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Homeschooling in a Small Space

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

January 24, 2022

door-kitchen-refrigerator-homeschool

Did you know that you can use your fridge for homeschooling? No, I am not talking about weird science experiments or doing math with ice cubes. But you can actually use the vertical space of your refrigerator as a valuable teaching tool in your homeschool setting.


If you are like our family, you may be living off of a single income. Many homeschool families value the time with their children above the extra income they might gain from both parents working, and consequently, finances may be a little tighter than for dual income homes. As a result of tighter finances, some homeschool families live in smaller homes which can present challenges but can also get the creative juices flowing.


We definitely find ourselves in the small home category, and I have learned to embrace the space we have and to utilize it creatively. Sure, I would love a homeschool room, and maybe someday that may be a possibility for our family. Right now, I am learning to use the space we have wisely and well to best educate our children.


We live in less than 1400 square feet with the typical three bedrooms, two baths, living room, and kitchen/dining room combo (I realize that for those living in a tiny home, our home is a mansion!) We gravitate to the kitchen table for our school time, so the kitchen seemed the practical place to create a “school central zone.” We needed some wall space for school items, but our kitchen has very little wall space due to a large cased opening into our living room (for which I am very thankful! It gives the house a more open feel.) As I looked around my kitchen for space, I noticed the large blank side of my refrigerator, and this was when I realized that the fridge would be the perfect place to display our school items.


Yes, the decorator in my cringes about school paraphernalia all over the side of the fridge, but I have come to terms with the fact that my children’s education is more important than a picture-perfect kitchen. When you first come in my kitchen, your eye will be drawn to the school items on the side of my fridge, certainly not a decorating ideal. But it’s okay. This is a season of my life, and I am so very thankful for my precious children and the opportunity to homeschool them.

refrigerator-artwork-charts-calendar-alphabet

On the side of my fridge, I have created a “learning command central” with all of our school “classroom display” type items. The possibilities are truly limitless with this space and completely customizable for every family. Another benefit of using the fridge is that everyone has one (well, I would hope!) I love how using the fridge as our educational display keeps learning smack in the middle of our family life and space, and we can easily reference what we are learning at any time.


By having our learning center right in the kitchen, learning is just an outgrowth of our daily family life. Learning is not something we do in a separate room and then close the door on that room at the end of the day. Also by displaying our school items, the importance of learning is reinforced in my children’s minds on a daily basis. Learning is not something that takes place for a short time and then we quickly shove everything in a drawer. I want my children to love learning and to see the lifelong value of learning. Learning is messy and not always pretty, but I want my children to know that learning is more important to me than having a “blog-worthy” home.


So what exactly do I have on my refrigerator? I try to keep what I put up on the fridge fairly simple and practical, and here is what I have displayed right now.


Art Gallery—We display two or three pieces of the latest artwork. This creates a natural revolving door of “one in, one out” so we do not accrue massive amounts of art all over the fridge.

child-art-alphabeth-fridge

Alphabet—I bought sentence strips from the Dollar Tree and wrote out the alphabet (we use a D’Nealian style alphabet).


School rules— I have two basic rules for my homeschool which include listen and obey your teacher and do your best. I typed out two verses/concepts from scripture which embody these ideals.


1. I will obey the voice of my teacher (obedience).

2. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (diligence).

school-rules-scripture-verses

Place value chart—This place value chart is the latest addition to our fridge and is well worth the precious space. Each day we add another straw to the chart, and right before my children’s eyes they are experiencing the concept of place value. Putting a new straw in the ones pocket and changing the number is a wonderful hands-on experience to grasp the rather abstract math concept called place value.



place-value-pocket-chart-preschool-math

Pocket charts—I bought these pockets charts in a pack of five or six from Walmart back when I was a fifth grade classroom teacher. You can find similar pockets on amazon. These pockets are perfect for anything—phonics flashcards, math flashcards, memory verses, etc.


Calendar—A friend gave me this cute calendar from the Dollar Tree, and it works perfectly for us to color in each day. In the past, I would print calendars from the computer, but for a buck, this is way easier (and cuter!). Also, there is an educational benefit to having the entire year calendar at your children’s fingertips. My children flip through the calendar, looking at the pictures, and flipping through the calendar also develops the concept of a year in their minds.


pocket-chart-calendar


If you decide to utilize your fridge, your setup may look quite different from ours! The beauty of this concept is that you can tailor your setup to meet the educational needs of your family. For example, your children may be older, and an alphabet is unnecessary. But maybe your child is working on the states and their capitals, so post a map of the US. Or maybe your child is learning the presidents, so put up a poster of all the presidents. Maybe your family has a chore chart, and that would be another great feature to include in your teaching zone on the fridge.


Even hang up a pocket chart for little ones so that they feel a part of school. Let little ones join in the school fun, and you will be amazed at what they learn. I would recommend hanging it at the lowest level so that the littles can reach. By putting up a chart for your youngest, you can also train him which chart is his and to leave the other items alone.


Setting up a school zone on the fridge doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I would not recommend putting up every poster known to man on the fridge. Keep it simple, and make sure everything has a specific purpose connected with what your children are currently learning. I would also recommend changing things up on your fridge so that learning does not become stale (pun, since we are in the kitchen).



 

To actually hang items up on your fridge, I have found three items that work well.

1. Magnets with adhesive backings work well on items like posters, alphabets, etc.

2. Magnet clips work well for a calendar, pocket chart, etc. I found mine at the Dollar Tree.

3. Removable hooks work well for heavier items and things that do not need to be moved. The 1 lb weight limit hooks work fine for what we have on our fridge.

 

Are you running out of real estate in your homeschooling? Before you call the realtor to upgrade your home, try using your fridge as a teaching center.


What would you put on your fridge?

-Ashley


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