If you browse Pinterest for the term homeschool you will undoubtedly run across drop-dead gorgeous homeschool rooms dedicated solely to learning. The cutest ones I’ve seen have small desks and chairs in a perfect row, student work hung on the wall, an alphabet chart running close to the ceiling, orderly book cases or cubbies, and a welcoming rug on the floor. There may even be a cozy reading nook with soft cushions or a bean bag chair. It's enough to inspire jealousy when you compare that vision to your dingy bookshelves crammed with paperwork and a crumb-laden kitchen table that doubles as homeschool desk.
But is a dedicated homeschool room what you really need and want?
While these rooms are adorable, they’re not necessary for all families. Before you create your own homeschool room or go mad with envy, ask yourself these questions.
Do you have the space?
If you live in a smaller house, have a large family, or entertain frequently, having a dedicated homeschool room may not work for you. Can you afford to lose an entire room of your house for everyday living so you can have a separate homeschool room for nine months out of the year? When your children are in lower grades, the amount of time that you devote to homeschool will likely be half a day or less. Is that amount of time worth setting aside an entire room of your home to be unused outside of school hours?
How do you homeschool?
If you homeschool using the one room school house approach where all children are learning the same topic with varying degrees of difficulty based on their ages, a homeschool room may work perfectly. However, if you’re teaching most of your children different topics based on their grade, a homeschool room may not be the best option. Your older children may be distracted while you’re working with your younger children, and working in different parts of your home is a better way to manage the lessons.
Where do you and your children like to work?
Do you like to cozy up on the couch while you and your children read their BookShark read alouds? Do you like to prepare food in the kitchen while the kids finish up work at the dining room table? If so, you may find a dedicated homeschool room restricting.
Do you dislike looking at homeschool clutter?
Let’s be honest. Homeschooling, especially if you have several children, creates a lot of clutter. There are the many books, of course, plus the plethora of binders, folders, manipulatives, maps, etc. If you like your home to be tidy and look like a home — not a schoolroom —, having a dedicated homeschool room may be best for you. All the school materials will be in one specific area, freeing the rest of your home for living.
How old are your children?
If you have young children, a homeschool room may be a great way to keep distractions at a minimum and help the children focus. However, as kids get older and need less supervision, they may prefer to work in an area separate from the rest of the family.
While dedicated homeschool rooms are adorable and can work well for many families, make sure you ask yourself these important questions before creating your own dedicated homeschool room. There is nothing worse than going through all of the effort and expense to create a homeschool room only to find that you rarely use it.