When I put together my Large Family Homeschooling Series, there was one topic I realized that I completely missed! How in the world do we find the space to homeschool all these kids? I mean, we don’t have a GINORMOUS house, we have four kids in one bedroom! Thankfully we’ve found some super simple solutions to help us create a large family homeschooling space that works (almost) perfectly for our family!
A Look Into A Large Family Homeschooling Space
The main factors we had to consider when creating a large family homeschooling space were our need for space to accommodate a bunch of little learners, a lack of rooms in our home, and Chris’s need for our house to stay clean and organized and not look like an elementary school classroom. With all of that in mind, here’s a peek into a large family homeschooling space that allows us to do school with the three boys, keep an eye on the two baby girls, and get some of our work done all at the same time! (Oh yeah, did I mention we’re a family of 7, and that my husband and I both work from home full time!?)
We’re Dining Table Homeschoolers
While I would love to have a separate beautiful school room, it’s just not a possibility for us in this season. We’re a family of seven living in a three bedroom house. We’ve got four kids in one bedroom, the baby in our room, and downstairs we have a “LuLaRoom” (basically an in-home boutique with all of our LuLaRoe clothing).
Our main floor is a completely open floor plan with a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Because of this, we’re dining table homeschoolers. We do it a bit differently than most, though, because we often have my husband’s dual-screen computer set up at our dining room table while we homeschool!
At the dining room table, we have a seat for my husband and me, plus the three boys. There’s plenty of space to spread out our homeschool projects and my husband and I have room to get some of our work done. The added bonus? We have that open floor plan, so Miss S can be running around and playing with her toys and Sweet C can be napping in her swing while we get our homeschooling done, and we can keep an eye on everyone at once!
Manipulatives and Supplies
One of the biggest struggles in keeping an organized homeschool space is what to do with all the manipulatives and supplies. When you’re schooling three kids, plus you’ve got a toddler to keep entertained, there’s a lot of manipulatives and supplies in a large family homeschool!
We keep a set of plastic drawers like these ones under our kitchen island. That way it’s directly in reach from our dining room table, so we can easily access it in the middle of doing school. In these drawers, we have our math manipulatives, play doh, Muscle Mover Cards, coloring and activity books, our favorite scissors and our I Can Cut! Activity Book, our maps, and other miscellaneous supplies we use throughout the day.
Our Homeschool Shelf
For everything we don’t keep in the plastic drawers in the dining room, we have our homeschool shelf. It’s a magical cube shelf from IKEA (side-note, IKEA is a miracle-worker for large family homeschools!) that has 16 open cubes. We use some of these fun canvas totes to create drawers in our homeschool shelf as well.
This homeschool shelf is in our living room, so we use it for all of our homeschool books and curriculum, as well as the kids living room toys and games. The three canvas totes in the bottom are filled with toys, and they’re on the bottom so they’re accessible to all the kids. We keep the legos and board games higher up since they require mom or dad’s help to keep them contained. Then in the middle are our homeschool books.
We keep our homeschool curriculum on here, both what we’re currently using and those we keep on hand that we’ll use again eventually. We also keep most of our books on this homeschool shelf. We have a lot of Dr. Seuss books, Magic Tree House books, Bob Books for A-Man, and American History Books from our book-based curriculum.
A Make-shift Desk for Alone Time
While we do the majority of our homeschooling at the dining room table, we learned early this year that Mr. C needed a separate space to get some work time away from the rest of the family. While we love to all learn together, he’s doing fourth grade this year and has a tougher workload, plus his two brothers are just starting to really “do school“. His brothers can be a bit loud and distracting, and sometimes he needs to get away to really focus.
But we still have the issue of space. With a completely open floor plan on the main floor and a bedroom completely packed with beds, finding the space for him to be alone was pretty difficult. Thankfully, my husband happens to be a Mr. Fixit, and we had an old dresser that wasn’t being used. We had put it in the hallway outside of the kids’ room for the time being (really, because we didn’t want to haul it down to the garage yet) and Chris got the genius idea of turning it into a makeshift desk!
Mr. C absolutely loves his dresser/desk, and he uses it a lot. He keeps his math books and his binder in one drawer, then he puts some of his other supplies in the other drawer. We’ve noticed him really making strides this year in taking initiative for his own schoolwork, and I think having his own place to go get focused work done has been a huge help.
The Library, The Park, Wherever!
On top of all these spaces, we also tend to be life learners. We are constantly doing school, wherever we are. We are trying to hit the library once a week this year to get new books for our unit studies. We just learned that our library does sensory-friendly playdates once a week, so we’re trying to go on those days.
We also don’t have a yard in our house, and, like I mentioned, we have FIVE kids. So, we go to the park a LOT. These kids have serious energy, and they need plenty of outside time to burn it off. We can do traditional lessons at the park, but more often we just find things to learn about while we’re there. One of our favorite parks is right next to the water, so we look for fish, check out the barnacles, talk about the ferry boats, and more.
Really, when you’re a large family homeschooling, homeschooling has to become a natural part of your life. As you can tell, our large family homeschool space is at home, at the library, in the car, at the autism therapy clinic, at restaurants, and more. You really can homeschool anywhere, even if you don’t have a huge home with a beautiful dedicated school room.
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