Homeschooling Setup and Organization for Small Spaces

Homeschooling Setup and Organization for Small Spaces

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In my years of homeschooling, up until recently, we have never had a dedicated homeschooling space in our house. We have always used our shared living spaces as a gathering place for our daily homeschool lessons. Over the years we have homeschooled in a house we owned, a rental home, and even in an RV! With a bit of planning, we were always able to make it work. 

If you are planning to begin homeschooling, or are homeschooling in a space that is small or compact, this post will share the ways I have adapted and organized my homeschool spaces over the years and what has worked for our family. I want to encourage you that with a bit of work and creativity, you can make adjustments in your space to make homeschooling work for you regardless of your floor plan or square footage. I will also share how we store all of our materials and how we make it work.

First, a little backstory: When we first started homeschooling, we did not have a space for a separate room for our homeschooling, so we homeschooled out of a space we created in the main living area. I kept some things in our living room, and others around the dining room. In another home we lived in, I kept everyday items in the dining room, where we would gather for lessons, and made storage space in other areas of our house.

While I’m grateful to finally have a homeschool room in our new home, one thing I've learned after talking to tons of homeschool moms over the years is that a homeschool room is really fun, but it's not necessary. It is a lot about how you organize the homeschool supplies, instead of having an exclusive space for gathering for homeschooling. Plus, I’ve found that even with a dedicated homeschooling area, your family will still migrate to other areas of the home and outside throughout the day.

In this blog post:

  • How to homeschool in a multi-functional space
  • My top tips for organizing your homeschool space
  • How to organize homeschool materials, supplies, curriculum, and more
  • How to store larger items for toddlers and preschool-aged children
  • How to display homeschool materials

Homeschooling in a multi-functional space

homeschooling setup small space

In general, my top tips are to make your school materials blend with your home decor, have things up high, be creative with your storage, and keep your materials as minimal as possible.

Blend your homeschool materials with your home decor

If you are creating a homeschool space that has another function – like a kitchen table or dining room – the key is to keep it tasteful even though it still kind of looks like a classroom. 

Even though you will likely end up displaying a lot of things for your homeschool, like a chalkboard, books, children’s artwork, lesson materials, and more, you can still do this in a way that aligns with your style so that your spaces are inviting and functional. In my home, I prefer for our homeschool materials to match my decor, go with my vibe, and still look pretty. If we entertain guests in our home, the homeschool space still blends in with the rest of our home, even though it is obvious we use the area for school as well. 

In one of our previous homes, we had a huge chalkboard on the wall behind our dining room table that we used for school. It was really fun! For more information, read this blog post on how to create a DIY chalkboard in your home.

Related: How to Make a DIY Wall-Size Chalkboard for Your Home

Keep some items out of reach

homeschool organization tips small space

As you work to organize your materials and spaces, one thing that has helped me as a mom of four is to keep some items out of reach for both my younger and older children. Instead of having everything where your kids can easily pull it off the shelves at their will, preserve some order by either physically keeping items out of reach, like with higher shelving, or by creating rules about what they are allowed to access.

Organize your homeschool materials based on how often you use them

homeschool supply organization hacks

What helped me was finding a way to organize the supplies I use regularly in my homeschool. This is the key to making small spaces work for you. I have items we use daily, weekly, and some things that we just get out as needed, like for projects or special occasions.

For our daily and weekly items, I created a system where curriculum and supplies are grab-and-go, but can also be tucked away easily. This helps keep a lot of the chaos under control. 

In our last home, we homeschooled at our dining room table. Every day my children would gather for breakfast at the table, and once that was cleared off, I would get out school supplies for each child and we would spend the morning doing our homeschool lessons together.

Create a storage space near your homeschool area

For me, it is important to have storage with our frequently used items near the space where we gather for homeschooling. This is where I store things that we utilize each week, but maybe not every single day. In our last home, I used a hutch that I found on Facebook Marketplace to store our curriculum, library books, daily supplies, and bins for each child’s ongoing crafts and projects. I kept this hutch just off of our dining area, in our kitchen! Even though the hutch was intended for dishes and china, it stored our items easily and blended in with our kitchen and dining space.

