Temporary Spaces - MetroFamily Magazine
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Temporary Spaces

by Jennifer Geary

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

When someone says the word "homeschooling" to me, I imagine a cozy scene of a mom and kids reading together on the couch, or maybe some great art project going being created, or a lively discussion around the kitchen table. Basically, I imagine a home. For most of our homeschooling lives, we've had a home in which we could easily live and learn, whether it was our small starter home in town or later, our larger home on five acres. 

Now, though, we're in a temporary home that isn't really ideal for the way we're used to living our life (yes, you can read that as we all like to spread out!), so I'm always on the lookout for ways to make our space more functional and cozy. You may not be in the process of selling/renting/building (and if you are, God bless you, because that is a rough way to live for a homeschooling family!), but you may be facing schooling in a temporary space–maybe a hospital room as you're helping a family member through an illness, or a hotel room as you travel, or even the car as you are driving kids all over town for different activities. Here are a few ideas that will hopefully help you out!

Have a routine. This is the backbone of your day, so if you can, have some kind of routine, even if it's very basic. When your kids (and you) know the plan, things will run much more smoothly, no matter where you are.

Use display boards. This probably won't help if you're not in a home, but for us, display boards have been a great way to have maps, calendar, etc. up like a bulletin board without the time and effort of hanging things that are just going to have to be taken down and moved again in a few months. Even if you're in a more permanent situation this may be helpful if you're short on wall space!

Use baskets. If you're short on bookshelves or even if you're in the car, baskets are a simple way to keep supplies and books together and if you get sturdy ones, they're easy to transport, too.

See the sights. Sometimes it's easier to be out of the house. If your living space is awkward or difficult, use that time to take some field trips, or if you're in a new place, take some time to explore!

Read aloud. I am so convinced that the best thing you can do for your children's brains is to read to them. Pick books related to the things they've been studying, or books about completely new topics, or just books for fun. Just read! You will not regret an afternoon spent reading aloud, and it can be so relaxing for everyone!

Go online. If you're on the go, especially, look for games or apps that can help your kids. Don't forget about Audible or Librivox for audio books, too.  These resources also have the added benefit of not taking up lots of physical space!

Have realistic expectations. If you're out of your comfort zone things will be more difficult–and that goes double for your kids! Be kind to yourself.  Figure out what things you must get done and focus on those. The rest can be added in gradually later on.

It's hard to live in limbo, but your efforts to create a good space for living and learning are important no matter where you are. As Sarah Mackenzie says in Teaching From Rest (go read it!!), "If education is an atmosphere, then creating an atmosphere of peace should be of utmost importance."

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