An At-Home Schoolroom (Getting Started in Homeschooling)

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This year is our tenth year of formal homeschooling. My kids and I know no different. Since FishBoy14 started kindergarten so many years ago, we’ve been “doing school” at home. And as such, we’ve always had a designated school room in our home.

We’ve lived in five different homes in those nine years and we’ve always been able to set aside space for our school’s headquarters. In several seasons it was a spare bedroom. Our kids have always bunked together, so we have often had a spare bedroom to use. In other seasons we’ve converted the formal dining room into a study instead.

Different families operate differently. This really works for us, so we’re sticking with it.

Furnishing an at-home schoolroom

Over the years our homeschool furniture has evolved as we’ve had time, money or resources to make it more suitable for our needs in a given season. For many, many years, we made do with cheap and/or castoff furniture that we acquired from others. (See Schoolrooms of the Past here and here.)

Last winter we were able to save some money to buy bookshelves, a desk, and a sofa table from IKEA. We’ve put these to work in our formal dining room.

Computer desk – We have a “school computer” where the kids take turns with foreign language, typing, math, or science software. It’s also where my bigger boys type up their writing assignments.

Book shelves – We have two bookcases that hold most of the resources we will use for the year. I store past years’ items in boxes in the garage until we need them again. We reuse as much as we can. I try to keep the shelves organized by subject and use, but that is a moving target. But, it’s in our best interests to keep all the library books together.

My planning binder goes here when not in use.

Sofa table – We’ve adapted a sofa table as a house for our kids’ cubbies. Since this table has four sections and I had four students (until this year), one section is assigned to each kid. Each boy has a binder, clipboard, and basket for holding the books that only he is using at a given time. The girls have a basket to the side that holds their books and clipboard.

Art wall – This is a new addition this year. In the past, I’ve taped drawings to the walls. My mom bought these frames a few months ago and I finally got them hung. I like the color they add to the room.

Table – I love this table. Years ago when we were deep in debt, hubs saved any blow money he got so that he could buy this (unfinished) for our anniversary.

It fits us.

It’s not much in terms of home or even school decor. But, it’s functional, it fits our needs, and I think it’s kinda pretty, in a sparse kind of way. I’m still teaching kids to line books up on the shelves instead of stacking them. And the table is a clutter magnet. But, I love having an organized home base for school stuff.

The kids do their assignments all over the house, but this is where we relocate things on a regular basis so that we know where to find them when we need them.

About this series – If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary. Coming up next time – A Typical School Day at our House

What do YOU do?

Do you have a dedicated spot for studies and homework at your house?

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  1. Hi Jessica, some really great suggestions here. Thanks for sharing. I will have to use some of these ideas 🙂

  2. I am very curious where you got your sofa table. This is exactly what I need! I’ve done “sofa table” searches & can not find anything like what you have, with the depth & shelving.


  3. The best part of homeschooling is doing what you want how you want. You said, “It’s not much in terms of home or even school decor. But, it’s functional, it fits our needs…” Isn’t that what it’s really all about? I think it looks really nice. I LOVE your large dining table. It’s big enough to spread everything out and still have room to work. We don’t need lots of room since the core of our homeschooling is done online (Time4Learning and VocabularySpelling City), but it’s always nice to have places for the extra experiments, crafts…

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Lovely, Jessica! I like how you emphasize using what you have, not needing the best-of-the-best, and both form and function.

    I salivate at the thought of having a school room. Right now, our “room” is the dining room table with a cabinet dedicated to our supplies. It’s actually not that bad, until little brothers come running through with toys or people are having fun in the backyard, two feet away from the french doors with a perfect view. 🙂

  5. I don’t homeschool but the idea of having a room like that in my house makes me drool. And every time you post a picture or talk about curriculum planning and the homeschooling binders you keep I can feel myself salivating. It’s the organization planning school supply geek in me. 🙂

    My house dream would be an office/studio of my own I could decorate however I want. Preferrably with lots of windows. It’s not to be in our house and we’re not moving. Oh well. I can live vicariously through you.

    1. Well, it’s definitely house-dependent. Since we don’t own this house, I hold it loosely. And am trying to enjoy it while I can.

  6. Your room looks awesome!
    When we started homeschooling we schooled around the kitchen table, then when we moved to a bigger place we had a “school room” similar to yours. However, as the boys have gotten older they wanted to work in their rooms at their desks. So, the workboxes and their lessons went to their room. This is working out great for us, cause my boys tend to argue. The youngest (10) thinks he’s older than his big bubba (13). Lol. So, the old “school room” is now my office, scrapbooking, craft, & tv watchin room.

  7. Love your school room! What a blessing to have an extra room for school. I’m curious… with your size family how to do you organize your children’s rooms? I have two girls that share a bedroom and I have been trying to think of ways to get it better organized. Any suggestions??

    1. I don’t really have any tricks, other than limiting their stuff. Each child has a bed and a dresser. We store off season clothes in Sterilite boxes in the closet. We currently have two kids per bedroom. But, in a previous house, all four boys fit in one room.

  8. Thank you for sharing! I believe we’ll start homeschooling in the next year or two, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn a very small office into a schoolroom. I know many homeschoolers incorporate school into “wherever they live” and others like a dedicated space. I’m of the latter mindset, so when’s work done, we can leave the room and try to turn off that portion of our brains!

  9. I love your room! I think it is very attractive in a modern, non fussy way. Our formal dining room really does need to be a homework, crafts room also; this is giving me good ideas. Thanks for posting!