School at home seems to have become more “normal” than it used to be. Many families are struggling how to make virtual schooling work at home. Although not all families are traditional homeschooling families, I want to share some simple ways to organize your “school at home” or “homeschool” area. We’ve made a few changes to our homeschooling room (closet) which has made schooling more enjoyable and also more relaxed. The key to this …… homeschool classroom area organization.
The Room BEFORE
As a traditional homeschool family, our schooling area is not confined to one room or space. We school ALL OVER! Believe me when I tell you, we school everywhere. We school in the kitchen, the living room couch, the car, even the stable. Sometimes, school must come with us and sometimes, we spend the entire day sitting on our bed, learning and growing. It is super important though to have one designated space where all of your schooling materials need to be. Keeping this school area organized is the key to a smooth running school time and makes it so much more enjoyable for everyone. Homeschool classroom area organization is truly the key.
Our school room is really a closet. It is a large closet though, big enough for a full-size kitchen table or a bunk bed. (Yes, the owners before us had a full-sized bunk bed in this closet. Don’t ask.) There’s a large built-in when you first walk in. It is a great place to store all of kinds of things from books, to supplies, to you name it. And the room itself truly is a good sized room. It does not have any electrical outlets, nor does it have any windows. Nonetheless, it is a very good sized room to hold and store all of our homeschooling needs.
Now, let me say, YOU DO NOT NEED A SPECIFIC ROOM IN ORDER TO HOMESCHOOL WELL. Although it is really nice to have, it is NOT necessary. However, because we do have this extra space, we make sure we use it to its full capacity.
Entryway Built-In Unit
The built-in unit is very visible when you first walk into the room. When we first moved into our home, this area became the catch-all of the room. Filling the shelves was easy. We all would place things there and lay things on the ground in front of it. It quickly became messy. The shelves approximately 24 inches in height, much bigger than most books making for a bunch of wasted space. It was hard to find things as well because again, it became a catch-all for everything.
Organizing this space was pretty easy. On the top shelf, I used a crate which holds all of our “Which Way U.S.A.” books and odd-shaped items like flash cards or games. Crates like this are available on Amazon or at craft stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Joanne’s Fabrics. They are pretty inexpensive and easy to find. Using crates like this to group like items is essential in organizing.
I have also found that by stacking books in different directions can use the space better, depending upon the distance between the shelves. Here, we placed our American history books vertical while placing our science type books horizontal. This allowed me room to put more science books and to also keep them separated from the American History books.
We keep many of our supplies here. Things like pens and markers, the pencil sharpener, document protectors, paper clips and items such as these can be found here.
Our school room consists of two actual areas. The area when you first walk in is where our built-in shelves are located. There is a doorway opening off to the right after you come through the main door. On the wall to the left of the door way, we have placed our school name and logo. We also added the list of our United States Presidents, a calendar, and a wipe board. I feel it is important to have all of these items easily available for the kiddos.
Months before we moved into our new home, I had purchased a few plastic tubs. My goal was to use them for storing used curriculum. However, they were never used for that purpose. I decided to pull them out and use them to hold all of our art and music items. Placing all of these items together makes it easier to find. Again, gathering like-things together make it easier to locate when you need to use them for a class. Keeping it organized also helps me to know when we are getting low on supplies or have an over abundance. Keeping homeschool classroom area items together really is the key to a smooth running homeschool. Again, homeschool classroom area organization truly is the key.
Inside the Main Part of our Room
Almost every wall, including the ceiling, in our home is the same color. We call it “doo-doo brown”. It isn’t a bad color. However, like I said, it is EVERYWHERE, even on the ceilings. In a small room such as this, it was just too dark and made the room look small and drab. It was depressing. So, we decided to paint the entire room with Valspar’s “Light Rafia” satin paint. Y’all! It amazes me how quick a room can change with just a little bit of paint. This color lightened the entire room and gave it a brighter, happier feeling. It made having the dark furniture in the room more pleasing and comfortable to be around. The room needed a change so much that even my youngest was excited! She decided to help us by painting almost the entire area.
This area does not have any windows. Having no natural light is a terrible feeling. Unfortunately, there is no way to add windows as the room is entirely surrounded by inside walls. There is only one light in the ceiling which even had a dark glass cover. We decided to take out the ceiling light and replace it with a ceiling fan with a larger light attached. The fan helps circulate the air but also with a brighter lighting component, it made the room SO much brighter.
Although our kiddos don’t really sit in this area, I feel it is super important for each of them to have their own space for school curriculum, supplies, pictures, and things they will need throughout each day. It is important to me that they have a spot to express themselves and that is specialized toward their individual likes.
In the before picture, you can see that we have a full-sized kitchen table in the corner of the room. It was difficult to get more than one chair around the table in this position. It also was another catch-all for things because the back corner, up against the wall, was hardly used. The table became a place of “wasted space” because of how it fit in the room. Even now, looking at this picture makes me cringe. It is so hard to imagine that we lived with this table this way for almost 2 years!
One day, I had the idea that we needed to but the table in half. I asked my hubby if it would be done and of course, he said yes. We cut the table in half. Yes, you are reading that correctly. We took a saw and cut the table in half. My hubby attached a 1/2 inch strip of wood to the wall, into the framing or studs. He then placed the half table on top of that piece as a little shelf, securing it to that wood. This gave him something to attach the table to the wall securing. Both kiddos now have their own “desk” and space. It is super strong because my hubby attached it to the studs in the room. The legs are only on the front half of the desk. This has given them more leg room while sitting at their space.
Each desk area has its own shelf, a space our kiddos were able to decorate themselves. I always keep a picture of them from the current year in our school room. Of course, this really is more for me than them. I love seeing how they have changed throughout the year.
I was able to make them individual signs for their shelves as well. They both chose their own saying which is what makes them so special. My kiddos are so different! I feel allowing them to add their own touches in this area helps them to see just how special they are to us.
Placement is EVERYTHING
I have always thought it was funny how by just moving furniture around can make a room feel smaller or larger, comfortable or even uncomfortable. The room originally felt cramped, stuffed, too full. None of us liked being in there for long periods of time and the space felt wasted.
Moving the book shelf to the opposite wall really didn’t make the room feel too different as it took up the same amount of space on the other wall. However, moving the shelving unit allowed us to break the table up into two smaller tables, giving the area just a different feel. It opened up the room to use the space better.
We keep most of the kiddos curriculum and books on their individual tables. We used to keep their curriculum in a central location on the shelving unit. Although they were fine on the unit, it took up two whole shelves. It took away from room for curriculum that we are saving for later in the year or later years. It also took away from storage space which hold our extra paper and school supplies, like pens, Post-It Notes, white out, push pins, etc.
The Final Product
Honestly, (it’s hard to admit it here) I’m not the most organized person. I try hard but I’m just not. Now, we have an organized school room. I know exactly were all of our supplies and books are. School runs so much smoother than ever before. And our kiddos actually don’t mind hanging in the room more often. The room has a happier tone to it and the kids enjoy it so much more. Homeschool classroom area organization is the key to an easier day along with being a more enjoyable area for all.
Be sure to check out my YouTube Channel video linked here: (COMING SOON). It is an even more in depth view of our homeschool/school room area organization.