This year I made the leap and decided I wanted to homeschool my three rambunctious boys. After a lot of research about what the experts have to say — and a whole lot more inquisitive conversations — I ordered boxes of curriculum, stocked the shelves with even more books, bought stacks of ruled paper, and organized bright, colorful art supplies. I was ready to dig in.
Before I even started, I knew that in order to dial down the distractions and stay focused, we were going to need a designated room. While I bought a lot of new things for my boys this year, I also found joy in repurposing vintage books that were my mom’s and my grandpa’s, and finding homes for unique items found at estate sales and thrift stores. This, combined with the book recommendations which keep popping up on the #schoolkins hashtag on Instagram, lead to an abundant library full of nature volumes, historical titles, and biographies. My boys love to pull books from the shelves throughout the week. Plus, the surplus of books keeps my creative heart happy, since I sometimes arrange them by color instead of subject!
And of course, every personal library needs a reading area. Even when we’re not gathered together reading aloud, I’ll often find my boys curled up on the IKEA KARLSTAD sofa, feet up on the TOFTERYD coffee table, lost in a book from our collection. I love that they’re able to combine discovery and learning with the comforts of home even during the times they’re not sitting at our large school table, actively working on worksheets or a particular lesson. I also love how the coffee table’s drawers and compartments lend a little extra storage, which keeps our room tidy — no easy feat with three boys!
Being able to maintain a clean, uncluttered workspace — and being able to close it all up when you’re done — is a must, especially when you work from home like I do. Add in schooling from home as well, and storage becomes essential to survival.
Our bright yellow glass-door IKEA cabinets provide a place to stack books when we’re not using them, while also adding a cheery punch to the room.
More shelves — can you ever have enough shelving? — and an IKEA locker-inspired system add more even more order to a space that could easily become chaotic. I’m a big believer in the idea that beautiful surroundings affect your mood for the better. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but keeping your living space clean and orderly provides a mental boost which makes even chores a little more cheerful. And what busy mom can’t use a boost like that?
One of the most difficult challenges I encountered while designing this space is that so many products intended for educational use rely on primary colors, scrawling fonts, and apple motifs. I really wanted to maintain my own aesthetic in this space while also giving the boys freedom to be, well, wild and free. I also wanted to encourage discovery. Instead of the usual classroom posters, I opted instead to incorporate things like numbers, vintage book pages and a wonderfully creepy-crawly insect collection into the decor. And I injected humor, too, by grouping jars of wiggle eyes, confetti, and bright feathers in between the jars of crayons, pencils, and other school supplies. After all, like Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz famously joked, “Try not to have a good time. This is supposed to be educational.”
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Credit List ::
IKEA :: PINE BOX Knagglig , WHITE STORAGE BOXES Snika, LOCKER The PS Cabinet, SHELVING Ekby Järpen/Gällö, ROUND STORAGE The PS 2014 Series
WATERMELON LAMP + SHADOW BOXES Deco Baby
CACTUS NIGHT LIGHT Talo Interiors
CHALK GLOBE + DIAMOND CRAYONS Target
BOLT LIGHT Fromage La Rue
STOOL Serena & Lily
WOODEN LETTERS Polliwog Learning Products
WHALE POSTER Arminho
ANIMAL MASKS Wonderful Collective
LAMP The Land Of Nod
WILD AND FREE BANNER Little Dovie
EDUCATIONAL CHART My Bearded Pigeon
ANTLERS Yarn Bombed Antlers