Where DO We Do School?

Our schoolroom is slated for demolition.

It has served us well, but at this point our family has outgrown the need for a dedicated schoolroom.

When we built our house 20 years ago, it seemed like a great idea to plan for a schoolroom right off the kitchen and adjoining the living room. We filled it with the sweet antique desks my dad had given to each of the five children we had then. By the time my desk and a piano were added, it was full. And it worked pretty well for many years even as we squeezed in more and more desks. But even then my children tended to spread out far beyond the schoolroom. While they might do their math or handwriting at their desks, we'd read together in the living room, do science experiments in the kitchen. As the kids reaching junior and senior high, they began finding the quiet of their own rooms helpful, and we set helped each older one set up a more adult workspace.

These days a devoted schoolroom doesn't make much sense. With only four children at home, they use just about every part of the house for school. We have plans to open up this room into the adjacent living room and build in bookshelves and a window seat. Maybe this summer?

Since our kids rarely use the school room, where DO they do school?

The living room gets a heavy workout for both group discussions/classes and independent work.

Ben always grabs an apple before sitting down to read a good book

Since we heat with a wood stove, the living room becomes the place to be when it is cold. (Even for the animals.)

Ben often practices drawing parts of the world while I read to him.
We love these lap white boards from Rainbow Resource.

Vying for favorite room is the kitchen.

Often Ben sits on a stool at the kitchen counter, and I can be on the other side prepping a meal, peaking over to help him when he has a question. The girls also frequently end up here, usually working from their laptops. Amanda is taking speech, calculus, and astronomy this semester at a community college, so she's out of the house part of each day as well.

My room often gets used for online classes.

Note Faith's knitting? Pretty typical for my girls. Even in college classes.

And the girls have created spaces in their rooms to work, each building her own desk in a personal style.

This is Amanda's room:

Amanda built her desk and the table out of pallets

It doubles as her studio.

Here's Faith's desk:

Even with those fun desks, the truth is that often my older ones work from their bed.

And this is nothing new. Here's a picture from eleven years ago with Kara (a senior) and youngest brother Ben.

But as with all homeschoolers, learning isn't limited to the four corners of our house. Right now Paul and Ben and a friend are prepping for a regional SeaPerch competition, so we've been spending time testing their ROV at a local YMCA.

This weekend we'll head to another town for a practice run at an invitational, and then the following week it'll be on to the state competition.

ROV working through the obstacle course

Homeschooling offers such freedom! Freedom to teach our children truth. Freedom to teach using the methods we think best. Freedom to allow our children's abilities and creativity to grow without being squashed into group conformity. And freedom to work in both traditional and nontraditional environments.

Real learning happens all over the place, and homeschoolers can go there – wherever the there is!


Lydia said…
Thanks Anne! I hope those lovely old desks find a good new home. :)
Anne said…
Oh, the desks belong to our children, and hopefully more of them will start moving out as they get homes of their own. So far Kara is the only one who has taken hers. ;) (And my dad has started buying them for her children, too. He just really enjoys shopping for antiques.) Right now the rest are stashed in our family room and guest rooms. But it's fun to see how visiting children are drawn to them.

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