Sunday, August 5, 2012

Designated Space

A few years ago when we homeschooled Emily and James, we had a designated room to homeschool.   The room served as a guest bedroom/office/homeschool room. It contained the usual things such as a table, computer, bookcase, map of the world, etc.  This space served it's purpose well as we were teaching two children basically the same material.  This time around we will have all three kids home and each of them has their own set of materials they will be working on.  I didn't think having a designated space was really necessary.  I had imagined each of the kids in their own rooms while Dennis and I moved between them.  It wasn't until I read Clay Clarkson's Educating the WholeHearted Child, this summer that I started to revisit the idea of having a designated space.  In their opinion, a home ought to have a space set aside that cultivates a positive attitude towards learning.  I thought about our home, which we have only been in for a year, and whether it would fit that description.  To be quite honest, it does not.  Some of our rooms say formal, like our dining room and front room.  Some of our rooms say relaxed, like our family room and porch. Our kid's bedrooms are all designed and decorated to their tastes, but no where in our home could I imagine us gathering with the purposes of 'cultivating an attitude towards learning'.  There was no where to be messy, to do a craft, to browse through books, spread out on the floor, get supplies conveniently, draw on a chalkboard, check out a world map, hang up projects, etc.  Granted my kids are getting older and hopefully Elmer's glue won't need to be purchased by the gallon anymore, but still, a place that says, "we homeschool" all of sudden sounded really important. 

Thankfully, we had the space to make this happen. We have a bonus room over our garage that serves as a guest bedroom and TV room with plenty of space left over to make a designated homeschool room.  We added a bookcase and filled it with what we needed. We used our old table adding a few larger chairs for our two that have grown significantly since their last homeschool experience.  We put some inspirational things on the wall (still need to find the Periodic Table for James) and a large white board and cork board.  It doesn't sound like much but already when the kids go up there I can see a change in their demeanor.  It's the place for them that's different from any other space in our home.  It's meant to be used and enjoyed for the specific purposes of learning.  Tomorrow we start that journey together and I'm so grateful God has blessed us with a place to do that.

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