I am always amazed when I look at pictures of homeschooling rooms. I love the order, the creativity… they seem to overflow with educational intention. Cute posters, tables or desks, maps and letters, etc.
We’ve been homeschooling 20 years (eight kids) and I’ve never had one. It’s not like I stood at the beginning of my homeschooling journey and said to myself, “We will NEVER have a school room!” It just never happened. For one thing we could never seem to give up and room and devote it completely to school. We needed every room for our growing family. Every time I was tempted to buy a school desk for the kids, something inside of me just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
As I look back over the times I considered having a school room, I always ended up feeling like it would send messages to my kids that I didn’t want to send. The main one being that learning happens in this “room”, which made the next logical conclusion to be that you stop learning when you leave this “room”. This may or may not be a stretch, but it’s a chance I wasn’t willing to take.
You see, I don’t want to separate learning/education one iota from real life. Our goal is to raise life long learners and, to me, that has meant that much of our kids’ learning happens aside from books and curriculum. It happens over the kitchen sink, at the dinner table, in the backyard, on the living room floor, over a pile of laundry and out in the garden.
When I asked our fifth child (16 years old) recently if he would ever want a school room, his answer was a resounding “NO!”. He said he loved the flexibility of being able to do his book work anywhere that felt comfortable at the time. Our kids have been known to pour over their books on the porch, at the picnic table, on the trampoline, while sitting on a horse, or laying in the grass.
Our married daughter said that she felt much more free and a lot less pressured when she could do her schoolwork wherever she wanted. Her husband, who was also home schooled, felt just as strongly about NOT having a school room. He says he wouldn’t have wanted to do his book work there. In fact, he suggested that if you are going to have a special room, let it be one where the kids can be creative, like with a big huge wall where they can write or do art.
I didn’t write this to criticize those of you who have a school room. I just wanted to encourage those of you who either CAN’T afford the space to have one, or just don’t want to. You need to know there are more of us out there and that your kids can have a rich education without it.