A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Homeschool Room Tour View from door A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Our homeschool room is one of my favorite spaces in our house, so I thought I’d kick off my series of homeschooling posts with a tour of the room where the magic happens.

Above is the view of our homeschool classroom when you’re standing in the doorway, looking in and toward the right.

That one small window over the whiteboard is our only natural light source since this room is actually in our finished basement.

Our workspace is made up of two white Ikea desks, which I bought last year on Craigslist for $10 each. They are great because we can all sit at the table and still have plenty of room. (And because the melamine surface cleans up easily.)

I tend to sit in the brown folding chair and my kids sit in the red spinny chairs. (In retrospect, spinny chairs were a mistake. One child spun so hard that the whole back of his chair broke.)

Homeschool Tour History Corner A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

The brown desk along the back wall was going to be a “teacher’s desk”, but I’ve never once sat at it. I sit, instead, at the table with my boys, and use the teacher’s desk to hold our big supplies: paper cutterlaminator, and electric pencil sharpener.

This is also a bit of a “history” corner, featuring a poster of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem (before it was renovated), as well as our homemade timeline to accompany the world history textbook we’re reading.

Here’s another view of our homeschool room, from the opposite corner — the door is off to the right-hand side of the whiteboard.

Homeschool Room Tour White board table maps A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

We got that awesome whiteboard this past summer for $15 on Craigslist. It’s huge and I LOVE it. Magnetic whiteboards are shockingly expensive to buy brand new, so definitely stalk your Craigslist to find the right one.

(We had to be patient and use a much smaller board the first year. Finding this baby for just $15 made all that waiting worthwhile.)

We bought both of our maps from Amazon. (Note: The world map is under $6 right now!) They both came already laminated, so we’re able to draw on them.

Here’s a close-up of the US map, marked up with all of our road trips.

Homeschool Room Tour Roadtrip Map A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Next to the brown desk is a set of rolling plastic drawers. I bought them on Amazon, with high hopes of implementing a workbox system.

I whipped up those little labels (laminating them, of course icon wink A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom ) and put two velcro dots on each drawer, intending for my kiddos to move over the label when they finished their work from that drawer for the day.

Homeschool Room Tour Workbox System A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

As it turns out, the workbox system totally didn’t work for us (despite it being the darling of Pinterest). So now we just use the drawers to store the boys’ books and supplies for their various subjects.

(This was actually a really good learning experience for me. I got so fixated on making the workboxes ‘Pinterest perfect’ that I wasted a ton of time on silly details. If you find yourself obsessing over some perfectly photographed detail you see on Pinterest, step away.)

Also, while the drawer system is a great idea in theory, in practice, I’ll tell you that I’ve not been thrilled with this particular one. It’s not especially stable. This might be an occupational hazard, as the drawers are holding heavy textbooks, which may be more than they’re designed for.

Homeschool Room Tour Closet A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Along the fourth wall of our room is this closet. When we decided to homeschool, we knew right away that our guestroom would be the prefect classroom. One of the plusses was that it had a closet. To make it more functional, my husband removed the hanging rod and installed these shelves for us, which have been wonderful for keeping our stuff organized – and out of sight.

I keep curriculum and teacher’s manuals in here, as well as manipulatives, games and school supplies. I picked up the green-handled storage boxes at Walmart; from Target,  I got the blue lidded shoe boxes (usually around $1 a piece) and the cardboard magazine boxes (2/$1 in the One Spot).

Manipulatives A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

While some of the manipulatives were supplies we already had on hand — like the counters, which are actually Othello pieces (a game we owned already) — most of the manipulatives were provided by the homeschool program we are a part of thru the state of Kansas. I wrote more about our homeschool “school district” in this Homeschool FAQ.

On one of the folding doors of the closet, we hang this map of Israel (purchased HERE). Along the back wall of our classroom, you can see my 2nd grader’s Sight Word Wall, which I made out of poster board.

Homeschool Tour Israel Map Word Wall Books A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

On the blue section, we hang up new sight words using paperclips (I cut small slits in the posterboard with an exacto knife and then hung the paper clips over them). Once the words have been mastered, we glue them to the board in alphabetical order.

Here’s another view of the Sight Word Wall, along with our All About Spelling magnetic whiteboard.

