning Environment
Our focus is not to recreate a school classroom in our home. However, with four kids immersed in learning throughout the day, it’s hard to miss that we homeschool. Here are a few “must haves” for our learning spaces.
- Bookshelves for our homeschool library- while we do use the public library extensively, it’s important to have a variety of print material in our home. Bookshelves are essential.
- Media Area- for the computers the kids use for school and projects. We keep them in the media room.
- White Board- classroomish I know, but I often use it for explaining things. Or to write down assignments and reminders for the day. And sometimes the kids work problems and their own explanations on the board. I keep portable white boards on hand too for working math problems and playing games.
- Large Table- for school work and projects. Though the kids can go to any area to do their work, they often work there together. We put it right in the large window so there would be plenty of natural light.
- Storage Cabinet- or closet for homeschool materials that are not books. We have one large wooden cabinet which was a very special gift from specials friends and we have bookcases in our basement which hold everything else.
- Project Work Space- We wanted to provide a place where each of our kids could work on their own and plan and work on projects. Click to see how the kids (and parents too!) have set up their project workspaces.
Using Walls for a Homeschool Learning Environment
While it would be homier to not use posters and maps on our walls, the extra immersion is great for growing minds! The only thing I’d change? I’d put wooden frames around each one if I could!
- Maps- both US and World. I’d love a large physical map of the world too. We have a laminated set I bought at Staples many years ago.
- Periodic Table of the Elements- I went for the one that has pictures of the actual element by Theodore Grey.
- Calendar- a regular wall calendar is all you need, but I was compelled to buy a pocket calendar. I do not have calendar time! Conversation about the calendar has successfully taught all of my children the nuances of the calendar year. However, I love the calendar printables from Carisa at 1+1+1=1 for a fun fact finder and theme. Since J8 is starting his entomology club, I put the insect theme in for August.
- Bulletin Board- for student work and other displays
- White Board- previously mentioned. I also love a good chalk board and had both up in our old learning space.
- Student Work- on display this could be work hard earned, work done well, and art work. Love to display art work.
We make ample use of technology in our homeschool. Here are a some examples:
- Computers- two desk tops and a lap top for student use.
- Open DNS- is the filter we use for content at our house. It’s not perfect, but it works well.
- LEGO NXT- we’ve had NXT for many years. Our kids are active on FIRST LEGO League Teams and Dan coaches. We are eager to be able to purchase the upgrade EV3.
- Project Time- can include programming the NXT, Scratch, Alice, and other programming software for kids. Other software applications for word processing and presentations are encouraged.
- Digital Microscope- We have the Intel Qx3 which is a nice video scope and can take stills and video of the object.
Tips on Using a Homeschool Library
We have books in almost every room of our home. Here are a few tips on handling homeschool books and making sure they get noticed and read:
- Rotate books- especially if you don’t have room for all the books to be out or on a shelf
- Reference Books- should be easy to find and use. We have a magazine rack that is our reference shelf.
- Library Shelf- to shelve books we have borrowed from the library.
- Display Area- this is the top of the library shelf for us, but I use it to put out books I want the kids to notice and leaving the book open is very inviting!
- Coffee Table- is a great place to leave books you want kids to notice. Both the coffee table and the display area never fail to promote interest in a book. Try it!
Other Learning Environment Links from Blog, She Wrote
Take a look at these other posts on our learning spaces- they are all still in use today.
- Homeschool Library- more detailed instructions on color coding book genres and how to organize the books. As soon as I have time, I’d like to update this post to include our new home library.
- Our Supply Cabinet- this is where we store our paper and art supplies for school. This post gives a list of what we have on hand in there.
- Learning Spaces Full Tour- from last fall. Things look nearly the same thought we’ve added more books!
- Displaying Art- a post on how we use student work all over our home.
Thank you for joining us today at Blog, She Wrote for a look at our learning environment. Please sign up to receive updates in your inbox so you don’t miss the rest of the Not-Back-to-School Hop and the weekly Geography Quests here at Blog, She Wrote!
Visit other homeschool bloggers to see their learning spaces this week.