Setting Up Your Home Classroom

Although homeschooling allows families the freedom to teach and learn in a flexible environment, it is still beneficial to create a structured atmosphere for the more formal aspects of the learning experience.  Regardless of your style of homeschooling, for it to be most effective, there still needs to be an element of discipline.  Deciding where your homeschooling will take place, and how it is set up, will influence how effective your homeschooling experience will be.  If the homeschool ‘classroom’ is too casual and unstructured, it may be harder for your child to take the whole experience seriously.  Of course you also need to take the facilities you have available to you, as well as your child’s own personality, into account when you make these decisions.

Space, itself, is not a deal-maker or breaker.  Obviously, you want enough space to be able to work comfortably, however, not all households have a lot of room to spare.  Of course, with homeschooling, you are also not always restricted to remain in the same space, and some classes may be suitable for other spaces, or even outside.  It is preferable, however, to have a regular area for much of the written work, so the student can associate this space for thinking, reasoning and studying.  This association can assist with helping the student’s mind get into the ‘gear’ required for digesting and assimilating information.  For this reason, I find that the ideal situation is to have this space allocated for homeschooling, and nothing else.

If you homeschool your child in a family area, for instance, the room will be associated with a range of other activities and interactions, and it may make it difficult for the child to concentrate on the matter at hand.  Additionally, it does not establish boundaries for other family members, who also have use of this room.  It makes the process of homeschooling much simpler if everyone else in the family respects the homeschooling space too.

With this in mind, you may find that the dining room table is not the ideal location for the day’s studies.  Of course, many households have no choice due to space constraints of their living environment.  Never fear, with a bit of forethought and daily planning you can transform your dining table to an adequate learning environment.  With the removal of any dining apparatus, placemats, and a change of tablecloth, you can create a space that is significantly different to meal times, and quite adequate for studying.  If, however, you have an alternative space to use, it will be easier for you and less work.

Personally, I have found that the ideal space is one with a door that can be shut during lessons to establish that boundary from the rest of the house, and to put the student in ‘study mode.’  Other important features include lots of natural lighting and fresh air, which I find useful to reduce fatigue.  Having a dedicated space such as this also allows you to organise your homeschool resources so that they are readily accessible without much interruption to your student’s activities.

Another option that has recently become available in some furniture stores, and storage specialists, is a fold away study nook which opens to reveal several shelves and a desk on wheels.  This is a fabulous alternative for space-stretched families who strive for a dedicated study space.

Homeschooling is a wonderful alternative to public education which allows for more personalised attention, flexible timetables, and opportunities for less-structured learning experiences.  A little bit of structure and organisation in the study space, however, will benefit your child.  An uncluttered, organised, dedicated and positive environment can make the world of difference to your child’s concentration levels.   It is important that their study area is comfortable and functional, to assist them with performing their best.


Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home. For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit YourHomeschoolCommunity.com.

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