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What to look for in a school room

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    What to look for in a school room

    It looks like we are going to need to buy a new house. I know what we need for my kiddo's sensory needs, but I am wondering if anyone can advise me on what to look for for a school room (or environment). Does anyone keep a moderately sized school room, not large, but keep school supplies in another room or location? Is it better to have an enormous room? My kiddo seems to focus better in small spaces. I am just looking for some ideas. Thank you!

    #2
    You might sketch out your "dream room" before looking. Spend time thinking what is working well for you now. You mentioned smaller spaces to improve attention. Envision what could be improved. What holds up your teaching? What would you love to have? Shelves for storage? Room for maps, a fixed electric pencil sharpener? Drawers for organizing and hiding flash cards?

    After you have penciled in your ideas, you might ask your children to participate! Then also map out family spaces for relaxing, playing games, doing crafts or artwork or playing music, and housing your home library. Then take the finished product with you when you look for your new house.

    Some random preferences here:
    - We remained at the kitchen table for our Opening and Bible reading. This eliminated big transitions after breakfast. We kept our large white board, American flag, globe, and devotional materials nearby. Then we moved elsewhere for individualized or concentrated work.
    - In some seasons we appreciated a long work table under which could fit stability balls or chairs, so I could move from child to child. We had shelves overhead for easy access to materials.
    - In later years my children appreciated their own desks or "offices," but they still needed to be near the kitchen where I could oversee and check work.
    - Like your children, mine concentrate best when the space is not too wide-open.
    - For us, having materials organized nearby always worked best, no matter where we worked.

    Of course you can homeschool almost anywhere. Some families take over the dining room. Others teach from a comfortable chair in the living room. You may never find the ideal setting, but you will come closer by thinking about it now, just as you are doing!

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      #3
      In the last ten years, we have schooled in multiple different arrangements; we started Pre-K level in a smallish bedroom-made classroom with supplies in a closet, a whiteboard, a couple maps, and flag. Once that had to become a nursery again, we moved many elements into the living room and had desks for our older kids there, while we started "Morning Time" in the kitchen, and I kept supplies in our basement away from two curious toddlers. Now, as a result of COVID-19, my husband is working in the living room where our computer is and we've spent the last year slowly converting our semi-finished basement into a much larger "classroom" kind of space for all four kids who are now all school-aged. We have a common center table for our "Morning Time" activities, much like our kitchen table was used before and then other tables and shelves for supplies.

      Regardless of what room we were schooling in primarily, my child with the most intense sensory issues always needed:
      1) a quiet space away from everyone when she needed extra quiet for concentration (she has a corner of the basement to herself away from common areas with her own shelves, large table, and supplies)
      2) the ability to organize her materials in a way optimal to her sense of organization that was easy to maintain (we love carts on wheels with drawers for each subject)
      3) access to a window for natural light and a connection to seeing outdoors, but not becoming distracted by what might be happening outdoors
      4) good task lighting (we had an electrician install wonderful LED lights into our basement ceiling -- I couldn't believe the difference that made)

      Have fun dreaming up your ideal space. If you can find images online or in print of spaces you and your student(s) like, it could be fun to make a collage of ideas to help visualize it.
      Laura H.

      DD: 15, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
      DD: 13 (8M with SFL & NBO Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
      DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
      DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"

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        #4
        Thank you, ladies!

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          #5
          I will preempt all of my comments with a disclaimer that no one needs a special room in order to school at home well. In fact, what works for one age or stage may change over time, and in our case, it certainly has.

          With that said, I love old houses from pre-1980 that have separate rooms. So many people buy old homes and tear down all of the walls to get that "open concept," but I love having doors and walls and separate spaces where sounds have limits and are not distracting. We turned an old front sitting room into a school room. We also have a "family room" in the back of the house, so we we didn't miss the space. IMO, a FROG doesn't always make the best space if you have toddlers under foot because they don't always want to stay in that enclosed room. I like my room on the main living level so that trips to the kitchen for snacks, bathroom breaks, fishing school supplies out of desks in their rooms, or keeping siblings within earshot in bedrooms are not a challenge.

          Things I love about our school room:
          • lots of natural light with a view of nature (grass and trees) out the window
          • tons of shelving, both open and doored (that I designed and had a carpenter fabricate for far cheaper than retail)
          • room for an 8-ft whiteboard, as I love to write and draw while I talk, and we make good use of the erasable line technique and posting memory verses, EGR rules and upcoming quizzes/tests
          • wall space for hanging kid art, art cards, calendar time center (if you have Jr.K-MP2)
          • space to work around a table on all sides, room to move it away from the whiteboard
          • room for my desk/PC/printer/copy machine...and a CD player for all of those MP discs
          • we hung a bird feeder in front of the picture window, and it is so awesome that I never mind the distraction of a chickadee, sparrow, blue jay, cardinal, woodpecker or yellow warbler

          Things I don't love:
          • it's large enough to echo...so we're saving up for a nice rug. We're still big crafters, so until glitter is done, we've kept it simple with an oilcloth-like mat.
          • the door I do have doesn't keep sounds of kitchen noises or TV out, so it's not quiet if other family events are going on
          • my eldest does all independent work in her room now...and I'm sure we're moving that way for the younger one in 4th grade, too. I do love having the classroom and board, but the cozy room desks are where all the happiness happens here for my student
          It's everything I could dream, but we still struggle with storage. I have whole closets stacked with printer paper, book overflow, off-years of curriculum and readers waiting for children to age into them. It's a lot.

          We do our Bible time after breakfast at the kitchen table each morning. I don't want that ever to feel like school. Then, we clean up dishes and do morning routine (make beds, get dressed, brush teeth and put clothes away). Then school starts in the classroom with prayer and pledge. Having those distinct zones is good for us, but it's not necessary.
          Mama of 2, teacher of 3

          SY 21/22
          5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class
          MP1

          Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
          SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

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            #6
            enbateau Thank you!

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