During my “curriculum years” as I like to dub them (when Raven was in 1st – 2nd grade), I thought it was absolutely essential to have a separate room for our homeschool. The girls and I each had our own desks, we had a white board, there was even an area where Raven could turn in her assignments. Part of me wanted to feel like we were official. The other part of me was trying to imitate other homeschool moms that I admired.
But after we changed pace to a more relaxed method, I rethought the idea of a homeschool room. For the most part, a dedicated room sounds like a good idea. You would have a spot for all your books, you could leave projects out and not have to clean them up for supper, etc.
So why in the world would we consistently choose NOT to have a homeschool room for the past 6 years?
This post is linked to the dueling blog posts series at iHomeschool Network. Homeschool bloggers are taking on various topics while taking a side and “dueling” with other bloggers or even their readers!
Fellow blogger Amber shares why she does have a homeschool room.
1. We don’t have the space for a dedicated school room.
The number one reason why we have not had a homeschool room in years is we just don’t have the space. Since we move so often, and live off of the military’s housing allowance, we have made every effort to live within our budget. And that means we usually can’t afford a large house.
I know there are many homeschool families out there that can relate. Either you are a one-income family trying to keep on top of bills, or maybe you chose a smaller home in exchange for other benefits.
We also move often. That means that all our books, supplies, and furniture will be packed up and moved an average of every 2-3 years. And while we are moving we are living with family, or in an RV, or out of a motel. All that moving has helped us adapt to learning without a dedicated space. Life is our classroom!
In Kansas, we intentionally bought a tiny home to keep our mortgage down and afford other opportunities. In Korea, we didn’t have much of a choice about what apartment we lived in. And here in Oklahoma, we are allowed a 4-bedroom home. With 3 kids, two of which are quickly becoming teenagers, we just don’t have the space for a schoolroom.
And that is ok with us. Because I talk to people all the time who have the space, they have the homeschool room, and they hardly ever use it. There are families that use their school rooms all the time. But a lot of moms are just like me. They had the perfectly set-up room and it gathered dust.
2. Our learning is spontaneous.
And that brings me to my next reason. We would hardly use a schoolroom because learning in our house is rarely on a schedule! A schoolroom is a dedicated place you retreat to at a dedicated time. I love spaces like that. I have my own little nook in our master bedroom where I go when I need to study for my college classes.
But most of our learning happens in the moment. It happens in the kitchen, or while watching television together.
When one of the kids needs someplace to go study or work alone, they have their bedrooms for that. They each have projects and bookcases they keep in their rooms. So we don’t really need a schoolroom because we kind of use the whole house.
Our unschool room is the playroom where kingdoms are built and messes are made.
It’s the floor where thousands of works of art spring forth.
Where races take place, where sculptures are molded, and where plans are drawn out.
Our unschool room is the chair fort built in a morning. It is the cardboard house, the play grocery store, the pretend zoo, and the imaginative train built from plastic storage tubs.
Our unschool room extends outside, down the street, and to the uttermost ends of the earth
3. It would be too tempting to just collect stuff.
Our culture is one that is obsessed with owning things. Just think about it. Most Americans, in some tiny way, believe that the more stuff you have – the better off you are. Books = education. Stuff = success.
When Jay and I bought our tiny house in Kansas, we had been living in an RV for 4 months. We didn’t miss 3/4 of the stuff we had packed away. In fact, we forgot about most of it!
When we had lived in our tiny house for about 2 years, we decided to have our last child. And we looked around and didn’t know where to put him! It was then that we made a decision. We had too much stuff, we needed to purge, and we wanted to learn to live simpler lives.
A schoolroom does not scholars make. Stuff does not an education earn.
It took a long time for us to retrain our brains and learn that less is often more.
When it comes to homeschooling, I have learned that I don’t need it all right now. I don’t have to have the entire book series. I don’t need to buy the entire package. And I certainly don’t need a room dedicated to storing all our stuff. If it can’t fit in our simple dining room and a few closets, then we have too much.
How much does one family really need? How much homeschool material are you actually going to use in the next few years?
This last reason has probably become the main reason we don’t have a homeschool room. I’ve often talked about wanting a space to do our arts and crafts. But I know that if I had a room for sewing, I’d just get more sewing stuff. If we had an art room, we would collect art stuff. And those things aren’t bad. But not having a room helps us keep our projects in check, and our stuff to a manageable size.