Homeschool Classroom: Decorating Your Home on a Budget

Monday, December 12, 2016

The moment we get settled in to a new home, the first thing each of us does is to find a spot we strongly connect to. Mine would always be by a window, while my husband needs the most quiet corner because of his virtual meetings. Both kids, although they have their own rooms to mess with, share a common learning area. That way they can share ideas, and Cole, being the older sibling, can read stories to Attika and give her painting lessons from time to time. The bickering may not stop on some days, but for as long as they hug and say their “I love yous” before hitting the sack, I’m fine with that.

We are a home-based family. We homeschool, we work from home and run a business from home, so we need functional spaces where we can do our responsibilities without feeling like everything is work. People get curious when we say we homeschool and want to know how our “school” looks like. I’m giving you a glimpse of our working spaces at home, but first, I’d like to answer some of the questions I have been asked recently.

Is it important to have individual working spaces at home?

Yes. It is important, although you should not let the idea of creating work spaces at home intimidate you. The idea of spending time together at home is wonderful, but we all work on different things and projects, which all require a physical space where we can accomplish them.

Do we need to personalize work spaces?

The choice is yours. We encouraged our kids to personalize their desks to make them feel comfortable and so they can claim a space that they can call their own. Deciding what to put on their desks and decorating them was a jolt to their creativity.

Cole painted an old teapot for Attika's pen organizer

It is also easier to keep track of their learning activities and having their own desks means having the responsibility of cleaning up and making sure things are in order. Seeing neat desks most of the time though is being too optimistic in our case because Cole paints and Attika is a very “busy” five-year-old girl.

I like to work on a clean desk and my husband gets more creative with mess and creates more with the mess that he makes. My best friend OCD is not friends with him, so we have to have separate working areas where he won’t constantly be battling with my nosy friend.

Does it mean we have to spend more for home improvement?

Definitely not! We put the reduce, reuse, recycle principle into practice. Unless you want to and if you have squeezed it in your budget, you don’t need to hire people to create your work areas. Any home improvement project that does not require the expertise of carpenters, electricians, plumber, etc., is a good way of spending quality time with your family. Take time to plan specific projects with them like adding shelves in a corner or painting old desks. It would help to create a timeline. If the kids are old enough to take on small home improvement projects, discuss who will be responsible for what. This is a good way to teach kids basic project planning.

All of the carpentry work at home were done by Alex and Cole. Alex started teaching Cole basic carpentry at the age of 10. The paint job in their study area were also mostly done by Cole.

Remember that the word is "personal" not "grand". It's a space that grows with you, a space that says you.

What if we don’t have enough space at home?

The kitchen is always a good area to study and do projects. Or the living room. Or the floor somewhere. No matter how small your home is, there will always be that spot where you can study or let your creativity flow. If you have to share a common space, just remember to keep the place tidy so the rest of the family can also use the space without wasting time tidying up. Remind the kids to keep the house in order because studies show that a tidy, clean house attracts more positive energy.

We have also worked and studied in kitchens and hallways and it doesn’t matter. Don’t let 'not having enough space' stop you from being productive and from creating memories in that beautiful space you call home. Still, the most important thing is the abundance of love and support that we give our children. I like being best friends with my family, and even if it means not being able to control half-screams sometimes -- because we’re humans in a real world -- we know that we have each other’s backs at all times.

Our "classroom", our home, our playground

Welcome to our “classroom” where everything is refurbished, reused, recycled. The old jars sitting in our storage have become pen holders; old frames (which we bought from a flea market seven years ago) have been repurposed into cork board frames; boxes of sorts were made into paint brush holders. Other things you might find here are repainted letter holders, chipped-off teapots, organizers made from old newspapers, Attika's old boot-turned-flower-vase, old shoe box repurposed as desk organizer and curios that we have collected over the years.

Cole's and Attika's desks used to be our old dining table, which the boys cut in half and turned into study tables. A little bit of carpentry work and viola!

Cole's Corner

Attika's Corner

Cole and Attika's shared space

The "classroom" occupies the space under Cole's customized loft bed (meaning, it's also DIY). Alex thought it would be great to hang a hammock that can be easily detached on one side and hung on the other side (like you would a shirt) if not in use, for anyone who wants to read, watch the sky or just lie around on lazy days. We sometimes miss life on the island and this is the closest thing that brings us back to that time when we lived and homeschooled in Boracay Island for a year.

The stairs leading up to Cole's bed is our old aluminum multipurpose ladder that also doubles as a book organizer. The ladder is still being used around the house for the occasional lightbulb changes and other purposes.

Alex's Nook

Alex's desk, storage, man cave and sometimes Attika's "playground"
Alex converted our old bench into his desk. I love all the accents that he used for his nook. We have an obsession for house decorating, refurbishing and repurposing old stuff, so we only throw away things that can't be saved anymore. We may argue and fight a little about nitty-gritty details of how to decorate our house, but we always end up compromising and being happy with the result of our projects.

Meet our old friend, a leopard named Tiger

My space

The old-ish mommy nook
My desk is one of the antique panels with Capiz shells that have traveled with us to many different houses. Alex attached it to a tree trunk, yes a real one, that our old neighbor in Antipolo cut from his backyard and was about to send for garbage disposal. Our heads popped up behind his backyard fence and asked him if we could have it instead, without the slightest idea what to do with it. I like keeping knickknacks within my reach, so I have a plate of stones that friends picked up for me from different places. Alex picked up interesting looking stones from the beach in Brighton, UK, for Cole and I asked if I could use them to decorate my desk. Most of the things that you see on my desk are gifts from different people. 

The only novel item at my nook is the bar chair that we had customized. I have gotten the "but how can you stay long on that chair when it doesn't look that comfortable like an office chair?" reaction from guests. I tell them I did that on purpose to remind me to take a breather and do stretching as often as I can. 

One more thing in the kids shared space is Attika's ballet bar for home practice...and for momentary sampayan (clothes rod).

CURE FOR MONDAYS IS A WOMEN'S BLOG, BEST HOMESCHOOL WEBSITE, FAMILY ISSUES BLOG, HOMESCHOOL PROBLEMS, SOCIALIZATION, INSPIRATION, MANILA MOMMY BLOGGER, SAHM, ASIAN HOMESCHOOLER, BLOGGYS 2015 WINNER, BENEFITS OF BEING A STAY-AT-HOME-MOM, WORK FROM HOME, BEST JOB, decorating home on a budget, repurposing house items, carpentry for kids, project management, projects for kids, fun kids activities, antiques at home

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