How I Homeschooled in a Small Space

Have you ever seen those beautiful photographs of wonderful home-school-rooms, beautiful book shelves and lots of play space?  Little desks for everyone and masses of charming pictures and shelves groaning with equipment.

I find the pictures pretty scary because there is no way I can compete with that sort of setup.  In fact, when we had a big house and I tried using the family room for our homeschool room it only lasted a couple of weeks because it didn’t feel so comfortable for us.  So we went back to the dining table with a large ‘homeschool cupboard’ in the dining room.  That suited us; I liked everything being close, and there was a certain relaxed feeling to it all. 

Before the big house, we lived in a small living space and I always wanted more space.  Looking back now, I actually think there were advantages to a small living space, and just a few disadvantages which can all be overcome.

What I Liked About Living in a Small Space

  • A small living space is easier and more economical to heat in the winter months.
  • There is less space to clean and take care of.
  • You know where everything is and you are less likely to carry clutter.
  • A larger house costs a lot to maintain, and in your small space you are saving money every day just by being there.
  • A garden, yard or land takes a lot of maintenance and costs a lot to maintain too.

What I Learned About Using Small Space Wisely

  • Use a folding table that you can put out to work on when you need it, or better still, use the dining table. 
  • Have a special ‘working tablecloth’ that helps to delineate the work zone, and remove the tablecloth or change it for a nice one for meal times.
  • Make sure the children get some outdoor time every single day.  They need the exercise and fresh air and they need an opportunity to burn off some energy.
  • Don’t keep stuff that you ‘might need’.  Only keep what you really do need.
  • Be prepared to have less space for ‘beautiful things’ but keep a spot somewhere which will be your ‘beautiful place’ for a plant, a flower in a vase, a candle, a beautiful ornament or picture.  Really this is anything that makes you feel good inside when you look at it.
  • Store books on inexpensive book cases in the hallway. Paint the bookshelves the same colour as the walls and have good lighting.  This will help to prevent the hall feeling small and narrow.
  • Go up.  By this, I mean have bookshelves to the ceiling; you will fit a lot more books in the house on those high shelves.
  • Have a low table which can double as a coffee table or a children’s work table for the smaller children.
  • CHOOSE to be content in your small space.  It’s safe, it offers protection and to you and your little ones, and it’s yours.
  • Make good use of your library. You don’t need to own all the books you like.  And have a library book shelf or basket at home so that the books are tidy while they are ‘visiting’ you.
  • An eReader can save a lot of bookshelf space for you.  (Although personally, I much prefer to read from a paper book.)

 One day you may have your big house and lots of space.  And I can guarantee you will look back at your ‘small space days’ with pleasure, remembering the fun you had together.  So don’t wish away your small space days – go with the flow, and enjoy the good things.


How I Homeschooled in a Small Space — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. It has come at a great time as we are about to move from a large rental to our own wee cottage. I’ll be putting your tips into practice for sure.

  2. Thankyou! I frequently have bouts of house-envy, and reconcile myself to our wee home with thoughts of warmth and cost 🙂

    Love the idea of a ‘work’ table cloth and taller bookshelves!

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    I come ‘late’ here. I read it when you posted it and I never told you we do just the same. We hs around our dining table, and change tablecloths.

    My home is not small but it is not overtly big for Texas either. Though a two story, our AC bill is pretty economical. Our downstairs is tight. We have a living room we do not use much, just when we have company and to sit down and read, yes, the dogs are the kings of it. Then a kitchen and small dining by it making both an L with the living. We have four shelves downstairs, two in the living part, two in the dining room. Then I have two more shelves and drawers under a table top that connects my columns that divide the dinning and living.

    I thought I wanted a BIG house, LOL, but they are too big to clean. Even mine! My home is spacious but warm. Except by one room for guests that has shelves and its visited for books too, all our rooms are lived in, used and clean all the time.

    Thanks for your tips and sweet advice.