Homeschooling Without a Schoolroom

As a jumbo-sized family living in a regular-sized house, our school at home has always happened here, there and almost everywhere.

We’ve never been much for gathering around the kitchen table for anything besides meals, so we’ve seldom done lessons at the table together. Usually someone chooses the kitchen table as “their spot” to do their written work, and the others move on to claim their own corner somewhere else. The kitchen is the place for science experiments and messy crafts, though, since it has a hard floor.

The older children’s bedrooms each have a desk, and they do much of their work in that spot.

The real hub of our homeschool is the den. That’s where we gather for Morning Time, our morning opening of memorization, discussion and reading aloud. Afterwards the younger girls stay in the den with me. There’s a little school desk right next to my chair for their written work. I’m pretty good at reading and writing upside down after years of practice.

We keep books on shelves throughout the house, but the den bookshelf contains the current school year’s history and literature books, along with math books in magazine holders for those who aren’t keeping their books in their bedroom.

Then there’s the notebook shelf, which also holds math manipulatives and other goodies.

Peel-and-stick, dry erase maps are mounted in the hallway. 

The crown jewel is the long countertop desk along the wall. It holds an extra computer, drawers for papers, all the office supplies, art supplies and the globe. Many a card has been created, glued, stapled and colored in this spot.

Nearly all of my teaching happens in the same rocker recliner where I rocked the last six babies. We move to the couch for reading aloud to the two youngest girls, but everything else happens in Mom’s Chair.

When I had babies and toddlers, I kept a cabinet or basket within reach, containing diapers, wipers and teacher’s manuals. Some years there was a plastic box with a lid that scooted under the coffee table. Anything to prevent having to get up out of my chair!

Reading, writing and learning are such a part of our lives after twenty-six years of homeschooling that it seems fitting that school is done in the midst of our home. But that doesn’t mean that our home is given over to constant mess. Sure, books, papers and notebooks get piled on the coffee table and every other surface in sight, but school isn’t over until it’s all put away.

It’s possible to homeschool and still live in orderly, pleasant surroundings. The homeschool stuff doesn’t have to take over your house. Find attractive storage solutions, do a daily pickup and integrate the necessities into your décor.

Don’t fret if you don’t have a special room dedicated to your homeschool. Cheerfully work with your circumstances and adapt for your surroundings. Clear out the clutter and make the view pleasant.

Then enjoy school at home… your home.

Where does your family do their schoolwork, homeschool or other?



  1. We ‘do’ schoo everywhere also. The littles and I have a desk, but the older ones are found wherever they find comfortable. I too can read and write upside down and pretty well with my left hand! I love the maps on the wall…have not seen those. Maybe I should just laminate our maps so we can write on them.

  2. tomena reed says:

    Hi Charlotte! We do it all over our house too! Thanks for this post, it reminded me that it’s okay that I don’t have a special room. Sometimes I get sad about that. I actually store several things in a dinning hutch next to the table. It’s out of sight but right were I need it. Reading happens at the couch or wherever you happen to plop and I read aloud to everyone at night while they fold their laundry….hehe, in our living room. My oldest son also has a desk in his room and my preschooler has a special bag hanging in the coat closet. This way we can grab it and take it anywhere we want. I also have a magazine holder with each child’s things in it. That way they can take their stack contained to wherever they need to. Where did you get your maps… and what is the peel and stick feature?

  3. Charlotte says:

    The maps came from a local “buyout” discount store so who knows where they came from, lol. Peel and stick means they are moveable and removable without taking off paint (and no sticky-tac or tacks needed).

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