How to Home School in a Small House

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If you’ve spent any amount of time on Pinterest–and be honest, we all have–you’ve probably noticed an overwhelming number of posts about home school classrooms. They are always big, and beautiful, and magazine-worthy. And quite frankly, I think sometimes they can scare off families who are thinking about home schooling but only have  a small space to use for school.

Guess what? You don’t need a classroom to home school! And I am living proof of that. My house is pretty small–there are five of us living in 1200 square feet. We use every inch of this small space all day long. Besides home schooling three children, I am a director for Classical Conversations and I run an Etsy shop.  Sometimes my CC class even meets at my house.

So where do we home school in our house without a Pinterest Perfect classroom?

In the kitchen. This is our memory work wall.  In Classical Conversations, the kids learn memory work in six areas, plus they have the timeline cards to learn. We put each week’s memory work on the wall so it’s always within our sight–especially when we sit down at the table to eat!

On the couch. We did just buy a new couch so that we could all fit and sit and do school work together. Our old couch was just a regular one with three seats and it was getting awfully crowded. Plus we picked up this awesome coffee table at IKEA–it’s got storage inside and when it lifts up, we can use it as a desk! Then when school is over, it goes back to being a coffee table and our living room goes back to being a normal old living room.

Our new couch and coffee table, perfect for home schooling!

In my bed. Honestly, my favorite place to do school with the kids is snuggled up in bed. We can listen to memory work and audio books and read together while being cozy, comfortable, and warm (did you know that winter in Indiana lasts approximately 17 months per year?!? It’s a fact!)

Everyone crowded into my bed. There’s even a cat around somewhere!

Where do we keep school supplies without a gigantic room with walls and walls of book cases? Here. In one little closet. And of course, books being used daily end up in the coffee table storage area. But pretty much everything else is here. One of the really great thing about Classical Education, in my opinion, is that it is meant to be simple and not need lots of extras. 

What about books? Home schoolers have to own thousands of books, right? It’s a requirement! Not really.  Each kid has a section on our family bookshelf in the living room to keep books. If they get new books and things don’t fit anymore, they have to be willing to give up some old books to make room (exception: all the babysitters club books are stored in the attic because I’m too attached to them from my childhood to let them leave my house!). Obviously this isn’t enough books to cover a full education. But we happen to have an excellent library in our county. It’s 100% home school friendly. I can even send the librarians a list of books and topics we are studying and they will put together a box of books for us with everything on my list plus anything they happen to love that fits our theme. What?!? Who needs to own a gazillion books when you have that kind of service available to you for free? (OK, not free. Our library also has NO LIMITS on how many books you can check out and it’s pretty easy to end up with 37 books that are over due by four days…).

What about me? Where do I work and lesson plan and run my Etsy shop? Well, our bedroom had a rather large closet, considering the size of the house. So we converted it into my craft room/office. It’s a little crowded at times but it works. 

And since we don’t have a closet, we keep our clothes in here. This used to be a TV storage unit but we added a bar for hanging clothes and BAM, closet!

Converted Closet

Every home school looks different. We are completing our eighth year of doing this and are constantly tweaking things to make it work for our current needs.  My point is, you do not need a huge house to home school. You don’t need a dedicated room. You can get creative with the space you have and make it work! Do you make it work in a small space? Share how you do it!

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