Saturday, August 28, 2010

Atmosphere Schmatmosphere...

Schoolroom or no schoolroom. That is the question...

Our school has played out in many rooms of the house over the years. I've never felt the need to set up like they do in schools with actual kids desks and a large desk for the teacher. The closest we came was some posters on the wall in the dining room when it was my art room, and part of the art shelf held our books. The rest of our supplies: school pencils, art supplies, etc.. were in an old wood jelly cabinet in the hall. We used the art table to do our work.

Now the dining room is back to being a dining/computer table room with a nice sideboard that is stuffed to the gills with last year's school books, papers, reports and all my bills stuff. Yes, I have not cleaned up stuff from last year. I'll get to it eventually. 

The room has been recently painted and artwork has been added to the walls. No more homeschooling posters, no more charts. I found that we didn't use them mostly EVER. So what was the point. Just to look like a schoolroom?

This year, seeing as I'm down to one kid and we're trying the new Charlotte Mason method, we have less  items to use. I'm not using textbooks right now, just books from the library, bible, hymnal and some printed sheets. We keep doing school on my big king size bed so today while cleaning up the week's schooling, I gave in and dedicated a drawer in my dresser to the homeschool cause. 

(See the second large drawer? I shared it for storage.)

(Current homeschool 'table', my bed.)

However, lately I've been seeing pictures of all the homeschoolers around who are getting their homeschool years started. Some have posted pics of their school rooms. It makes me think, is atmosphere important for a better learning experience? If things are organized by containers instead of shoved in drawers, will they grow up to be little organized beings? If a child is sitting at a desk surrounded by schooling papers and books does their knowledge grow exponentially? Am I stunting my children's growths by not providing this atmosphere? Just curious...

I've always tried to let the children find the space that was comfortable for them. Beds, couches, tables, floors. There have been a few seasons where I made them both sit at the kitchen table to actually get stuff done because much dilly-dallying was going on and we were behind. But for the most part, any room was game for some schooling. But seeing everyone's pretty rooms, I keep thinking maybe my little one would enjoy having many manipulatives on hand, and being able to find a pencil without having to dig through a drawer. We do have a designated spot for library books, let me tell you, this idea was a lifesaver. I don't know how many times I would get all set to go to the library and we couldn't find half our books because they were stuffed under beds, piles, laying on tables, under pillows, in the bathroom, stuffed among the cookbooks or hiding in drawers. Now, they can be found. This also means I pay less of the librarians' salaries since we're late less. Don't get me wrong, we're still supporting them with regular 'paychecks'.

Here are some examples of wonderful homeschooling rooms:
Pioneer Woman (last year) and this year
Child Led's Homeschool Room
Molding Minds Room
Heart of Wisdom Dining/Schoolroom (they have my cat!!)
Learn As We Go's Classroom
Our Tidbits of Learning Room
Satori Smiles Homeschool Room Photos
Joyful Chaos Room
My3Boybarians Homeschool Room (I want the built in shelves!!)
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Classroom
Counting My Pennies Room & Organizing Tips
The Painted House's Before & After (stunning!)
Warm Cup of Coffee's Rooms

KatieScrapbookLady's Pics of her room are great!

Seedpod's room is scrumptious!

Okay, this might come out wrong but should I set up a classroom if I only have one child to teach (the teen is off to college during the day)? I see the benefit of having a room for multiple children since they have different programs, curriculum, supplies, etc... but for one child it seems frivolous. But then am I penalizing her just because she's a classroom of one? Hmmmm, so many things to think on.

I asked this question of my homeschool comrades at the HomeschoolSpot forums and here are some of their responses:
Jenny: Well, we will soon be moving into a new house, & today my husband suggested using one of the basement rooms as our classroom, and it really got me thinking. I was thinking about how dingy & dark the room was, how cramped it felt, how creepy it was... & I decided that I would much rather have school stuff cluttering my dining room then making my kids go down in to the dungeon. lol. I do not think my ds would have done well down there at all. We will have a classroom space set up upstairs, where it's bright & sunny & you just feel like you're living. We also do a lot of reading on the couch, etc. I think comfort, good lighting & a positive feeling in the room are key to having great things happen during at home homeschooling.

Birbitt: Sure atmosphere matters, the more comfortable the child is the easier it is to learn! We often do our reading snuggled on the sofa, or my bed. They write at the dining room table or on clipboards on my bed, or their bed, or the sofa. Many days we have school in our jammies just because we can. They learn better when they are comfy, and what's more comfy than your own home?

What do you think?

I found these interesting articles:
A Homeschool Room
This is NOT a Schoolroom
Homeschool Room Makeover
How to Design a Homeschool Room
A Video on Organization for Parents & Homeschoolers 

Do YOU have pictures of your Homeschool Rooms to share? Feel free to add a link to your blog post and pictures here!

5 comments: said...

We have a classroom, but we don't "just have school in the classroom" We (usually) use it for about 30 minutes a day for our "formal" school, and then use it for the artsy-crafty (aka MESSY) things! LOL

But we do school everywhere, living room, on the couch, int eh floor, outside, wherever!

Mel R said...

I had a designated school room for my daughter for about three years. It was an extra upstairs bedroom. It looked nice and was a great place to store everything but honestly, we'd get kind of claustrophobic in there after an hour or two and usually end up next door doing school on my king size bed. So your post made me smile. :-) Now we are in a new house and I didn't find a need to create a designated school room. We have an upstairs living room that we all find comfy so I keep the school stuff up there in the hall closet and school is just done wherever...the sofa, the coffee table, floor...still though I love to look at other people's lovely rooms!

beckyboop said...

We have a den that acts as our homeschool storage area/office, but it's just for that. We keep all the books and paper and art supplies there, but we do school mostly in the living room on the couches or the floor. If we need to have nice handwriting, we sometimes sit at the kitchen table. All of my kids have plastic lap desks, which get a lot more use than any real desk. LOL!

Jamie said...

Hello,from Indiana.I love your blog and I am commenting about the schoolroom situation here.We are a family of 39only one child) so YES the teacher in me wants the whole schoolroom thing but I am sharing the dining room with our computer room and some book shelves.I am very picky about where things go though.I am learning to deal with what God has given us.Please feel free to stop by and visit our family blog.I posted pictures of our school room.

angela | the painted house said...

Thank you for the linky love to our homeschool room! We have been loving it and it works so well for us. We do a lot of work in here but also move around to the living room for reading or the studio for messy stuff. :)

Thank you again for sharing!

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