Homeschool Room Tour All About Spelling Whiteboard A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

All About Spelling is an amazing curriculum, which I’ve been using this year with my second grader. I recently wrote up a very detailed review of All About Spelling. I think it’s such a wonderful program for anyone whose child may be struggling with spelling — whether you homeschool or not.

To the left of the closet, we have our calendar corner – with both an English and a Hebrew calendar. Would you believe that until I started homeschooling, I could never remember the Hebrew months in order? I made up a little song to teach my kids — and now I know them, too.

Homeschool Tour Hebrew Calendar A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

I don’t use the calendars as much this year, with a 2nd and 5th grader, as I did last year with my then 1st grader. My 4 year-old daughter actually likes to update it, so we’re transitioning her into that role.

Homeschool Tour Calendar Corner A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

I bought the English calendar on Amazon and I got the Hebrew calendar HERE.

One of my favorite things in our homeschool is this spinning supply caddy, which we keep well stocked with all of my bargain school supply finds.

Supply Caddy A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

You can buy this same caddy at Michael’s in the scrapbooking supplies aisle, but be warned — it’s not cheap (last I checked, it was about $45 – $48 retail). I waited for a 50% off coupon to make it a more palatable purchase.

I keep all of my teacher’s manuals and curriculum guides in this tote bag, which also contains my personal supply of pens, highlighters, pencils, scissors, crayons and sticky flags.

My Teachers Bag A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Each weekend, I bright this bag upstairs to plan the next week’s lesson’s plans. It’s my teacher’s “office” — in a bag.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of our homeschool classroom! Please let me know if you have any questions.

My Homeschool Tour has been sponsored by Hygloss Products, a wonderful source for Teacher Supplies & Classroom Supplies.  Thanks for your support of KOAB and our homeschooling journey!

Screen Shot 2014 01 19 at 2.18.18 PM A Tour of Our Homeschool Classroom

Comments

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Comments

  1. It’s so beautiful! And organized! I dream of the day when we can have a designated school room. For now, we’re spread all over the floor… :)

    • Mara Strom says:

      Thank you Jessie! It’s such a blessing to have the dedicated space, but I know many families homeschool very successfully without it! :)

  2. This looks awesome. So bright and beautiful. It reminds me, in the best way, of being a five year old in the classroom. I know you mentioned some prices in the post, but would you consider expanding with a post breaking down or estimatimating the cost of setting up or running a home-school classroom? That would be a great resource for those of us considering this in the future.

    • Mara Strom says:

      That’s a good question, Yosef! I’ll definitely try to write more about the cost involved as we go forward. One thing to keep in mind right now, though, is that we didn’t do this all at once.

      I mean, other than the tables and the chairs (and even those we used kitchen chairs at first!) and the maps, most of this stuff was acquired over the last 18 months.

      I try not to do more than one “capital” purchase every month.

  3. Elizabeth Lenz says:

    I love your room! I’m so jealous! I thought you should know that Lakeshore Learning Store in Merriam has maps and other school posters for 2-4 dollars and very cheap to laminate, they’ll do it right there for you! I got 4 for Hanukkah this year and my daughter, 6, loves them. We’re in first grade (with a 2 year old following us around).

    • Mara Strom says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m lol at the 2 yo following you around! Those little ones add a whole new dimension, don’t they?!

  4. What strikes me the most is how much work, thought, effort, and energy you’ve put into this. Wow, Mara!

  5. WOW. Now this is how you do homeschooling. Amazing.

  6. What an amazing space. Thank you for showing it to us. Although both of my children are in college now and both were products of the public school system , what you are doing seems awsome and had my children been younger you would have given me something to aspire to. Thank you again.

  7. really a gr8 environment conducive to learning!

  8. Your classroom looks amazing! Kol HaKavod! Thanks so much for sharing…I think that I may invest in a fun caddy like that!

  9. Beautiful, Mara!

  10. So impressive. And i’m sure the learning that goes on is impressive too.

  11. This is lovely! When I started homeschooling my oldest 8 years ago, I dreamed of having a dedicated homeschool classroom space like this. Now, I’m so used to having the whole house for a school, I’m not sure I could keep it in one room! Your organization is impressive.

  12. Ayelet May says:

    Wow. Well done – a lot packed into the space but not cluttered or overwhelming. Seems like a really peaceful environment conducive to learning and concentration. I’m impressed. Kudos to you!

    • Mara Strom says:

      That’s what we’re striving for, so I’m glad it comes across that way in photos, Ayelet! Thank you so much.

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