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With all the talk about project time and having a space carved out for working, I thought I would share with you our workspaces.We finally found a spot for J8 to do his many tinkering tasks and I’m ready for the big reveal.
Our main goal was to establish a place for each child to call his own for projects.
R13 has had an art desk in her bedroom for years. It was a gift we built for our creative girl for her birthday. The boys had some shared space at our old house, but the move last summer open up more possibilities. Additionally, each of them started doing more project work. We had the tables before, but had not established them for project work until we moved.
We inherited two more tables as part of the move and we set them up in the basement for the boys. The basement is warm enough, even in winter and it is a great location for the type of projecting they are doing which involves paint, solvents, glue, and construction materials.
Why did we make their own space a priority?
- The less we disrupt a project in process, the more depth we can see in the product.
- When each child has her own space, they can plan and implement without worries over workspace.
- Tools of the trade don’t have to be hustled away, so there are less interruptions to the work sessions.
- Our kids love to retreat to their project spaces to do work whenever time allows.
What goes into creating a workspace?
- Provide a work surface– tables are easy and we’ve found a lot on craigslist (as we search for bookcases!)
- Provide the tools for the job– what is your child working on? What do they need to do the projects they want to do?
- Provide ways to display work– so kids can see their plans and finished pieces along the way. You want plenty of reminders for inspiration. I love that about my own workspaces.
- Remind kids of any boundaries– For example, J8 would choose to mix any household material together if he was allowed. For safety reasons, he has to get authorization on certain projects.
- Limit the number of rules for the space– outside of safety, you’ll want kids to feel free to try things and figure things out. Too many rules will put a damper on investigating.
- Choose a location that is right for the type of work– you don’t want a nice, carpeted room for paints and saws. Consider where you will be more relaxed when they are working!
- Make a space– even one small card table is better than no space at all. Having lived in a small space for many years, I know a portable table and a plastic box for each of my boys would have been a great alternative if they could not have a permanent spot. Kids’ rooms make a great place for a corner to call their own. Think creatively!
What about workspace for parents?
- Moms & Dads need work workspace too!
- We model project time by engaging in our own space.
- Having space for our own work gives us purpose.
- Workspace may vary depending on the project. Dads may have workshop type space for handy work and a desk for other sort of work.
Once you’ve got space and parameters defined, it’s time to let your kids work, research, and create!
Watch the evidence of good work appear. I like to be available for consultation and mentoring, but I try my best not to offer too many suggestions. Problem solving is a great skill for kids to practice.
You might enjoy some blogging results of some of our kids’ projects. R13 blogs at Miss Bliss where she shares her creative pursuits- the blog won a blue at the county fair. E14 blogs in two places. BrikSmith Customs is where he catalogs his work from his workspace making custom Star Wars minifigs, although it appears he’s making them more than blogging about them. He recently started a writing blog called Of Bows & Arrows, Swords & Spears which also won a blue at the county fair. They collaborate quite a bit on these blogging efforts. R13 is gifted with composition on pictures while E14 is great on the editing end. They trade skills which has turned into some fun blog headers for them both!
What about common project space?
In another post I will share the areas in our home which are common project areas either for materials and supplies or for collaborative work.
For additional thoughts on project workspace, enjoy reading Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners I love Lori’s approach to kids’ work and how we can facilitate good project work with our learners.
Thanks for joining us. Happy projecting!
love seeing all your spaces! 🙂 i’ll be sharing on the PBH blog & with the master class!
Thanks! The master class sounds like a lot of fun.
What do you suggest for smaller homes? Maybe portable workspaces or combined workspaces?
Nita I would say portable workspaces, but nothing too cumbersome because then it’ll be a pain to move around and set up.
If my guys were as into projects like they are now in our last house, I would probably have a large table set up for actually working and then a spot where they could store things easily- a nearby bookshelf or a plastic bin that is stored under the table. You want it to be as quick to set back up as possible.
Also, I probably would have worked to organize our small basement better so that we could have left the tables up for them to work. We parted with a lot of things to prepare our house to sell and I think we could have done it if that is what we set out to do.
I love how you and your husband each have “project spaces,” too, so you can model the behavior you hope to instill in your children! You’ve inspired me to work harder to set up a sewing area for my daughter.
Thanks Heidi! I hope the sewing area is much loved by your daughter!
Thank you for sharing your work spaces. We’re constantly packing and unpacking project material because we don’t have designated space. Our projects are constantly interrupted to clean up. I won’t even unpack my new sewing machine because I’ll only have to clean everything up in the midst of working. Looking forward to incorporating some new ideas.
I hope you can find space for leaving projects out- it does make things so much easier. Take out that new sewing machine!
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