Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning Spaces: Do You, or Don't You?

It's spring! And it's not raining for a few days! That means this little 200 sq ft schoolhouse that's been boarded up all winter has now been uncovered, and work is happening! All those ideas that were put on hold are twirling and swirling around in my head again! Somebody, grab the butterfly net!  Seriously, how often do you get to design the perfect little schoolroom?

Anyway, back when this construction project first started, I googled and looked everywhere for design/decor ideas for a homeschool room.  And I have to admit I was disappointed.

Most of the school rooms I saw were rather bland.  A couple of desks or a table, charts covering the walls, and a bookshelf in the corner.  The "organizational" aspect seemed to be far more important than the actual environment - so I saw lots of photos of cupboards and filing cabinets and workboxes.  Great ideas, but nothing that struck me as "This is exactly what I want!"

What was far more saddening to me, however, was an almost snobbish attitude among many that "WE don't need a schoolroom."  Or if we have one, "we only use it for STORAGE."  Because learning happens through real life, you know.  Not in a classroom.  Or "We do our work at the kitchen table!  It's the CENTER of our universe!"  And my favorite:  "The WORLD is our classroom."

Granted, learning happens through real life.  But won't a child learn best in an environment tailored to his learning needs?  In a space where he personally feels comfortable and inspired?  Where there are "real-living" tools at the child's level and there is an environment where she can learn and discover and establish independence at her pace?

Now, I completely understand limited space issues - we're living with those right now!  And everything happens at the coffee table in our living room.  But there are things you can do, even with a limited space, to stimulate and promote learning.  We'll be looking at some of those in this Learning Spaces series.

Off my soapbox for now.  Here are a few spaces I liked:
 And I appreciated this balanced article:
What about you?  Do you have a dedicated learning space for your child?  I'm still looking for ideas!


Mike and Katie said...

We had a dedicated room for a while but then moved to the kitchen. The one thing that I failed to remember was how often during my school years that I refered to the alphabet chart above the chalk board. That is definitely something I will provide in the space we create for the little girls. It will be fun to see what you create.

ShEiLa said...

My children all went to public school and our house was small... we always used the dining room table for homework and science/art projects.

I think it is admirable that you are dedicating a space for learning.


Heidi said...

I look forward to seeing what you do with your schoolroom!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

The Fifth Street Mama said...

We are kitchen table folks! However I hope to change that up some when we move to our new farm next year. Just in time for Kindergarten I will (maybe) have a school space. Or at least 8.75 acres of land to spread out a blanket or set op a picnic table and teach :)

Musical Mama said...

We're in the process of converting our office to our Montessori school room. I had originally planned the basement playroom to be a school room as well, but that is not working out for us - too many distractions, and I don't want to put all of my materials out where other kids come over to play. So the upstairs loft is becoming the school room/office, because the computer is staying put. I'll be interested to see what you guys come up with! :)

ScrappinAway said...

I can't wait to read more on this. We use a corner in our kitchen, but I dream of a place that is separate!!!

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Ticia said...

We have one, but I don't really use it as much as I'd like. Mainly because I haven't figured out ways to make them work super well.
One of the areas is our loft, and that's the one I use most. It's got a calendar chart, my old big book stand and a bunch of stuff that's a big mess.
In my sewing room/school room we've got desks for the kids, but it doesn't work super well. 1. They're not really ready to be at desks and working on their own. 2. The room is always a mess because we have too much stuff in it for the size of the room.

Hippie4ever said...

I'm really interested in this :) My son is 14 months and right now I'm trying to get a table in the computer room for him to do crafts and color at. His toys are mainly in the living room...I think *know* I need more organization :)