Now that the holiday season is coming to an end, I am happy to share my homeschool classroom overhaul and tour! I got started right after Christmas, and it was a pretty epic week. However, now that it’s done, I feel like I can finally breathe again!
The Post Christmas Purge That Motivated My Homeschool Classroom Overhaul
Admittedly, it might seem strange to overhaul your classroom in the middle of the school year. I guess I felt the urge to purge after Christmas. Ok, so if I’m being perfectly honest, there was also the matter of a Christmas gift that forced the issue. More on that to come.
So originally, I intended to do a time lapse of the entire process of cleaning, purging, and organizing this space. But it ended up being a monumental task for me to sort through 8 years of books, papers, craft supplies, curriculum…and little bits and pieces of my heart…
Letting Go of Sentimental Childhood Treasures
My boys were in 1st and 3rd grades when we started homeschooling. They were so little! And now they are big, grown up teenagers. I needed a lot of time to mourn over all these sweet memories, and then allow myself to let them go.
I am super sentimental, and I am a notorious packrat, so you can imagine the struggle. So here is how the classroom started out:
And this little gem is the only picture I got of the chaos that ensued once I got started:
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Homeschool Classroom Overhaul: A Multi-Functional Space
We call this our classroom, but it really is a multi-functional space. I rearranged the furniture to create clearly defined zones. Even with sectioning it off for different purposes, it still feels open and uncluttered. That makes me really happy! So, without further ado, let’s begin the tour of our overhauled classroom space!
Homeschool Classroom Zones:
1.) Computer Desk/School Work Zone
As you walk into the room, we have the computer desk and a filing cabinet. My husband rescued the filing cabinet from a dumpster. It was a fantastic find! We just spray painted it with metallic blue spray paint. This gave it an automotive feel, perfect for a boy cave/classroom. Then we added a pine board table top to create a work surface and a home for our printer.
Using Hanging File Folders to Organize Curriculum and Printables:
I love to use hanging file folders to keep curriculum and printed materials organized. Some people use what they call the “crate system” to plan out an entire year of homeschool curriculum. I’m not that organized, but using hanging file folders makes it so much easier to find everything I need quickly and efficiently.
You can purchase crates or totes that function the same as a file cabinet. They work really well because they are lighter, and take up less space. This is actually how I sort paperwork for our blog. It’s a wonderful and frugal way to stay organized!
Uncluttered Surfaces for School Work Make all the Difference!
Even if it doesn’t stay this way for long in my house, I find that clean, uncluttered surfaces make a huge difference when doing school work. The desk was a transplant from another room in the house. It has a smaller footprint than our old desk, which I love.
And finally, we have a very affordable folding table placed in front of the window. (Here is a similar one) Natural light and a pretty sweet view are also really inspiring when you are trying to get some work done!
2.) Homeschool Library and School Supply Storage Zone
Continuing our homeschool classroom overhaul tour, we come to the back wall. Bookshelves fill most of this area, housing our books and additional school supplies. I purchased these bookshelves at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore for $10 each. We bolted them together, then secured them to the wall. I absolutely LOVE our bookshelves!
I didn’t quite get to clearing off the top of the bookshelves. Maybe I should let my heart recover for a few weeks before I let go of my boys’ arts and crafts projects.
If you don’t have room for a complete library, or a dedicated classroom space, for that matter, don’t worry! I have a blog post on how to use vintage freezer baskets for homeschool curriculum. If you have room for a basket, and some space at your dining room table, that is all you need!
Keeping Records of School Work in Binders
No homeschool classroom overhaul would be complete without a place to store our “year books.” This is how I keep records of school work, writing assignments, art projects, and pictures of my boys throughout the school year.
I found that utilizing binders worked really well with our literature based curriculum. We loosely follow the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. She encouraged learning through really fantastic literature, rather than textbooks.
We used Five in a Row for elementary grades, and Beautiful Feet for our core curriculum in junior high and high school. I explain more about our curriculum in my blog post, Beginners Guide to Frugal Homeschooling.
