Homeschool learning Areas|Organization Ideas & Tips|For Small Spaces
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
LET'S TALK ABOUT LAST SPRING!
Well, we all pretty much made it through the last of the school year by the skin on our teeth! I don't know about you, but I am now starting to think about the upcoming school year. I am in Northern California so I am pretty sure they aren't opening schools back up in the fall. I will have a 7th grader, 4th grader, and a pre-k student who needs to be kindergarten ready. I have learned some tips and tricks and want to share them with everyone!
What we learned from last spring's home school experience is...
Expect nothing! Having an open mind right now is essential for survival on all fronts. Throw away any preconceived notions you have about school and learning! Our family isn't drowning in space over here. We are a family of five living a city life in a two-bedroom apartment that's 850 sq ft.
I highly suggest assessing your space. Look around your place and figure out where the learning is going to happen. See your spaces differently. Space can be created in areas you might not normally think of. Be prepared to move things around. Be prepared to store, sell, donate, or throw out things that serve no purpose at this time. Think outside of the box!
As you can see in these photographs, we spent a great deal of time pushing everything around and seeing what we have, what we do and don't need, and finalizing placements for things. We went ahead and went through clothing, toys, and random items that accumulate over time. Keep, donate, or trash...let's go!
GENERAL RULE: IF IT HASN'T BEEN USED IN SOME CAPACITY FOR 30 DAYS IT CAN GO!
We eventually settled on moving our console table across the room and creating a dual desk situation for the older kids. It worked out because the console table had a built-in cubby that went all the way across it.
However, soon we came to realize this arrangement was less than ideal!
THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR IS HERE! LET'S TALK ORANIZATION IDEAS & TIPS FOR LEARNING AREAS
For this school year, which for us, starts in August we took all of the pros and cons we have compiled and turned them into a better functioning layout.
First and foremost our oldest kids must be separated! The side by side working was irritating for them! There was too much noise affecting their zoom calls. Also, having their backs to the living room did not work because there were times when our 4 year old ran out naked, my husband forgot he had no shirt on, or I just looked like the undead in my robe with my coffee in hand. Needless to say, we wanted to spare our children the embarrassment this year!
The brown desk stayed in the same area in the living room and became our son's. We just turned it around so he now faces outward-looking into the living room He's now tucked away in the corner, which he likes. We bought a new desk that is almost identical to our son's for our daughter. Her classroom space is now in their bedroom. Yes, the three of them share a bedroom!
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In order for her workspace to fit in their bedroom, we had to remove the fold-up couch, which we ended up putting outside for our outdoor learning space. We replaced the couch with the new desk, and a smaller round folding chair.
CORDS, CORDS, CORDS
This time around organizing cords is essential for my sanity! We bought these cord organizer baskets from Amazon. They hang from underneath the desk out of the way and virtually out of sight. They are pretty large so they hold lots of cords. We also bought 3M stick-on cord keepers, which work really well at keeping computer cords, tablet cords, and phone cords stationary.
Our 4 year old will be pre-k learning this school year, so now we have another student to consider. To prepare him we decided to sell the play kitchen he didn't really play with anymore to make room for a small desk in our living room. We found a tiny side table for $35 at Burlington that has a single drawer for pencils, glue sticks, erasers, and scissors.
AGAIN, THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.
The next order of business is assessing who needs a computer/tablet compared to what you already have. If you are lacking equipment the first place to look is your child's school. Most schools are lending out chrome books for use for the year. If wifi is an issue for you also check your school/district. You can also check your city programs for assistance with these things. Asking grandparents for old devices can also be helpful. I gave up my personal tablet for our little guy. I did a factory reset and bought him a cool and inexpensive tablet case from Amazon, https://amzn.to/32dIzSG
We especially like the kickstand feature. I downloaded some free toddler games from the play store (be sure to read reviews). I found a picture on Google images to upload to his home page background. As you can see he loves Mario Bros!
FOSTERING SELF SUFFICIENCY
Have snacks in a specific location for your kids to serve themselves. This can be on a tabletop, in a basket, cupboard, container, or whatever works for your particular space. For us, we always have fruit out on the kitchen table. We make sure to separate the bananas for the little one. We also have a low-level shelf in a kitchen cabinet for seaweed packs, bars, noodle cups, and popcorn.
I made our kids a word document that has all of their personal information on it like their school email, codes, and passwords for reading and learning sites. On this document, I also included a step by step outline on how to navigate Google classroom without my help. For our 9-year-old, I included an icon for Google classroom that I drew myself. This did take a good amount of time on my part, but it was totally worth it!
I went in ahead of time and added all courses and websites to their bookmarks and home screen bar, so that everything is there at their fingertips as soon as they sit in front of their computer. This limits how much input they need from me. You may have to remind your kids how to navigate the tools you have made for them for the first week or so, but after that, they should be working well on their own.