Don’t have a lot of extra cash to create that “perfect” homeschool room? Neither do I! Spending oodles of money on the perfect space would eat up most of my budget, and, besides, who wants to turn the entire home into some ugly institution? (Blech!)
Instead, our decor reflects our homeschooling goal: To make learning as natural and comfortable as breathing.
Actually, learning at home happens anywhere and everywhere. We might sit on the floor, on the couch, on the deck, or on the bed. We might not even sit at all, but run through forests and slosh through running brooks.
And spontaneity is one of our best strategies. One day we are pouring through books on Keplar and Newton, the next night we are outside with the telescope staring at the moon and charting the stars. We might interrupt a day of close book work with a careful study of a garter snake found in the garden. If the baby is fussy, we might spend the morning learning songs and hand motions to calm her.
That’s why we don’t have a specifically-designed homeschool room. Instead, we have a place in our home where we keep some specific things to facilitate our “school time” where we sit and read our Bibles, pray, sing, practice the skills of learning and spend oodles of time reading and discussing together. We keep supplies close because it is neat and convenient, not because we are prisoners to that specific space (the dining room, to be exact).
And nothing in the entire room is at all Ikea-ish. I don’t have a grudge against the company, I just don’t need it. My home decor is not all that planned, at least not by me. God brings things across my path, and I plug them into the scheme of the home. Most days this includes thrift store and garage sale finds. Other days it includes a piece or two picked up for free.
I have learned that creating a beautiful, warm environment is not about “making do,” but making the BEST out of everything I already have.
This is actually a very Biblical principle. Whenever we don’t have anything, God asks what we have in our hand. As we offer this very small something to Him, He multiplies it and makes it more than enough! (See 2 Kings 4).
To explain further, I would like to open up my home to you as an example of just one way to go about this.
As we take this tour, you will see that I have taken a hodge-podge of this-and-that and created an orderly cohesion that is both pretty and practical.
First, the view into our school room from the front door. We bought the couches, coffee table, and room screen brand new. Everything else was thrifted (from the rug on the floor to the flowers on the table). The bookshelves were made by a local craftsman, and there are encyclopedias, church histories, commentaries, etc. found among the books.
From this angle, you can’t even tell we homeschool at all!
Next, we have what’s in the nook area hidden behind the room screen. Here things become a little cluttery, but hopefully pretty as well as functional. The antique side board was a gift from an elderly neighbor, the Monet print was given to my husband by a bank that was redecorating.
To some it may seem odd that we keep the tea things in the corner, but we actually enjoy having tea while we are learning together. Oh, and you can see a portion of the mammoth over eight-foot-long dining table in the foreground (we use benches instead of chairs).
Here are some closer photos of the particular things we keep in this area:
On the opposite side of the dining room is another side table. This one was found at a thrift store outlet for only $20. Here are housed the children’s day-to-day things, kept in small tubs and labeled to keep them orderly.
Here is the bucket for our seven-year-old:
Of course, things in this room are not always tidy! We make many messes, but knowing where everything is supposed to go makes cleaning up a lot easier (I do take time to make sure everything is put away correctly, since all children take short-cuts…).
Also, it’s good to note that our furnishings and organization have changed many times over the last three decades. For many years we made room for play things that would entertain babies and toddlers. In this season we are focused on only girls, when in other seasons there were a number of young men among us.
No matter what stage we are in, I have been blessed by God with the know-how to maximize everything for learning and for beauty. Even if I don’t have everything according to current trend, I have more than enough of what I actually need. It is in the great contentment of knowing how much God truly understands my heart that I find the greatest joy.