Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Simple Homeschool

I home educate my children for so many different reasons. In fact, a friend recently asked me why I homeschool and there isn't an easy answer. It surely isn't easy to do, but I know it's worth the time, effort, money and sacrifice.

As we enter our fourth official year of homeschooling, I'm still trying to keep it simple. I don't try to emulate what is happening in a traditional school setting, so I'm off the hook with designing bulletin boards and centers. And I am very blessed to have girls who are close enough in age to do most of our work together.

The Curriculum
  • History - Story of the World Volume 3
  • Math - Singapore and Life of Fred
  • Grammar - First Language Lessons Level 3
  • Writing - Writing With Ease Level 3
  • Science - The Story of Science by Joy Hakim
  • Spelling - All About Spelling
  • Music - violin lessons and daily practice
  • Bible/Faith - um....the Bible and our daily practice of faith

The School Room 
I definitely have a minimalist approach when it comes to setting up our learning area. In fact, prior to now, I haven't really had formal desks for my girls to sit at. We would work at the kitchen table, work on the floor, sit on the futon or use a combination of coffee tables and end tables. My husband did build our youngest a desk last year. Our oldest used the coffee table, but she is just too big to be doing that this year and I didn't want another semi-functional desk.

Last month I ran across Pam's set up and was green with envy. When I showed it to my husband, he actually liked it so we made a trip to IKEA this past weekend.

Each girl has a set of drawers on one side and a shelf on the other side. The chairs are also from IKEA, but we've had them for years. Traditional chairs were a little too short for my girls, so we snagged these from our dining room table and they use regular chairs there now (which means two corners of the extra bedroom are open now!)

I love how their violins fit on the top shelf. They are still accessible for playing whenever they want, but safely placed out of the way.

Originally I thought there would be space for me to sit, but then we got the shorter table tops. I don't know if you can tell, but each piece of this desk is separate. This makes it extremely versatile and easy to move or change around if we need to.

I have my books here where I have easy access. I'll simply pull a chair up and sit on this end when we are doing school.

Because of this new desk, I was able to get rid of a bookshelf, a coffee table, a small table and chairs, a desk and a double cart of drawers that we used to use for school. That's 5 big things out the door...and several smaller things!

I still have my homeschool cabinet in the corner, which houses some supplies, but there is a lot of space in there. I'm thinking of moving some of my violin books down so they are easily accessible for teaching violin. And I'll keep my violin on top.

And that's it! Here are a couple more shots of the room.

and now for the best part......

The Students

Like last year, I'll have a class size of 2...perfect if you ask me!

my 3rd grader

my 2nd grader


  1. I love how simple it is and that everything has a place! And I still love that wall map. I can't wait to replace some of our kitchen chairs with a built in bench that hopefully Brian will build. It'll feel so much cleaner and less cluttered without several of the chairs...and easier to clean the floor!

    1. I've seen some of the floating bench ideas you've been pinning - those would be awesome!

      I love my map, too....probably my favorite thing in my house.

  2. It looks awesome! You are making much better use of those shelves than I am. The violins are a perfect fit.

  3. I love those desks! I so wish we had a room like that just for school. Good luck this year!

  4. Hello! I've had the picture of your girls' desks saved for years! Now that my boys are old enough to need a good amount of space for their school work, can I try to pick your brain from this older blog post to ask about the desks? I know they are Ikea. Do you know what size tabletop you decided on? I found the Alex drawers, but I haven't been able to find those shelves. Do you remember what they were called? I want to be able to go into Ikea, just hand them my list, and have them help me find everything so I can get in and out. I'll be grateful for any help you are able to give me. Many thanks!

    1. The table top is 24" by 47". The shelves were called Ullrik and I don't think Ikea carries them anymore, but I bet they have something similar. Hope this is helpful!

    2. Very! Thank you, Jill! I've enjoyed reading your blog for years. I'm a minimalist myself, and right now we are just using tv trays. They work, but nowadays, with some of my boys work, the trays are just getting too small. I think this setup could work for us for years to come. Thank you, again, and thank you for sharing and writing. I enjoy it very much and find so much inspiration from your writing to continue a simple life and simple homeschool so we can focus on what we believe is truly important.