Abandoning the Homeschool Classroom

Just the other day a beautiful, vintage school desk came across my facebook feed. It was for sale, and a quick peek at the seller’s page revealed there was another, smaller, vintage desk for sale. They were not a matching set, but rather two different styles of antique school desks.

Kind of like my two homeschooled children, I thought: one bigger, one smaller; two totally unique spirits yet members of the same family. It was symmetry, don’t you see? An undeniable sign that these desks were meant to be in our homeschool classroom!

Except that we don’t have a homeschool classroom. Not anymore anyway. When we first started homeschooling, we were in the middle of purchasing our current home, and our very first “classroom” was a small spot on the kitchen table, carved out from the stacks of boxes that filled every other available space. When we finally settled in to our home, we set up a classroom in our basement, complete with a teacher’s desk, a white board on the wall, bookshelves and a large, L-shaped work table; one side for lessons and the other for arts and crafts.  There were only three of us in that classroom each day, but we could have easily hosted a dozen or so students.

Eventually, Winter settled in and we discovered the heating system wasn’t efficient enough to keep our toes from going numb down there, so we moved upstairs to the kitchen table. When Spring came along, and it was warm enough to dip our toes back into the basement, no one wanted to go. The girls were happy working at the table, and it surely made life easier for me, as I could dice veggies, simmer sauces or tend to small tasks between lessons.

Still, the want for an official classroom tugged at me. Those lovely rooms  I’d pinned to my homeschool spaces board called out to me, begging to satisfy the spirit of my inner decorator. (And also, I was weary of having to move that pile of books and papers every night so we could eat dinner.) And so, I set up another homeschool room, this time in the loft.

Our loft classroom was cute and comfortable and every morning we went upstairs to learn about the world from our cozy little space. At lunchtime we’d return to the kitchen, and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves heading back upstairs only long enough to collect whatever we needed to return to the kitchen and finish out our school day. Eventually, the loft classroom was abandoned, but it did become a great place to store all of our homeschool books and supplies when we weren’t using them at the table.

It took us two years and two classrooms (and the will to log off of pinterest) to figure out we don’t need an official classroom. Because our classroom is wherever we are. On most days, that may be the kitchen table, the couch or the living room floor (in front of the fireplace on long winter days because our toes have not forgotten their days in the basement). Other times it’s the car, the back porch, the front yard or the pier at the lake.

I’m in the process of redecorating the loft, and when I’m done it won’t be a classroom. It will, instead, be my personal retreat, a space where this homeschooling mom goes to read, write, crochet or drink wine do whatever it is she needs to do to take a break from being a homeschooling mom.

I hope those antique school desks find a home that will put them to good use. I am still in love with them, but there’s simply no place for them in my kitchen.

Where is your family’s favorite place to homeschool?

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