For my family, I found that the best way to make this work is to keep supplies in different grab-and-go baskets, making it easy to get out and put away supplies throughout the day. When we are finish with each item, we just put everything back in their designated bins and put them back on the shelves. This keeps our space cleared so we can move on to the next activity.

Here are the different things I like to keep tucked away near our homeschool space:

  • A container for each child to store whatever project they are working on, like knitting or woodworking. That way, when our lesson time is over, they can put away their projects without having to leave them out where they would clutter our space.
  • A shelf with bins of different materials we grab through the day, like modeling clay, beeswax, or wiki sticks. I love being about to pull out materials for my children to have something to play with during read-alouds or to model as we work through Treehouse Nature Study.
  • A shelf for larger Items that coordinate with our curriculum, like the whiteboards we used for Math-U-See, our Wonder of Nature Early Years Collection, and more.
  • Bins for art supplies like markers, watercolor paint, and oil pastels.
  • Printing paper, tracing paper, 3-hole punch, paper tray, and a pencil sharpener. (Our number one used homeschool supply is our pencil sharpener!)
  • Our Daily Rhythm Cards and other visual tools we use during the day.
  • Shelves for our curriculum, workbooks, and library books on rotation.

View my Amazon storefront for all of my favorite supplies and organization materials for homeschooling.

Related: 40+ Ideas to Engage Children During Read Alouds and Our Math Journey: Honest Reviews of The Good and The Beautiful, Masterbooks, and Math-U-See Curriculum

Even though a lot of these items are grab-and-go, which helps me to have fun supplies on hand for easy access, I do not allow my kids to access these supplies so that I can keep them organized and keep up with everything.

Select a storage space for larger items

Of course, in my family with both younger and older children, not everything we use fits neatly on a shelf or cabinet. In our last home, I used our pantry/laundry area to store larger items that we would often pull out for my toddlers to play with during our homeschool time. This includes games, larger art supplies we use less frequently, and toys. I stored these items in different bins above our washer and dryer. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked great and helped me get out and put away items relatively quickly.

Keep items on display in your homeschool space

homeschool display area ideas

As I said previously, in our previous home we used our kitchen/dining room table as our homeschool space. I love using open shelving to display all kinds of things we use for our daily lessons. 

I used open shelving to hang our display sheets, like poems or artwork from Treehouse Nature Study or Rooted Family Bible Curriculum. I also like to set out the library books that coordinate with our curriculum or unit study. Sometimes I swap out different posters related to the subjects we are studying. It makes for a happy and inviting space ready for school!

I also use shelving to keep items like chalkboards, whiteboards, and watercolor paints on hand. I use a large gardening basket to keep jars of pencils, colored pencils, markers, and other supplies we pull out during school time. 

Related: Homeschooling Supplies List by Subject

I also use this space to display larger items that we use less often, but I don’t mind having them out in the open, such as our world globe and folk song instruments.

For my teaching materials, I keep a basket of resources for myself at our table. This includes my homeschool planner and other teacher guides for our curriculum. I either have this basket on the table or off to the side if we need to clear the table for projects or mealtimes.

Finally, I keep a crate for each child’s school binders and our Mail Monday bin with supplies like paper and envelopes.

Related: Mail Monday: Language Arts Through Penpalling

Hopefully, this encourages you that if you're starting your homeschool journey or if you're finding yourself in a position where you need to homeschool in a tight space, it's possible and can be beautiful and fun. To see a full tour of my space, see the video below!

What are your tips for organizing your homeschool area? Let me know in the comments below.

2 comments

Treehouse Schoolhouse

Hi Coriander! That book is by the Smithsonian Institution: Natural History (DK Definitive Visual Encyclopedias)

Coriander

Good day to you! You have laid out some great ideas for homeschoolers in general here, with little or much space to work in. Would you tell me what book you have in the top picture, the one opened to splendid bird pictures?

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