Refreshed Homeschool space + Bookshelf Organization
In this post I'll share an overview of our space and also get in to the details of how I organize our bookshelves.
New year, new homeschool space right? Over the years I have probably shared way too many "refresh" posts, as I am constantly tweaking and rearranging our space. This need to switch things up extends to our entire house really, luckily I have a very good natured husband who adores me even with my quirks. I can't tell you how many times he has walked in to a room that is torn apart as I'm in the middle of re-arranging furniture. He just laughs and asks how he can help - I think resistance has proven futile in the 10+ years we've been together, lol.
Anywho, lately our school space has stayed pretty much the same. Our space is simple and budget friendly. It's not a huge room, it is approximately a 12x14 spare bedroom. I wouldn't consider theses changes major and this space has been working really well for us. You can see two of my earlier posts of how we set this room up on a budget here and here.
And yes I still have not finished painting the trim in this room! Yikes! It is on the list, but other house projects took priority, and then expecting a baby and preparing for that really shoved the trim down to the bottom of the list. Oh well, real life.
Two things really spurred the desire for a refresh of this space.
One, we outgrew the table we were using. It was also a folding table, but one that had a smooth "wood look" top. Would I love a large wooden table in here? Absolutely. But we had this folding table on hand, and I wanted to try this layout before investing any money.
Two, my husband bought me this larger desk so I needed to reconfigure the space for it to fit. I seriously need to address some cord management! I'm currently waiting for some cable raceways I ordered to arrive so I can tackle all that.
This desk is amazing, it is motorized so I can use it as a standing desk as well, which has been so good for my back. Our school space also doubles as my office. I've been working more hours this past year and with pregnancy especially, I started to experience back pain. Standing has been a perfect solution!
If we love this layout, we may invest or decide to build a new table. I set the desk and table up in an L shape which has been working really well. I love that I can have kids working independently while I am also working. I'm close enough to answer questions and make sure everyone stays on task, but we all have the room we need to get our work done. It has been wonderful!
I've had new homeschool moms ask if I think a "teacher desk" is necessary and quite honestly, no I don't. I don't do a lot of homeschool related tasks or planning at this desk. I think a lot of that depends on the curriculum you use - since mine doesn't involve prep or planning, I don't need a space of my own for that. This desk is mostly utilized for work, household things like paying bills, and my hobbies like blogging and YouTube videos. I will say a desk with a computer in your homeschool space can be very helpful, my kids do any computer work (typing, reading ebooks, learning games) at this station. So I wouldn't consider this my teacher desk, more of a mom desk/communal learning space.
I also added in some more seating - a comfy chair for reading and an extra side chair. Both of these get used a lot! I like to sit in the gray chair when I'm reading aloud to them or instructing a group lesson. The side chair gets used by everybody, but most often by my husband. He also works from home, and will pop in to the school room to have a short coffee break and chat with the kids while they work.
We moved our world and state maps lower so that all of the kids could easily look at them, and I am so glad we did! They are being used a lot more than they were before!
The last major change was moving our small bookcases across the room so that we could use them as a TV stand. We used to just watch any videos that we needed on my desktop or we would walk out to the family room. That is totally doable! We've added in more videos now that we are doing a few Master Books Academy courses and we had an extra TV after we upgraded the one in our master bedroom - so voila!
Now on to the bookshelves!
I'm going to separate this in to two sections. First our smaller bookshelves:
These two bookshelves house a lot of things that my kids have free range to get into as they desire.
One side is our "reading center". This set of shelves holds their leveled readers and chapter books as well as picture books for our littler learners. The top shelf holds leveled readers. The baskets hold chapter books. The second shelf also holds some leveled readers and picture books that my older children still enjoy reading. And finally the bottom shelf holds board books for my youngest two to pull from whenever they want.
The other side holds a variety of supplies. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue, tape, pencils, pens, paint brushes, paints, oil pastels.... etc. I like to have these in reach and readily available for my kids to help themselves to as needed for our various lessons and activities.
On the other side of the room we have three tall bookshelves that hold all of our current resources, manipulative, as well as some future ones.
We used to have "lockers" which were really just one shelf assigned to each child to hold all of their supplies, but each child didn't really need a whole shelf and it ended up in wasted space so we switched things up.
These two shelves hold all of the "individual" subjects for my four children. Each child has all of their workbooks and composition books for note booking. In the center of the shelf for my older two, we have pencil boxes that hold their math flash cards. In the center of the shelf for my younger two, we have a basket that holds letter and word flash cards, as well as a box that holds all of our Place Value Village manipulatives.
To the left of our individual shelves, are two shelves for our "group" subjects. I teach art, history, geography, and science family style. The top shelf pictured here holds our art curriculum, as well as my art supplies that are off-limits, or require supervision. I also have a basket of coloring books that help keep little hands busy during lessons.
The bottom shelf holds the reference books needed for America's Story 1, US Geography & Social Studies, and Elementary Zoology. The white hanging basket holds my Teacher's Guides for those courses.
This top shelf is my "mom" shelf. This holds books of a variety of different subjects. This is basically overflow from the bookshelf in our master bedroom.
These two shelves hold reference books and other resources. Some of these are for future courses and others are just additions to our home library. Either way, they all get a lot of use. I love having plenty of titles at the ready for my children to explore and plan to grow this over the years. The top shelf has bible/apologetics material on the left and history/geography on the right. The lower shelf has science on the left and miscellaneous on the right. The titles on the right are more for my younger kids, whereas the rest are geared towards my older children, although the pictures in all of the science books draw everyone in!
The top shelf holds sciences on the left, and bible/apologetics/and history/social studies on the right. The lower shelf holds language arts on the left and math on the right.
And finally, the very top left olds happy planner supplies as well as a basket for finished work to be checked. The second to bottom shelf of the first bookcase hold records, a blue bin for any papers my kids want to keep. Not school papers, but drawings, paintings, free-writes, etc. We sort through them every couple of weeks. The bottom shelf holds coloring books. Moving along the bottom, there is a black basket for computer paper. This shelf also holds clipboards and the hanging white basket holds the discs of completed school work for each child. The last bottom shelf to the very right holds more picture books.
Well there you have it! An overview of our school space and how we organize it!
Over the years we've schooled in the kitchen, dining room, family room, sitting room, etc. All have their pros and cons and I firmly believe you can make ANY space or amount of space work. A dedicated school room is absolutely NOT necessary - but I do appreciate having this space and having a "home" for all of our resources and supplies. Not to mention, have a room to spread out in is helpful. We still find ourselves completing work in different areas of our house from time to time, but I think it is helpful for us to have a space that is associated with learning. We come in here ready to work and focus on our tasks.
Do you have a school room? What works best for your family? I'd love to hear from you!
Until next time!