Our Five Ring Circus: How To Set Up a Simple & Fun Homeschooling Corner

Thursday, April 30, 2020

How To Set Up a Simple & Fun Homeschooling Corner

Homeschooling space

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We are on week five of remote learning, and we've finally found our groove! Just kidding...every day is a new adventure around here. Some days are really good, and some days are REALLY bad. (I didn't sign up for this!!!) The homeschooling corner, however, is my A+ project!

BSC (Before Social Distancing), I was a homeschooling mom to a 15 year old, and I didn't have much to do other than to oversee his education. Now, I'm overseeing four educations, actively assisting my 8 year old, fully supporting my 6 year old, who has Down syndrome, and "attending" daily circle time, and 5 additional teletherapies a week for him...all with a needy baby on my hip. The terms OCI, remote learning, Zoom meetings, and teletherapy are a part of my daily lingo.  (I repeat...I didn't sign up for this!) 

After the first few weeks of trial and error, it became apparent that we needed a homeschooling space. 3 of my 4 school-age kids will be returning to school in the Fall (PLEASE!), and Dylan only needs a laptop and a shelf for supplies, so I didn't want to do anything major. A homeschooling corner was the solution, and guess what? I think we'll keep it!

Welcome to our Homeschooling Corner! 

Simple Homeschooling Space

Pittsburgh Blogger

Down syndrome blogs

For the first few weeks of OCI (Online Continuity of Instruction), we winged it. It was a learning process for all of us, and what worked once didn't seem to work again. By the end of the first two weeks, the items we needed for homeschooling were scattered everywhere, and we were constantly searching for books, worksheets, supplies, and laptop chargers. Our kitchen and living room were full of clutter, and I was OVER it!

We just needed a good (temporary) space with storage so everything was within reach. Our living room is the central area in our home. It's where everyone tends to gather, and it's where the little kids like to play indoors. We spend most of our time in there. It only made sense to set up our homeschooling corner in the living room!

The corner I chose was actually our reading corner. It had a bookshelf, several baskets and crates of books, and comfy chairs. Although I initially set it up as a functional play space, it had quickly become a mess-making corner. Coen would take every book off the shelf and toss them in a pile, and he was starting to rip the pages in Liam's books. Something had to change, so I moved the chairs, relocated the bookshelf into Coen and Lily's room, and put Liam's books on the bookshelf in his room.

Down syndrome

We already had most of what we needed for our functional homeschooling space, but I did grab a few extra items to make life a little easier. My goal was to create a fun and functional spot for both Lily and Liam that would help us get through the next month and a half of homeschooling, and beyond. I wanted to set up a learning spot that would grow with our kids. 

The spot that I chose is only about 4 feet wide, so it doesn't take up a ton of space in our living room. I cleared off part of my gallery wall, so I could make the space feel like their own. It's in a corner, so it's out of the way, but it also serves as a reading spot, and a place they can sit to create.With so many people in one house, we have to keep things multi-functional!

Our new homeschooling corner was an instant hit! They do their online work at the desk, they sit at the desk during their Zoom meetings and teletherapy sessions, and they sit there to draw, read, and play when they aren't doing schoolwork. Plus, everything is within reach! It's EXACTLY what I hoped to accomplish!

Parenting Blogger

Here are the essentials for our homeschooling corner:


We were fortunate enough to already have an awesome antique school desk! There's a great story behind it, too. My husband's uncle, who had muscular dystrophy, used this desk for schooling. When he stopped using it, it was given to my husband and his brother, and they used it when they were little boys. My husband's uncle passed away a long time ago, so Grant loves having it in our home, and watching it get used by our own children!  The kids love sitting in it, plus it has a big drawer underneath for storage!

Down syndrome


I had this 3 Tier Rolling Cart on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so after we found out the kids would be homeschooling indefinitely, I purchased it. We're using it to store art supplies, school supplies, paper, notebooks, laptops, iPads, chargers, therapy tools, flashcards, and more! It's one of my most favorite Amazon finds, and I'm still setting it up! (I also bought these colorful pencil cups to hold all of our supplies.)

Rolling Art Supply Cart


This crate was a TJ Maxx find from years ago, but just FYI, Sam's Club currently has wooden storage crates in this size in their office supply aisle. We use this one as our holiday book crate, but since I packed the Easter books away, it's now holding books for Coen. Lately, he wants to be near me at all times, which is difficult while I'm helping Liam (or Lily). He really enjoys sitting by our side, looking through his baby-safe board books while we work!

Book Crate for Kids


I've also had this dry erase weekly calendar for years. I think it might have been a gift for my birthday or Mother's Day, but I use it all the time. Now we use it as a place to write down all the classes, Zoom meetings, and teletherapy sessions so we don't forget. There's a lot going on for the boys!

Homeschooling Ideas for Big Families


Liam has a daily circle time Zoom meeting, and they always do the calendar and weather. He really enjoys it, so I purchased the Melissa & Doug My Magnetic Daily Calendar for home use. He loves switching the magnets each day!

Homeschooling Blogger


This is a relatively recent Target find. It was in the Target Dollar Spot just before all the stay home orders were issued. I love it because I can hang it on the wall, the letters are big enough for easy recognition, and it comes with felt pieces so Liam can work on matching letter sounds. The pieces really stick and stay put!

Homeschool Room


This was also a Target Dollar Spot find! They had a few different styles for $3 each. I bought it weeks ago, but I had to run into Target for migraine medication yesterday, and I spotted them on an end cap in the Dollar Spot! I use it to hold a pencil, highlighter, and the worksheets that I print out for Liam for the day.

Homeschool Supplies


I bought this at the Target Dollar Spot over the Summer, but it seems like they always have them. I liked to reuse worksheets throughout the week for practice, but now Liam has daily tracing activities. I printed out one copy of each tracing sheet, and slid them into the sleeve with a dry erase marker and an eraser. I used a thumbtack to pin it to the wall behind the desk, and Liam can easily take it down, use it on his own, and put it back up! I highly recommend purchasing one of these if you have a young child or a child who has special needs. Amazon has a 12 pack of dry erase pocket sleeves for an amazing price!

Homeschooling a child with Down syndrome


We have a few special books that I don't want to get destroyed, so I hung a small wire basket on the wall to hold them. I think I will eventually add some themed books based on what we're learning each week, but right now it's holding some personalized books, sentimental favorites, and some of our favorite Alphabet Legends books. These books are fun and BEAUTIFUL! (Here's a link to our favorite American Legends Alphabet Book!)

Homeschooling Ideas


Yet another Target Dollar Spot find from years ago, but Amazon has these, too! I usually swap out the artwork with recent pieces or holiday arts and crafts. Now it's holding projects we work on at home, and a picture of Liam from 2017. He loves it for some reason, so I kept it there!

Displaying Art Projects

(Funny enough, I added two more items to our homeschooling corner this week: A felt United States map, and a cute alphabet banner, both from Target! I will share those in my Instagram stories tomorrow!)

Special Needs Blog

Liam and Lily love their little homeschooling corner, and Lexie and Dylan frequently snag supplies from our storage cart. Although I hope they can return to school in the Fall, their homeschooling corner will remain for learning and creating at home, Flexible Instruction Days (snow days - if we have them), and homework. Our younger kids often sit at the desk when they aren't doing schoolwork, which I love. Learning at home should be a fun and positive experience, and I am thrilled that they love their cozy learning space! 

Homeschooling Setup

Do you have a special spot (or room) for homeschooling? What are your homeschooling essentials?

Pin it for later:

How To Set Up a Simple & Fun Homeschooling Corner

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