Homeschooling in a Small Space

Five years ago, when we sold our first home and started looking for a new one, one of the home features on our wish list was a bonus space of some sort that we could use for a school room. Even though our son was a baby, we knew we would homeschool and thought having a separate room for school was a necessity.

We ended up compromising on several items on our wish list in favor of a home that was smaller than the first home we owned but below our housing budget. For us, giving up extra square footage was well worth it since we have a very affordable mortgage.

We’ve lived in this home for 4.5 years and have attempted to sell but have realized that choosing to live small allows our family more financial freedom. And, a few months ago we set a goal to pay off our mortgage by May 2020 so we’re planning on staying here until the mortgage is gone!

Last month, our oldest started Kindergarten and we began our journey of homeschooling without a dedicated school room.

Homeschooling in a small space has proven quite simple for our family.

Our learning area is our dining room. Our table is the most used piece of furniture in our home. It’s where we eat 3 meals a day, do school, create and write (I’m currently sitting at our table writing this!)

As soon as breakfast is over each morning, we clear the table, wipe it down if necessary, then pull out our learning materials for the day and jump right into learning.

We have a cabinet in our dining room that holds all of our school supplies and books as well as our art supplies, coloring books, library books, learning games and there’s even a shelf with toys for our toddler.

Homeschool Cabinet

While our dining room may have a bit of a classroom feel, I think it’s quite charming. I love having a map on the wall, our children’s art work displayed and books in our dining room.

Instead of viewing our limited space as a challenge, I’m embracing the simplicity of making our small space work.

The cabinet is our learning material storage space which makes me think carefully before making purchases and I ruthlessly declutter items that are no longer useful for our children.

I’m also thankful for our library, we check out our limit of books almost every week so our children are exposed to a variety of stories and information but we don’t have to deal with the clutter! Having a dedicated shelf for our library resources keeps them from getting lost and gives them a place to belong while they’re in our home.

After just one month of homeschooling, we’re loving the lifestyle of teaching and learning with our children. We also know that being content in our small home and homeschooling in a small space has given us more freedom.

Buttons Cloth Diapers
We’ve been cloth diapering since the birth of our first child, over 5 years ago and the majority of the cloth diapers we’ve been using for our third baby were used on both of her older brothers. After 4-5 years of nearly continuous use on 3 babies, our diapers have been well loved and many of them have been ‘decommissioned’.

A few months ago, it became obvious that we needed to purchase a few more diapers in order to continue cloth diapering full time. I really didn’t want to purchase any more diapers but knew the investment of a few cloth diapers would save money in the long run instead of having to use disposables.

I decided to do a little research on cloth diapers and look into some different cloth diaper brands that have debuted since we purchased cloth diapers last. I’m so glad I did because this research led me to Buttons Diapers.

Buttons Diapers is a small, family owned business. Their goal is for their diapers to be easy to use and affordable for everyone.

I love that by purchasing Buttons Diapers, you are supporting a small business, run by a young family who values simple and sustainable living – just like my family!

Diaper Cover + Insert

Buttons Diapers are an all-in-two cloth diapering system which consists of a cover and a separate insert. The cover is a one-size cover which fits most babies from 9-35 pounds.

The cover is made of high quality PUL and comes in a variety of colors and cute prints. The solid covers are priced at $11 and prints are $12.50.

The inside of the cover has two snaps where you can easily snap in your Buttons inserts. Or you can use this cover with inexpensive prefolds, which is what we do.

Buttons Inserts

You can purchase a variety of inserts to meet your babies needs:

  • Microfiber Daytime Insert
  • Microfiber Nighttime Doubler
  • Hemp/Cotton Daytime Insert
  • Hemp/Cotton Nighttime Doublers

The inserts are available in size small (9-20 pounds) and large (20-35 pounds).

Our Buttons inserts are size large since Cecilia is 17 months old and weighs 21 pounds. They both work well but I really like the hemp/cotton blend insert. Plus, I prefer natural fibers to synthetic ones.

Double Leg Gussets

One of my favorite features of the Buttons diaper cover is the double leg gussets. This is a very nice feature and which makes this a nice all-in-two cover for exclusively breastfed babies. (I’ve never had much success with all-in-twos or prefolds/covers with the explosive exclusively breastfed baby poo).
Buttons Cloth DiaperI have been very pleased with our Buttons cover and especially love the color (Midnight).

If we need more diapers before Cecilia starts using the potty, Buttons will be my first choice!

