If you’re a new homeschooler, one of the decisions you’re facing is how and where to set up your “homeschool room.” That can be a huge obstacle, especially for families like mine who don’t really have a spare room or the budget for all new homeschool furniture.
But, guess what?
You don’t need a homeschool room.
Keep reading to find out why a homeschool room didn’t work for us, and why I don’t think it’s a good idea for your family, either.
I have tried, several times, to set up a designated homeschool room in my house. Don’t you just love the idea of a homeschool room? The color-coordinated displays of craft supplies? The bookshelves organized by subject matter? The bulletin boards? Oh, the cute and clever things you can do with a bulletin board! I even used to have a poster with the Pledge of Allegiance on it and had visions of us reciting it every morning (nope, didn’t happen). The homeschool room is probably what excited me the most as a new homeschool mom. For years, I struggled with the notion that if we didn’t do school in a school room, we were doing it wrong.
But, looking back now, I am here to tell you that you do NOT need a homeschool room. I would even go so far as to say that you do not WANT a homeschool room. In fact, I think I would even say this:
The homeschool room epitomizes, for me, all that is misguided and wrong with the typical understanding of what homeschooling is and how it should be done.
So, before you start agonizing over furnishing, decorating, and stocking your own homeschool room, take a look at the (many and convincing) reasons that I think they’re a bad idea.
- You will feel guilty for wanting to stop using it, and even more guilty when you actually do stop using it. Do you need one more thing to feel guilty about?
- Kids don’t like homeschool rooms. Even if they’re really, really cute. In fact, the only thing they will enjoy doing in the homeschool room is knocking over and tearing down all the cute stuff.
- Moms don’t like homeschool rooms either. We like to design them, and put them together, but even we don’t like to spend time in them.
- Why trap yourself in just one room of the house for the majority of the day? If I were going to do that, I would at least choose a room with food and a TV in it.
- Isn’t the worst part about school sitting at a desk all day? Who wants to sit at a desk all day, when your house is full of beds, and couches, and comfy spots on the floor and under trees in the backyard?
- If you have a homeschool room, that means one less bedroom, or playroom, or den, or TV room, or knitting room.
- “Homeschool room” is really just a euphemism for “place to hoard a bunch of curriculum that we will never use.” The more space you give yourself to accumulate homeschool stuff, the more you will buy. And, if you’re like me, 75% of it will get used one time. Or less.
- Having a homeschool room establishes the mentality that learning only takes place in that room, when you’re “doing school.” Not so! Learning is happening always and everywhere. Sticking it in a room and calling it school is a sure-fire way to convince your kids that it’s boring and not worth the effort.
- It’s really hard to do something that requires concentration when you’re stuck in a small room with a bunch of kids. Even if you’re one of the kids. And believe me, you do not want to make it harder for your kids to concentrate.
- If you have a homeschool room, you have to make (and enforce) a lot of extra rules regarding the homeschool room. Can you leave the homeschool room during homeschool time? If so, for what reason(s)? Can you play in the homeschool room? Can you take things out of the homeschool room? Can you eat in the homeschool room? If these things seem too obvious to need rules around them, you probably haven’t actually tried to have a homeschool room before.
- Furniture is expensive. And hard to get rid of once you realize that it’s useless. I cannot tell you how many desks, shelves, chairs, tables, and cabinets I’ve gotten that I knew would be just perfect for our homeschool room…and then…they weren’t. Don’t give yourself another reason to buy and dislike more furniture.
- The more time, effort, and money you put into a homeschool room, the more you will force yourself, and your kids, to use it even when it’s not working for you. That goes against the whole philosophy of homeschooling.
So, get off of Pinterest, stop watching homeschool room tours on YouTube, and relax. Throw your extra yarn stash and a couch in there instead and call it your knitting lounge.