Overview: Your homeschool room is one of the most valuable assets you have to teach your child. The things you place in your environment and the experiences you give your child is what ultimately determines their unique learning timeline.
We value space, to create a handsome environment and its potential to inspire social, affective, and cognitive learning. The space is an aquarium that mirrors the ideas and values of the people who live in it.
Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio approach to learning focuses on the environment as the third teacher.
Well I’m going to be a bit different…
Because as I see it, the environment, your homeschool room, is the first teacher.
And not just your homeschool room…the experiences you give your child are equally important.
The things you place in your environment and the experiences you give your child is what determines their unique learning timeline.
This is why every child learns different skills at a different time.
Every child has different experiences and different environments they can interact with. A child who has been in an environment that values reading will develop the motivation and the readiness to learn how to read earlier than a child who is in an environment that values science.
Our Homeschool Room
In our home, we value creative play and learning. Our homeschool room has a large area for dramatic play, small worlds, and art.
As a result, Sicily learns best through her imagination. She re-enacts her experiences whether that would be from real life, books, or even in her imagination.
You’ll often see Sicily playing school with her stuffed animals. She likes to do story time with them and teach them about the letters she knows.
Again this is due to her environment. If I hadn’t placed letters, sound boxes, and books in her environment she wouldn’t have thought about teaching them to her animals.
Don’t take it from just me…
Annie, one of our mamas using Learning Through Experiences, noticed this with her younger son….
I didn’t worry about counting or numbers with my 4 year old until we started doing preschool at 3. Even though I haven’t focused on it with my 2 year old, he can almost count to 10, just from listening and following along with the activities his older brother is doing!
Because Annie’s youngest son experienced his brother learning numbers and explored the number materials in her homeschool room, he is able to count to 10 at a much younger age than most kiddos.
What is an Encouraging Homeschool Room?
Your homeschool room is where you will do most of your learning. It doesn’t even have to be a seperate room. You could utilize different parts of your house for different types of learning.
Creating a space that is encouraging should focus on being child-led and this is for all age groups.
You want to have space for learning games that focus on learning specific skills. These games should allow the child to explore the skills in their own way with only modeling from you.
Your homeschool room should include space for invitations to create, explore, or play.
And it should also have a space for creative arts including dramatic play, music, and visual arts.
Your homeschool room should reflect the values and interests of the people who use it. When I walk into your space, I should immediately be able to tell what your children are interested in and how they learn best.
Most importantly, your homeschool room should be everchanging. Your child’s interests and even the ways in which they learn best will constantly change as they grow and develop. Your homeschool room should reflect this.
An encouraging environment gives your child the freedom and space to learn in their own way and in their own time.
You control the environment.
Your environment controls what your child learns.
Your child controls how and when the learning happens.
Using Experiences Outside the Homeschool Room
Your child is constantly learning, so take advantage of experiences that happen outside the homeschool room.
We love going on field trips. We’ll plan trips that relate to current interests to keep the exploration going.
Most of the time our new interests start during a field trip.
Over the summer, I took the kiddos to our local science center. They have a huge dinosaur exhibit that has life size dinosaur replicas. Sicily was terrified of the big dinosaurs, but couldn’t stop staring at them.
Even though she was scared, it sparked a lot of questions and a natural curiosity in dinosaurs. That was months ago and she still has dinosaurs in our homeschool room because she still wants to learn about them.
We plan on going back to the science center next summer to see the dinosaur exhibit again. I’m curious to see if it will spark new questions or if it will close the learning on dinosaurs for now.
The Unlikely Experiences Are The Most Important
Your everyday experiences are the most important for learning. Those real life experiences that we usually forget to include our children in.
Grocery shopping, paying bills, laundry, cooking, cleaning…
Your child should be involved in all of these because they are good learning experiences. I know, especially with younger kiddos, that letting them help can be more of a hindrance.
But these simple, everyday activities are what truly prepare them for life.
And not to mention, help spark a motivation and readiness to learn those skills you want them to learn…
You know the reading, writing, and math skills.
Pay attention to the experiences that happen outside the homeschool room. These usually give you clues to new curiosities and interests.
Strewing Throughout the Homeschool Room
Have you ever heard of strewing?
It’s a valuable tool to use in your homeschool room.
Strewing basically means setting up invitations around the room to spark new learning and curiosities.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant either. Let’s say you want your 6th grader to learn more about history. You could simply set out a book on World War 1 on the table where he would most likely see it.
The same goes for those important skills you want your child to learn. Remember even though your child controls when and how a skills is learned, you control the environment.
Intentionally planning cooking activities that uses fraction measurements that you know your kiddo will want to help with can spark their interests and motivation to learn fractions.
You can also use strewing to tests interests, especially with younger kiddos.
If I notice Sicily playing with ants outside, I might set up an ant book with some clay and sticks to see how she interacts.
Seeing the invitation interest her lets me know I can plan more activities on ants. If not, then I know it wasn’t a true interest and I save myself a ton of time planning activities she won’t engage with.
How to Set Up Your Homeschool Room
Before even stepping inside your homeschool room, you need to sit down to figure out what your family’s values are and the goals you have for your child.
Once you figure out your values and your child’s goals, spend some time figuring out what your child values (their interests) and how they learn best.
For Sicily she learns best through her imagination and I value creative arts, so our homeschool room has lots of space to explore interests through both avenues.
Your room should be set up in a way that highlights your child’s interests, how they learn best, and your values.
Remember if it’s not in your environment, your child won’t become motivated or ready to learn it.
Tips & Tricks
1. Use Shelves
Shelves make it easier for your child to see the activities that are available. Remember your area should be child-led which means you need space for learning games/activities. Shelves work best for this.
2. Less is More
Imagine walking into your kitchen. It’s a mess. Everything is laying out on the counter or put in the wrong cabinet. Would you be able to efficiently cook in this kitchen?
Most likely not.You’d probably be really frazzled and most likely wouldn’t even finish the dinner.
That’s exactly how your child feels in an environment that has too much. When you have less available, more learning happens and the deeper the concentration.
3. Designated Spaces
Have designated spaces for different types of activities. At minimum, you should have a space for cozy reading, a table for writing/creating, floor space to spread out, and a space where it’s okay to get messy.
They don’t all have to be in same room. You may have a cozy reading spot in your child’s room, messy explorations in the kitchen, and floor space in your living room.
Are you ready to get started with child led learning? Click the image below to download our getting started guide.
Hey Beautiful Mama!
I’m Amanda! With over 11 years of teaching experience, I quit my dream job to homeschool my kiddos. Now I’m sharing our days and my experience, so you can raise a child who is confident, independent, and most importantly loves learning.
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