To purchase:

Disclosure – I received a Buttons Diapers cover and 2 inserts in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

The Sizing of Baby Clothes

When I was pregnant with my first son, we were blessed with a ton of clothes from our showers and hand-me-downs.

I had so much fun organizing his little clothes. I sorted everything by size, putting newborn items in one drawer, 0-3 month and 3-6 month clothes in another drawer. I had two totes underneath his crib containing clothes that were 6-12 months and the other stored clothes that were larger than 12 months.

I thought I was super organized and ready for baby. The 0-3 and 3-6 month clothing would get our April baby through the summer and we had a ton of 6 month sizes for fall and 9 months for winter. He was set, I thought I wouldn’t have to buy a stitch of clothing for him because everything was so perfectly planned out!

I look back and laugh. I believed that because a little tag said 3-6 months on it that my child would wear it when he was in the age range of 3 to 6 months. I never even considered the fact that some of those 3-6 month items were as small as some newborn items we had or as large as some 12 month items. The tag said it, so I believed it!

My son was born weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces and quickly began growing, my organized system was thrown out the window. He was wearing 9 to 12 month rompers and bodysuits by 3 months because he was so long! Items that he could have worn, never were worn just because the tag didn’t say he should be able to fit in the garment. And my perfectly planned out fall and winter wardrobe didn’t fit him so perfectly.

Once I finally realized that the tag doesn’t matter, I started talking to friends who admitted to me that they also thought the same thing when they were a first time mama.

With my second and third babies, I organized their clothes based upon what they looked like. If the tag said 6 months but was teeny tiny, I put it in the drawer with the newborn clothes. If it said 3 months but was big, it went in the bin of clothes to grow into.

So mamas, the reality is the size on the tag doesn’t really matter since all babies are different.

Of course you can still stock up on all sizes of baby basics like cotton bodysuits, pants and sleepers since babies wear them year round. And those new baby clothes you receive, leave the tag on them until after baby arrives in case you need to exchange.

As my children have grown, I’ve stopped focusing so much on what the tag said. Cecilia currently has clothes ranging in size 6 months to 2T in her wardrobe, the majority are 12-18 months but depending on the garment, the size may be smaller or larger. And, Weston has clothes ranging from 18 months (shorts) to 4T.

At the end of each season, any item that currently fits with a bit of room is tucked into their off season clothing storage bin. I’ve been surprised at the number of items, both tops and shorts, that they’ve been able to wear over the course of 2 summers or 2 winters.

Did you focus more on what the tag said than what the garment looked like with your first baby too?

Shared Bedroom

Our boys have been sharing a room for almost 3 years and they’ve had bunk beds for a year.

When we first got the bunk beds, they slept together in the bottom bunk but now Weston sleeps on the top bunk and Paxton is in the bottom. Both boys are heavy sleepers so we haven’t had any issues with them waking each other up during the night.

Our bunk bed has the built in staircase which makes me feel much better about our young children having bunk beds! So far, we haven’t had any bunk bed accidents and the kids know that they are not allowed to play on the top bunk. Our bunk bed also has built in drawers under the bed and on the end of the staircase which gives us some extra storage space for pajamas, underwear, socks and some toys.

One fun part of having bunk beds is the bottom bunk can easily be turned into a fun fort, ship, clubhouse or whatever they can imagine by putting a sheet up!

Our home is around 1,300 square feet and roughly half of that space is living area and half is 3 bedroms which means our living space is a bit small but the bedrooms are pretty large.

With the bunk beds, the boys have a ton of floor space in their room to play, make believe and create.

Art-Wall

We have a fun, colorful gallery wall in their room. Most of the artwork was painted by me and each boy painted a canvas. We have an art line up so they can proudly display their latest creations in their room. And, their table is perfect for coloring, playing house, building with Legos or anything they can think up!

Boys-Room

We’ve taken advantage of door and wall space to serve as storage for a few items. The back of the door is perfect for their backpacks!

ClosetAround the time we purchased the bunk bed, my husband also designed and built a built-in wooden shelving system in the closet to maximize the closet space. This has allowed us to keep the space organized with a toy library as well as store their games, sleeping bags, hanging clothes and memory boxes. The time and money spent on this built-in project was well worth it!

Our home may be a bit on the small side and our children don’t have the luxury of having their own rooms but we’re making the space we have work for our family by living with less. And, even if we lived in a larger home with more bedrooms, I have a feeling our boys would still want to share a room!

Related Posts:

Cecilia’s Nursery

Why We’re Staying in Our Small Home

Our Brick Ranch Home Tour

Creating Space in Your Home