For most of our homeschooling years, our family has lived in a tw0-bedroom home. 

No, I’m not about to glorify living in a small house- there is certainly nothing “glorious” about not having enough space!

I am going to show you how we strive to maintain an organized “method” of homeschooling in a small home.

{If you have been blessed with a spacious home with ample rooms, please don’t misinterpret this post as slam on “big houses”.  My hope is to encourage others who may find themselves in a tight space and need a little inspiration.}

Our previous home afforded us the luxury of a spare bedroom, which became our office and school room.  I adored this cozy little school room!

At this season of our lives, we have no such luxury.  Since our move last May, our family has lived in a two-bedroom “rent house” while we save our money and “house shop” for something that better suites our family’s size.

Even though this home is “temporary”, it is still home Seeking and creating organization, simplicity, and order is still important!

Small-home living requires constant vigilance to organization, simply because there are no “extras”- no extra drawers, closets, rooms, walls, or anything else.

Homeschooling in a small home is an added challenge, but it can be done- and done effectively, I believe.  It requires a little more forethought, creativity, organization, and stick-to-it, but it is well worth the effort.

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The most important aspect is attitude.

Instead of throwing your hands in the air and bemoaning the fact that you don’t have that coveted extra space, roll your sleeves up and get to work!

Be creative with what you do have; focusing on what you don’t have (more space) will get you nowhere.

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The first step in small-home homeschooling is designationg a place for the actual schooling.  Don’t have an extra room for an office or school room?  Find the next best thing!

Our dining room table- sans school books!

For us, the dining room table doubles as the school table.

Our dining room table during school time

 In order to keep things simple, each of my little “students” has a personal pencil box… we also have a “caddy” for extra supplies.

A few of our organizing “tools”

Books, folders, papers, and pencil boxes are all kept inside each chid’s backpack. On school days, we simply pull out every one’s backpacks and have everything we need to get started.

I keep my supplies in a large tote, which stays beside me during school time.

Our homeschooling ensemble!
Another large tote houses the kids’ backpacks when school time is over.  Most weekends, I store both totes in the laundry room so they will be out of the way.

The green accordion-style file folder is where I tuck my lesson plans for the month, as well as any extras, such as reward stickers and flash cards.

Extra supplies- such as our learning manipulatives, construction paper, etc- are organized into this tall wicker shelf in the kids’ bedroom.

Three spacious shelves display bright bins and containers.  The top drawer houses school supplies; two bottom drawers are reserved for linens.

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Top Tips:

Utilize what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

Keep a good attitude: creativity and thankfulness (for what you do have) will get you a lot further than complaining or coveting what others have.

Invest in a collection of colorful baskets, tins, or other organizing containers.  I bought most of mine from the dollar store for $1 each.  🙂

Find a good resource to help you with ideas or helpful guidelinesManagers of Their School  is a very practical book, written by a homeschooling mother of eight.

Last, but certainly not of least importance, get rid of the “stuff” you don’t need!  It’s virtually impossible to have any sense of order in a small home when you have too much stuff.  (And that is another topic all together!)  😉

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Do you have any tips for small-home homeschooling?

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10 thoughts on “Small-Home Homechooling

  1. Thank you for this! I some times need to make myself have a better attitude toward our small space. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment at the moment-we are moving to a 3 bedroom house in 2 weeks though 🙂 I have a 4 year old, and a one year old so its not that bad. Its just hard when I am trying to work with my 4 year old and my 1 year old is playing loudly. lol.

    I use every space possible! I use our closet in the living room to keep all of their supplies. I had to take all of our DVDs down off the shelf and keep them in our room, to make room for games and puzzles. Its a challenge to organize small spaces, but it can be done! 

    Posted on January 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm
  2. Thank you for a great post, Kristy.  While we do have a room for our computer/school work it is small, but I am thankful that I have it.  Now I just need to go and organize it better!

    Posted on January 18, 2012 at 9:12 am
  3. I am always trying to juggle too much stuff and am doing my best to get rid of lots of it – it certainly does create chaos!

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm
  4. We have a house that is too small for us as well.  Would love to have a school room, but since we don’t we use the dining room table mostly.  If we are on the computers, we do have a place where we closed in a very small porch and I fondly call that the schoolroom.  It has two computers and bookshelves filled with books!  We often comment on the character training we are getting, too.  There are 7 of us sharing one bathroom in a 1,000 sq ft house! 🙂

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm
    1. I hear ya!!  Our bathroom always has a waiting line, lol!  😉 

      Posted on January 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm
  5. We live in a small home too, though at this point just my four year old is doing school (and that for less than an hour a day!) As you said, attitude is key. I’ve always dreamed of having a school room, but at it may be a while before we have one. Learning to use what you have cheerfully is an even greater lesson to teach our children than the biological divisions of animals! 

    Our kitchen/dining room is small, so we do school in the living room. One thing that has helped is using a simple curriculum (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) It doesn’t require much “extra” stuff, so it’s simple to use and put away. 
    Great post, like always, Kristy! 

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 8:48 am
    1. Anna, do you like/enjoy the “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons? I am considering this but, I have not found any awesome reviews. Loren

      Posted on January 17, 2012 at 10:12 am
      1. We tried TYCTR, but I couldn’t get past how different it was from traditional methods.  We didn’t care for it and it didn’t seem to “take”.  The Duggars use it and they seem to like it.  She talks about it in her book 20 and Counting.  

        Posted on January 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm
  6. Great post! We have a two-bedroom home with four children in one bedroom. There just isn’t room to sleep, play AND have school in there. We have a basement room that freezes during the winter with all of our adult “play” equipment: the Kinect, the treadmill, small trampoline, my husband’s workbench. No room for school there. We,too, “do school” on the dining room table. I have a small bookshelf in the corner of the kitchen with all of our school books. Each child has a pencil box like you mentioned. I keep an accordion file for each child with the next six weeks of worksheets in it organized by subject. As they complete them,  I just move them to the back until it’s time to get out the next six weeks. We can’t sell our house for quite a while, so we are learning contentment and like you said, LOTS of organizational skills. 🙂

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 7:26 am
    1. My sister, who also lives with us, frequently jokes about all the “character training” we are getting right now!  It’s true!  😉 

      Posted on January 17, 2012 at 11:28 am