As moms, we find out quickly that learning never stops. Whether you’re trying to teach or not, kids are soaking up everything around them. As a homeschooling mom, I’ve found that there are some simple additions to our living space that help keep our kids learning around the clock, even when it’s not our structured time together – and I’m sharing them today knowing that there are other moms out there who want to provide learning opportunities at home even for kids that are in school outside the home.
Because I’m home all the time, it’s important to me that different areas of our home have specific purposes. Most of the rooms have very obvious purposes. Sleeping is done in the bedroom. Play happens in the playroom. You see a pattern, right?
Then there’s the kitchen.
I find that 95% of my waking hours are spent in our kitchen and connecting den. The toddler’s toys are all located in the den so I can keep an eye on him while the others are working on schoolwork. The rest of life happens in the kitchen. It’s the school room, the laundry room, the kids’ library, the art room, my office, our counseling spot, sewing room, meeting space… oh… and we cook and eat there. Our kitchen is a decent sized kitchen, but our dining area does well to house our 6 person kitchen table and school stuff. There’s not a lot of room for extra stuff.
After years of homeschooling, I found that storage of school materials was becoming more of a challenge. So, reluctantly, I gave up my idea of a nice little kitchen and accepted that our space was going to have to be kid-centric and multi-functional.And a beautiful thing has happened as a result. The kitchen has become the center of learning in our home. We have school at our kitchen table, so learning there is a bit of a given. But beyond that, so much self-guided learning happens there that our kids don’t even seem to realize. And it was all a happy accident!
You remember the whole “If you build it, he will come” concept from Field of Dreams? Well, I’ve found that if you create a learning environment for your kids, they will learn.
Our “wall art” is a great, colorful poster that may be some of the best money we ever spent on Amazon. It’s the Animals of the World poster (affiliate link) that was a last-minute-toss-in-the-cart Christmas purchase a few years ago. Little did I know how much that one poster would impact our kids. They constantly study it. When friends come over, they show it off. It’s so exciting to see how much they love it. It’s helped them with geography and zoology without them even realizing they’re learning.
In addition to the poster, we have a bookshelf filled with books that I had custom made. We LOVE this bookshelf. It holds tons of books and takes up so little room.
We also have a bookcase with puzzles (preschool level and up), coloring books, crayons, sketch books and more. In our little utility closet, using stack-able cube storage, we store the kids’ Legos, arts and craft supplies–
and play-dough and our box of educational materials (Wrap-Ups, Brain Quest fact cards, tiny figures, etc).
Recently, I came across a chalkboard tablecloth (affiliate link) that has turned out to be a fun addition, as well.
It brings great joy to this mom when I see my kids excited about learning new things. It’s also fun when they don’t realize they’re learning! By simply being intentional in space planning, a learning environment was created. These little things are having a BIG impact.
Do you have any tips for transforming a space into a classroom? Please share!