For those that don’t know, we recently sold our home to RV full time with our 4 kids while I was pregnant with our 5th. Hurricane Ian had other plans and demolished our RV shortly before our baby arrived. With the price of homes and lack of inventory, we ended up buying a 1401 square foot home where we live and homeschool our five kids. We have become masters at homeschooling in a small space. These are my best secrets to homeschool in a small house:
Related: Small House Living with Kids
Make your furniture multi-functional.
When you’re on a tight budget, you can’t exactly invest in multi-functional furniture that can serve multiple purposes.
We gave up using any kind of desk and just use our dining room table for all of our homeschool, eating, and arts and crafts needs.
If you have outdoor space, consider buying a picnic table.
We are now to the point that we are tired of having to clean up lessons to have lunch, so we’ll start having lunch outside.
This is easier for us because we live in Florida and the weather is almost always great for eating outside.
Your kitchen table works just as well as a massive desk for homeschooling.
Sometimes we homeschool in our living room on the couch.
We use whatever space we have because it’s the only option.
Utilize wall space:
Use wall-mounted shelves, corkboards, or pegboards to maximize vertical space for storage.
The key to using small spaces to their fullest is to use every inch, especially the walls.
This can help keep supplies organized and create more room for activities.
Mobile storage solutions:
Opt for storage solutions on wheels, such as rolling carts or bins.
This allows you to move supplies around easily and adapt the space for different activities.
We have this fold up white board easel and keep it behind our couch when not in use.
Designate specific areas:
Create designated areas for homeschool supplies.
We have this wire shelf in our garage that is full of all of our gameschool games.
I also keep every single homeschool supply in our garage that isn’t used on a daily basis.
This means extra binders, our homeschool curriculum, even construction paper lives in the garage.
I put a week’s worth of curriculum in 1 inch binders for each kid and keep that in our homeschool cabinet.
Each week, usually on Sunday, I staple together everything that’s been completed and put it in a plastic bin in our garage.
In Florida we have to submit annual portfolios for each kid, so I keep a small amount of paper work to prove we’re homeschooling.
Daily setup and breakdown:
I can’t tell you how much I hate this part.
After dinner every night, I’m ready to fall into bed after soccer practices, jiu-jitsu, and whatever else we got into that day.
I always tell myself that I’ll be thankful in the morning that I put the time in to clean the table completely tonight.
Develop a routine where you set up and break down the homeschooling space each day.
This might involve taking out specific materials in the morning and storing them away in the afternoon to free up shared spaces.
Organize homeschool supplies efficiently:
I am not a naturally organized person.
See my disgusting house post for proof.
I came by these skills via a lack of any other options.
It turns out, when all of our things are organized, I actually need less stuff.
I can’t tell you how many duplicates of items I’ve purchased over the years because I couldn’t find what I already had.
Now, I keep art supplies in one of these 3 drawer things.
Our yearly curriculum is in another one.
We installed 3 unfinished cabinets in an awkward corner in our dining room and they are full of everything we use on a daily basis.
If installing cabinets isn’t an option (believe me, this made our dining room even tighter than it was before) invest in storage containers, bins, and organizers to keep supplies neatly organized.
Explore digital resources and online learning platforms to reduce the need for physical materials.
My family owns less books than any other homeschool family I know.
We use our library for every penny our tax dollars put toward it.
I’m sure they’re somehow losing money on us.
We also have a Kindle Unlimited subscription that lets us read thousands of ebooks.
My favorite reading purchase has been Reading Eggs which obviously takes up no space.
This can help declutter your space and make homeschooling more portable.
While I used to hate the idea of too much screentime, I now see it as the lifeline that it is when living in a small home.
Remember, the key is to be flexible and adaptable. Experiment with different setups until you find what works best for your family. Regularly declutter and reevaluate your space. When we lived in an RV, I kept only a small amount of play money, our swatting game, math manipulatives (our base 10 set) and our curriculum with us. Where there is a will, there is a way! I promise you can make homeschool work even in the tiniest of spaces.