Our Homeschool "Classroom"

Some people dream of fame, fortune, or world peace. I dream of one day having a single room in our home devoted to nothing but homeschooling. Alas, though, our family doesn't have a house that will accomodate my dream yet. So for now we homeschool in our dining room which just happens to be the largest room in our house since it connects directly into the kitchen.

I wanted to share a glimspe of how our "classroom" is set up. Since this is a double-purpose room (there is no bar or breakfast nook, so we eat every meal at the dining room table), our homeschool area has to be easy and quick to clean up, organized, and everything needs to be easily accessible.

There are some changes that I want to make to our dining room setup, but those will have to wait for Monkey to get older (you do NOT want paint/craft supplies where he can reach them right now!), and I save up some money for one of those awesome Expedit shelf systems from Ikea.

Update: I did not wait until Monkey got older...I did not buy the Expedit shelf system (althought I still love them)...I made $300 at a recent yard sale and used part of the money to buy a cubby system and bins from Target instead. Picture of the new system is in the post below!

On a typical school day, this is what the dining room looks like with Chipette working on school, Magpie is putting together a puzzle, and Monkey is playing in the backyard:

The colorful bins that you see on the table hold the girls' weekly binders, school books, workbooks, individual marker boards, and pencil cases. Here is a close up of Magpie's bin:

And Chipette's bin, where you can see the marker boards (Target Dollar Aisle!) and pencil cases. I buy color coded pencils for each girl, so if one gets left out you can immediately tell who the culprit is!

I bought the bins at Wal-Mart in the office supply section. They are fabric and fold up when not in use. They come in three sizes: small, medium, and large and the colors I've seen are magenta, green, blue, and black. I bought medium sizes for the girls to use. I'm trying to describe these really well because I cannot find them on Wal-Mart's website to link, but I've seen them in just about every Wal-mart I've been in for the past two years! I tried lots of different storage bins and baskets for this purpose, but these are definitely the best! I already have a black one bought for Monkey because I like them so well and who knows when Wal-Mart will stop carrying them (which I think they have or are starting to drop them!).

The girls' bins are stored in this small cubby shelf:

As you can see other things wind up getting stored in our school cubby! Chipette calls it her "locker" so she thinks that she should store things there such as her purple purse because, "Mom, that's where I'd put my purse in public school!"

I bought a blue storage bin, like the kids', for myself, but it is the large size. It holds my binder with all of my lesson plans, calendars, attendance charts, etc., teacher's manuals, living books that we are currently using for history/science, and read alouds.

Normally it sits on top of the cubby holding the other bins, but the hermit crab habitat is there for right now, so my bin normally winds up on the floor against the wall.

The bins are where we store our current school books and such, but what about books for future years or past years or just things we plan to use later in the year? Those are all stored on this bookshelf:

Right now it only takes one bookshelf, but I fully expect that after we get a few more years under our belt, then we will have to expand!

The top of the shelf is used to store math manipulatives and other assorted educational items.

This shelf houses history, science, and foreign language books to be used in the future and as reference.

This shelf has readers, the aqua container has memory work for each girl, and the olive green box has classical music, scripture memory, and educational song CD's.

Now we have the religion shelf which holds various children's Bibles and Bible trivia cards and games.

Here we have my teacher reference books and poetry books.

This shelf is for current library books that we have checked out for school use. The blue bin on the shelf holds all of the things we use for our morning Circle Time. The purple plastic bin holds crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue, ruler, and markers each divided into their own smaller bins inside.  Not anymore! These are part of the new shelving system.

These books are to be used for next year's school with Magpie and Chipette.

This milk crate with hanging file folders is where I store completed work. Each hanging file folder is numbered Week 1 through Week 34. Inside the hanging file folder are two manila folders: one for Chipette and one for Magpie. When their work is completed for that week, I file it behind that tab and into one of the manila folders. At the end of the year, I'm planning on using their work for a special project for each of them, and the rest will go in File 13. No point in hanging onto old school work!

This small bookshelf sits next the computer desk and holds all of our reference books, the printer, and on top of this bookshelf is an unsightly stack of art supplies (which I did not take a picture of!) that is now organized into my new Target shelving system I talked about earlier.

In front of the large window in the dining room is where we keep  three things: our easel with our Circle Time board on it, our large white board, and sitting on the window sill is our family rules and discipline chart board. When we are done with school the Circle Time board and white board slide between the bookcase and the wall. The easel folds up as well, but the family rules board stays on the window sill for easy access.

And, finally, after much debate with myself, I took down my cutesy decorative things that were on this wall and put up a world map, United States map, and our American history timeline. I just couldn't get by without having them up any longer. Plus I figure if someone comes over to eat, maybe they will learn something!

Underneath my maps and timeline my new shelving system resides:

In the polka dot bin on the left are colored pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ruler, markers for the white board, etc. In the polka dot bin on the right is everything I use during Circle Time.

The cubbies store our most used math manipulatives, art supplies, preschool and toddler activities, construction paper, craft supplies, etc.

And of course our class pets are now in the same area: hermit crabs to the left, goldfish to the right.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our "classroom". While it's not my preferred situation, it works for us!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing! I love your classroom & I am bookmarking this page, Always looking for new ideas! I dream of a classroom one day, we also use our dining room! With 5 kids & 1500 sq. Ft. Home, an extra room is just not possible, right now. Again, thank you!!

    1. I only have 3 kids and a 1500 sq. foot home and I feel cramped! I'm impressed that you guys obviously function so well :) When you get that extra room to turn into a homeschool room, send me pictures. I LOVE looking at homeschool rooms!

  2. Thank you for sharing your 'room' with us! We also don't have a room just for school and is also our dream. We also use our dining room table and it is a challange to fit everything. We make do with what God sends though and keep praying for more creative ways to use our space well!

    1. You definitely have to be more creative and clean up after school time when you are schooling at the table!

  3. We're dining table homeschoolers too! ;) Thanks for sharing your storage ideas. I'm going to steal some of these, especially the cubbies and the easel. I don't have any walls the right size and location to mount my whiteboard in our new house, and an easel will be the perfect solution!

    1. I love my easel! It was such an easy, but cheap solution to my marker board problem. Homeschooling at the table definitely provides it's own set of challenges. I'm glad you found some of my suggestions helpful!

  4. Tahini Mediterranean always been more keen to provide you things according to your needs and requirements and once again it was the best to stay at the cafe to enjoy with that kind of the recipe. term paper writing