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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.

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

Small House

Earlier this year, we made an offer on a small farm and put our home on the market. The seller wasn’t willing to negotiate one bit, our home didn’t sell and we realized it just wasn’t the right timing. At the beginning of May, we decided to take the ‘for sale’ sign down again.

So, why are we staying? 

We like our home. It’s in a great location about 15 minutes from my husband’s work, our church and town. We have great neighbors, we love our shaded front yard, fenced in back yard and garden plot. And, while our home is small, it’s just right for our family.

Living in our small home comes with benefits like a very affordable mortgage and there’s less to clean!

A week after we took the sign down, our church had Joe Sangl of I Was Broke, Now I’m Not teach on personal finances. We attended his financial coaching leadership seminar and church wide financial learning experience. His teachings gave us renewed excitement about our finances!

At the end of the weekend, we set several goals for our personal finances. The big goal we set is to have our mortgage paid off in 5 years (and we’re really hoping to knock it out before then!)

We are willing to sacrifice our dream of owning a small farm temporarily so we can put ourselves in a better financial position to purchase a small farm in few years. By waiting until we are in a better financial position to purchase a farm, we will eliminate a lot of financial stress that comes with having a large mortgage.

We’re staying in our small home because it makes the most sense for our family financially. 

Now that we’re focused on this goal, I’ll probably be sharing a bit more about our personal finances and how we’re making steps towards this goal. I’ll also be writing even more about living minimally in a small space since we’re fully embracing the home we’re in.

Crib

Since Cecilia will be 1 tomorrow, I thought it was about time to share a little tour of her nursery.

Before she was born, we had the crib in the boys room. The plan was for all 3 kids to share a bedroom and have a playroom. Once she was born, we decided that separating the boys from the baby might be the best thing for everybody’s sleep. Plus, I had a daughter and could decorate with pink!! We turned the former playroom into Cecilia’s nursery.

This room actually has been a nursery 3 times now – it was Paxton’s original bedroom when we moved into this house, it was Weston’s room for a few months when we separated the boys and now is her room.

The crib was originally Weston’s, I bought hot pink with white polka dot cribs sheets, made the bunting banner (using a simple tutorial from Sewing School 101) and spray painted the ‘C’ teal.

Changing Table

We bought this dresser changing table when I was pregnant with her and sold our open shelving changing table. Our family made most of the elements of her gallery wall, the boys painted the canvas on the upper left, her daddy made her ribbon holder and I painted the other 4 canvases.

Rocking Chair

I also painted the ‘ABC’ canvas and we moved the rocking chair from the living room into her nursery. (This rocking chair was a Christmas present from John David before we had babies! When he gave it to me, I just knew I’d use it to rock babies to sleep in the future – I was right, it’s gotten a lot of rocking so far!)

ClosetHere’s a glimpse in her closet. That big tote holds hand-me-downs for the future and the drawers currently hold clothes that she’ll soon grow into. She has a few dresses hanging and a few sweaters in the basket but most of her clothes are stored in the dresser.

We currently keep very few toys in her room. We keep a small basket in her that holds her baby doll, a few teethers, soft books and a few little baby toys. Babies really don’t need much stuff! She also has some chunky puzzles and wooden blocks in our learning area. And, honestly, she prefers playing with brothers toys or a cardboard box over any of her baby toys.

So, that’s Cecilia’s sweet little nursery. Very simple and minimal with girly touches of hot pink and teal!

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