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Homeschooling in a Tiny House

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I know many people will read that title and quite literally shudder at the thought. Home educating… tiny house….no thank you!! I’d have been right with you if you had asked me back in 2020 during those early pandemic days. September ’23 will mark the start of our third school year of homeschooling and doing it in our tiny house and it really isn’t that bad. A couple of things I’ve discovered about educating multiple ages in a tiny (and it really is tiny – 10x13ft room) space…

Group Together – This one works for homeschooling in general and isn’t limited to tiny house living either. I have three girls born within 3 years for certain subjects we group together as much as possible. History, Geography, Science, Literature and German I teach altogether in one space on our bench table. The Preschooler joins in usually sat on the sofa and I am constantly amazed at what she picks up, she’s been known to ask strangers “who is your favourite wife… ya know Henry’s wife..who is your bestest…mines Catherine Parr”, she’s not yet 5. The older three girls really benefit from having different age perspectives and it makes using the space we have so much easier as its one board, one book, one laptop screen and everyone shares.

Use what you Got – Pinterest really did the dirty on me when I first started homeschooling and searched homeschool rooms. They are all huge, well organised with tonnes of storage!! Of course I would love to have a big blackboard, a dedicated computer area with a printer set up all the time (ours has to be pulled out when its needed and set up), bookshelves full of books and the staple of the homeschool mum….the famed ikea trolley complete with all the craft and art supplies. Truth is I just don’t have the space or the funds. What I do have is a large window – perfect for using as a ‘stage’ to present projects and posters from when stuck up with blutak, I have 3 shelves which can be used to rotate books as needed and hold baskets for workbooks, I have a utensil holder repurposed for pens and pencils and we all share together instead of having individual cases. Our small blackboard works really well for if I do a formal lesson and want to demonstrate something like the water system. Flipchart pads or A3 pads of paper and a big marker do the same job and can be thrown away when no longer being used.

Organise – I preface this bit by stating that with 7 children living in a tiny space organisation is like fighting a losing battle because no one seems to want to ever put anything in the loving home I make for it, but for what it is worth its a good idea to try and organise things as best as possible. For my older school going kids their books are all kept under their bed in a roll out drawer. The girls have a tray each which holds their workbooks & reading books. Everyone has a folder where they can keep work they really really want to keep and any worksheets. This means when its learning time everyone know’s where to find their stuff which cuts out half the battle of changing a space from ‘living room’ to ‘school room’.

Use all your Space – In the depths of winter when we experienced minus temperatures for days all we naturally wanted to do was snuggle up…so we did. I made my bed our ‘school’ for the day. We read our book, we did a small craft activity and the older girls managed some workbooks on their laps. Ok it wasnt their neatest work but it got done all the same. The change and just accepting that a more formal style of learning wasn’t going to be happening while it was so grim outside led to some really nice learning. Our kitchen is absolutely tiny (I think its 3 foot wide, I’ve not measured because the number will be depressing) and only fits one person at a time in it but we rotate baking so that each person gets a day to work away and bake until their heart is content. Ok its not a lovely parent child bonding experience standing at a worktop together measuring out flour but the close proximity of the kitchen to my bedroom and everything else means that we’re never far from one another anyways!

 

Get outside – This is a given isn’t it. I quickly learned that all of the things I wanted to teach the girls inside could be adapted to be taught outside – gaining us a lot of extra space. Mental maths questions can be fired off while out for a walk, science taught through nature, huge art projects lend themselves very nicely to outdoor life. Thats just whats on the doorstep without factoring in the opportunities for field trips. We do a lot of field trips and try and visit both local places and some further afield very regularly. This year I’m planning more field trip based learning opportunities as it makes for a great fun day out & again makes learning come to life.

 

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