Where Will I Teach?
We've been responsible so far. You've looked into your state's homeschool laws to be sure you were compliant. You've planned out your subjects for each student. Now, let's take a minute to have a little fun. Don't worry! It totally still falls under the category of "planning". So if anyone asks, you're planning right now, OK?
Where will you work? If you haven't been on Pinterest or even just searching images of homeschool rooms, you are probably a happier person for it. There are some amazing homeschool spaces out there. Many years ago when I first started homeschooling, you could find a lot of digital-camera snapshots of people's homeschool rooms online. No big deal. We got some good ideas from each other. Maybe you got a tiny bit jealous sometimes over a really nice space. But today? Oh boy. In today's Pinterest-worthy, Instagram filtered world, there are some really nice (and maybe unrealistic) homeschool rooms out there. Don't say I didn't warn you.
But you don't live in those houses. You live in your house. So we need to set up a space for you and your child(ren) to work. We can do this. Here are some must haves:
A table or flat surface (a bar, kitchen cabinet, etc.) to work on.
Paper and pencils.
A library card.
The internet and printer would be nice.
Some curricula. (Technically, I suppose the Internet and library would be enough, but some state homeschool laws require a written curriculum. True, you could write one yourself but there are many choices out there you will like.)
A place to store your homeschool stuff.
I'm serious when I say that's all you need. If something happened to our home tomorrow (God forbid), I know I could teach my children with these things. It's all you really need. However, there are some other things which would be really nice to have. Such as:
7. A map or globe.
8. A whiteboard or chalkboard and some dry erase markers or chalk. You don't really need one hanging on the wall unless you have multiple students. We use these personal white boards at our house.
9. Some basic school and office supplies for younger grades (glue, scissors, crayons, color pencils, markers, tape, staplers, sticky notes, a hole punch, a pencil sharpener).
10. Bookshelves (homeschoolers collect a LOT of books).
11. Binders, notebooks, or folders to keep work organized.
There are other things, but some of it will depend on what you already have at your house and what curriculum you end up using. Curricula will be a budget item unto itself, so don't go too crazy buying stuff until you know for sure what you need. That basic list at the top will get you started. Of course, if you have younger students, grab up some school supplies while they are on sale. A box of crayons is less than $1 during the back to school sales and nearly $3 later in the year. So stock up a little on the stuff you will obviously need.
Now that you have an idea of what will be in the space, let's talk about the where of it all. Do you have a room you could devote to homeschool? A formal dining room you rarely use? A home office that could be tweaked? An extra bedroom? We used a bedroom once and it was a really great space but I found I hated being stuck in that room for hours a day. Still, it was nice to have a whole room devoted to the stuff that comes along with homeschooling. And walking in there is kind of a non-verbal signal that "it's time to start school". Also, you can close the door on it on weekends or when company comes over and not have to think about school. So those are nice things.
Many homeschool families do not have an extra room. That's alright too. One year I bought our children plastic crates to keep all their homeschool stuff in and we stacked them in a corner when we were done. They were portable and we could take them wherever we felt like working that day. One child worked at a desk and the other mostly worked at the coffee table. They read all over the house--their bed, comfy chairs, etc.
Currently, we use our dining room. It isn't a formal, extra dining room. It's right next to the kitchen and it's where we eat our meals. We purchased a china cabinet from Facebook Marketplace and we store all of our homeschool books and supplies in that. So when school is over, we put everything away and it looks like a house instead of a classroom.
So there are many, many ways to fit homeschooling into your house, even if you live in a small apartment. If you don't believe me, just google some pictures of "small homeschool space". Then feel free to message me and I can show you what a non-staged homeschool space looks like. It might make you feel better!