This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own!
If I had the opportunity to have a dedicated school room…I wouldn’t take it. Sometimes the thought of shutting the door on our mess is quite tempting, but it’s that whole “shutting the door” part that I can’t get past. I’m not big on the traditional model of school. I agree with John Dewey that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” If I believe that my children learn best through doing and living, why would I shut them in a separate room, away from where we actually live our lives?
We gather around the dining table for meals, for games, and for learning. It’s the hub of our home so it makes perfect sense that this is where we go to connect. We read, we draw, we create, we discover, we discuss, and we grow here. Since this area of our home gets so much traffic and use I try to make sure I use this space wisely. I want it to be functional, yet look nice. I want our space to be inviting and peaceful. With this in mind, I’ve simplified a bit. Over the years I’ve collected quite a bit of homeschool paraphernalia. I’m slightly book obsessed and I have to admit I’m a sucker for boxes of crayons. (The smell of a new box of crayons is my favorite!) We have manipulatives and pencils and puzzles and paper galore. This year, though, I pared back a bit. I’m keeping the absolute basics in easy reach. The things that we use the most or those that bring a little beauty to our day are what I’m keeping out in our space. (Don’t worry, I’ve kept the extras but they’re organized and put away.)
On the center of the table I keep a few tools that my kids use daily. They’re artists, all three of them, so pencils and erasers are a must. (Somebody come sharpen all of these pencils for me!) We do a lot of one pagers, which I wrote about here, so we keep rulers and chalk pastels front and center. The stapler, scissors, and popsicle sticks are for the comics and stick puppets that my kids are ever creating. What I love most about storing items this way is that I can easily switch things out. Don’t use popsicle sticks anymore? No biggie. Just take them out and fill that section with something else. If we need the dining table for any other purpose I can just carry everything in the tool container to another room. Easy peasy.
Right behind the table is my desk and computer. This is where I blog, where I research, and where I pay the bills. I’m using a repurposed console table as a desk so my space is limited, especially since I have a behemoth of a monitor! I typically burn a candle when I’m working or when we’re doing schoolwork but I’m considering using a diffuser instead because I have a massive collection of essential oils on hand. Plus, certain oils are supposed to help with focus and memory and goodness knows I need help with those! haha I also have my planner and a small notebook on my desk. If I didn’t have my planner I’m not sure I’d ever know what day of the week it was! Everything I need to remember goes in my planner. I use the notebook to jot down random items…quotes I love, things I think the kids might be interested in learning about, to-do lists, etc. It’s pretty much a brain dump. A pretty one, though. lol I also have two framed prints right above where I sit so I can see them daily. They say “good vibes” and that is what I want to remember and focus on when we’re learning and living together.
Side note here…one thing I absolutely detest is messy cords everywhere. It drives me crazy to see cords and wires and plugs all over the place. I knew I needed an extension cord for the laptop station and I wanted something that was simple but sleek, something that would actually look nice in our area rather than stick out like a sore thumb. I wasn’t sure if that was even possible because all I’ve ever seen have been those ugly green or orange cords. I got lucky and found the best extension cord ever from Jasco! Who knew extension cords could be so stylish?! The decorative cording comes in multiple colors; I chose mint because it matches my desk. They also come in various configurations…you can choose between three grounded outlets, two grounded outlets and two USB ports, three USB ports, or more. They all have surge protection so I feel completely comfortable leaving everything plugged in. You can find it here: Jasco Cordinate. ( I have a gray Cordinate extension cord in my bedroom, as well. It’s attractive yet durable…perfect for plugging in my alarm clock and charging our phones overnight.)
Lastly, I have our nature center and laptop station in the corner. I found a great bar cart with locking wheels that is perfect for storing and displaying. On the bottom shelf I keep a laptop (the kids do their math online so one uses the computer while the other sits at the table and uses the laptop) and a portable printer. The top shelf will be changed out with the seasons or with our ever changing interests. Currently I have a chalkboard on display with the quote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I also have our nature discovery center set up here. The kids are so intrigued with the pieces we have strewn about and they love looking at them, touching them, and learning about them. Seriously, though, how often do kids get to hold snake skin in one hand and a butterfly wing in the other? I’m thinking I may switch it up soon and put a few living books on there for the kids to explore.
Simplifying and beautifying our homeschool area has been a great change for us. Now our space is warm and calming and we all truly enjoy sitting together to learn.