Repurposing Dresser Drawers to Make Shelves
I thought long and hard about letting go of this little diy project. It was one of the first things we did when we decided to homeschool 8 years ago. You can read all about our frugal storage solution for our craft supplies to see how it came together.
Ultimately, I decided to keep it. It doesn’t take up much room and I still like to do artsty craftsy things every once in a while. Even if my boys have outgrown that kind of stuff. Or, more accurately, their ‘crafts’ include way more tools, fire, and danger now.
3.) The TV/Gaming Zone
This is the most lived in part of our classroom. It’s the boy cave area. In a room dedicated to teenage boys, there is nothing precious here. The couches are old, worn out, and wallowed, but comfy. I found the coffee table at a thrift store, painted it, and added new ceramic drawer knobs.
A wall cabinet that came from our former laundry room is now serving as the home of video games, gaming consoles, and movies. Back in 2017, we doubled our classroom space by taking in our back porch. You can see the video all about that renovation here.
Be forewarned though. It was my very first video I ever put together, and I did it on PowerPoint. It’s a little cringey, so y’all give me lots of grace!
4.) The Band Practice Zone
In the back of the room, we have the drum set and bass guitar set up for our boys to do band practice. I am so grateful my boys have a heart for music. They have learned so much and it is a wonderful way for them to learn discipline.
Most of the time, I don’t even mind it when they rattle the windows of my house…most of the time.
5.) The Weight Lifting Zone
So here is the mystery Christmas gift that became the catalyst for this entire homeschool room overhaul. I have had such good intentions to clean and purge this classroom for so. very. long. And what it finally took to get my rear in gear, is this big ol’ beast.
I’m super excited that my son has taken an interest in lifting weights. I hope it will inspire all of us to take better care of our health. I told him it could be a tool for transformation, or another place to hang clothes.
I’m happy to report that it has already served as a tool of transformation by forcing me to take care of something I have put off for 8 years. It feels really good to get rid of a lot of clutter and finish the school year with a fresh, clean start.
Thanks so much for checking out our homeschool classroom overhaul!
Want to organize your own classroom space? Here are some helpful links!
- Hanging File Folder Crate – light and easy to move
- Clear Plastic Hanging File Folder Totes – the lid keeps dust off documents
- Colored Hanging File Folders – keeps you organized!
- Binders – great way to keep records
- Page Protectors – keeps papers from tearing, falling out, and getting lost
That looks so good! We used Five in a Row, too, when all of mine were younger. Probably my favorite curriculum. The arts and crafts on top of the shelves look great! Don’t be in a hurry to purge them.
I LOVED FIAR! I miss them being little! I definitely won’t get in a hurry to purge their crafts. Not for a while, at least! =)
This is so good and so needed! Fellow homeschooler here! And the urge to purge after Christmas is so real!! I can honestly say our worst are is that computer desk, it seems everything ends up there. Thank you so much for posting this!
Christen, I responded to you on Facebook and forgot to respond here! Haha! I’m so glad you found this helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out! Hope all goes well with you and your homeschooling this year! =) ~Shanna
Ok, I absolutely love your ideas for “zones”. I am struggling in a new house not having a designated home school area. This is SO helpful for me. My living room is a similar size. I am going to plan out a few different zones (they are kind of already there), but even designate them and explain it to my kids. Thank you so much for outlining your process! So helpful. Also, we did a lot with 5 in a row in the early years and oh the sweet memories!
Jamie, that makes me so happy that this was helpful for you! Homeschooling can take over everything in our house very easily. Establishing zones was one way for me to keep my sanity. I would love to hear how it works out for you and your children! And I’m so glad to hear from another FIAR family! That curriculum was such a blessing to us! I think I learned just as much, if not more, than my boys. Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out our blog! God bless you! ~Shanna
Wow! I am so impressed. What a useful and attractive space! We homeschool too, and I would have loved to have such a useful, organized space when I was teaching 6 at home! We were spread out all over the house, and it could be frustrating at times to not have all the homeschooling materials contained in one area.
Amy, thank you so much! It really does help to have a special space set aside for school. Thanks for checking it out!