Build It and They Will Come (and Read)

This year marks the golden anniversary of homeschooling at our house.  Twenty-five years of readin’, writin’ and arithmetic at home, taught from a certain dark green rocker recliner for the most part.  We’re on the eleventh go-around with phonics, soon to begin the twelfth.  Six students have graduated from these hallowed halls (even if they are smudged with fingerprints), and six are still in class.

Schoolwork takes place in a variety of settings, from the top bunk bed to the couch to the kitchen table.  The day begins with Morning Time, gathered in the den with children and teens draped over chairs and couches.  But one of the favorite spots for writing or coloring or gluing is the school countertop in the living room. 

This piece of furniture is composed of a long piece of countertop, with drawers underneath on one end, and a wide wooden leg propping up the other end:
 
 
The countertop holds a computer and paper supplies in wooden boxes with drawers from Ikea.  The globe perches on top of the drawers.  On the wall are two large wood poster frames, containing samples of artwork by the younger children.  The best part is the space.  Plenty of elbow room for a couple of young writers or artists, and three big drawers for office supplies.

I have said before that our house is decorated in Early Garage Sale.  No matter how limited your income might be, you can make the best of what you have. 

Even if the furniture is shabby and the paint chipped, that’s no reason to wait for “someday” to create a cozy home.  Neat and clean goes a long ways towards homey atmosphere.  Family life happens and perfection is overrated, but a general theme of orderliness is a good background for living.

Homeschooling or not, you can create special areas in your home for reading or writing.  Stock it with supplies like paper, scissors, glue, tape, markers and an assortment of pens and crayons, and see what happens.  It could be a case of “build it and they will come.”  A chair in a quiet corner, next to a small table and a lamp, might inspire a young reader to pore over a book, be it Calvin and Hobbes or David Copperfield

Look around your home and see if you can repurpose an area or a piece of furniture to meet the needs of your family.  Maybe a school countertop in the living room isn’t exactly an interior design statement, but it serves a practical purpose.  Just don’t let “practical” completely overrule beauty and pleasantness in your home. 

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