Here’s a complete look at our recently updated Montessori-inspired homeschool space. Whether you’re a fellow Montessori family or are simply looking for homeschool room ideas for small spaces, I hope this post will help and encourage you today.
The month of January always instills in me an urge to go through our home and try to sort and organize our spaces as best as I can. For me, there’s something refreshing about starting the year on a more structured note. Perhaps it’s the colder weather that pushes me to regularly nest during this season.
I like to begin in our homeschool space and slowly work my way into other parts of our home. As I was cleaning and sorting and organizing our schoolroom, I realized I haven’t posted much about this space lately. So I thought I’d give a quick update on the changes we’ve made of late.
Our Montessori-Inspired Homeschool Space
First, a quick couple reference points for those new to the blog and our homeschooling journey.
We’re using our home’s third bedroom as our main homeschool area, and since the room itself is rather small — 11′ by 12′ with a pretty funky layout — we really have to prioritize both storage and organization to make it work.
I’m currently homeschooling both my children using a blend of several educational philosophies. I’m a huge advocate of Montessori’s education vision first and foremost. I also draw inspiration from Charlotte Mason and Waldorf. Gameschooling has recently become a major focus to our homeschool days as well.
This year my oldest is in second grade and my youngest is in preschool. I still keep their Montessori-inspired work shelves in our homeschool space mostly separate for the sake of simplicity and per their requests. 😉
Our DIY IKEA BESTA L-shaped desk anchors our schoolroom. Wall organizers and a floating bookshelf provide additional small-space storage options.
In addition to serving as each of my daughter’s work shelves, it also provides a designated writing and crafting area for them.
As you can see, we utilize the top of the desk for additional materials as well. We love to incorporate plants into our homeschool space, and my kids are responsible for taking care of them. Care of the environment, including plants and animals, is an essential part of a Montessori curriculum. To facilitate this, I keep our plant care materials in a portable bin tucked away in our schoolroom’s closet. Nearby hangs a brush for our cat. Both are easily accessible and used on a near daily-basis by my children.
The MOPPE mini storage chest from IKEA serves as a nice space-saving solution for LEGO storage. We keep the loose LEGO bricks and pieces in the bottom three drawers, and my kids like to use the top 3 drawers to store their finished LEGO creations.
I try to keep a mix of open-ended materials as well as school materials in our homeschool space to provide my children with plenty of independent work options. Since this is a shared space between both my first plane (3-6) and second plane children (6-9), I find it helps to provide a nice variety of toys and materials.
We keep our Montessori work mats in a large basket by the desk. The basket was graciously given to us by my sister after she spent some time in Ghana, and we all love it. Right now my girls use a combination of mats from IKEA as well as some smaller bamboo place mats and Montessori language mats.
Since the room is small, we make use of the space behind the door as well. The girls’ ukelele hangs on the wall and a magic writing cloth hangs on the door. We like to use it for letter formation and spelling practice, but it’s also fun for just doodles and stuff.
I’m trying to incorporate more handwork and storytelling into our homeschool this year, so I recently moved our felt play mat into the reading nook corner of the room. As soon as I find an appropriate basket, I’ll probably move the rest of our animal collection here as well. It’s currently being stored in our living room with our other open-ended materials. My hope is we’ll be able to craft more biome felt play mats together soon.
A collection of books is kept in our corner reading nook. These stay pretty consistent, but occasionally I’ll rotate a few new ones in. We built floating bookshelves for this space shortly after we moved into our home. Eventually I’ll replace our Nugget with a comfy armchair, but we haven’t had luck finding it in stock, presumably due to Covid. The Nugget works well, but the kids really prefer it be in the basement with our other gross motor toys.
We use a picture ledge to keep our maps, a dry erase magnetic board, a wooden letter tracing board, and math mats within easy reach. The KVISSLE wall magazine rack from IKEA stores a variety of papers — regular printer paper for drawing, wide-rule composition paper, Montessori parts of speech recording paper, and Bible journaling sheets. Usually construction paper is also available here, but we just ran out so I’ll have to order some more.
My older daughter’s small work basket sits on this shelf. She picks out a few activities she’d like to do throughout the week and tosses them in there. Each day these serve as quick warmups. It also gives me a place to put anything that I think would benefit her to practice a bit more. These items are all quick 3-5 minute activities. I’ve found this approach helps to motivate her when we begin our daily work cycle.
I’m a big fan of IKEA’s SKADIS pegboard collection. We utilize it in our girls’ shared bedroom closet, too. Here, it provides a space to display our weather chart, a counting bead chain, small measuring tapes, pencils, scissors, and hole punch, as well as our linear calendar and my oldest child’s Montessori work plan cards. A desktop letter chart is available for reference. I mean, even I need to see what an uppercase cursive ‘Q’ looks like sometimes, right?!
How We Utilize Our Closet to Maximize Space in Our Homeschool Room
Additional math materials are available on a shelf in our closet. The Montessori-inspired hanging bead frame we built last year now resides here as well. A variety of kinetic sand, play-dough, modeling clay, Wiki Stix, and modeling beeswax are available on the top of the bookcase.
On the wall hangs a jewelry organizer that we use to store cards. It’s double-sided so I use one for primary-level cards and the other side for lower elementary materials. This is a new addition to our homeschool space. I’m hopeful it works as it’s a really compact and convenient way to store both task cards and nomenclature cards.
I also utilize hanging pocket organizers behind the double closet doors. Each of my children has their own organizer. Small games and activities are kept in the pockets.
The girls’ art smocks, craft trays, and tabletop painting easel are also kept in the closet where they’re easily accessible.
Our Toys & Games Storage
I recently moved the majority of our board games into our living room. While we tend to play a lot of card games in the schoolroom, most board games are played in either our living room, dining room, or outside on our deck. So it made sense to move them into our main living area. I do wish our Billy bookcases from IKEA had a little more depth, but so far this arrangement is working really well for us.
Our other Billy bookcase now stores the rest of the girls’ open-ended building materials along with some of our homeschool curriculum materials. I now have the book stacks mostly separated by the days of the week. I’ve found this method makes it a lot easier for me. Not pictured are our daily read-alouds along with the girls’ book bins. Here, they store their individual notebooks, coloring and activity books, and sewing baskets. I’ll try to upload a picture of that bookshelf soon.
Our Homeschool Space Wish List
There are still a few things on my ‘Wish List’ for our homeschool space. These include:
- A corner shelf like we built in the girls’ shared bedroom. This will be used to store science and geography materials.
- A proper armchair. As much as we love our Nugget, we all agree we’d rather have a cozy reading chair in this space and keep our Nugget downstairs in our basement play area.
- A new desk chair to go alongside our stool. My 7-year-old is now a little too tall to comfortably utilize the stool. But it’s still the perfect size for my 5-year-old.
- Custom built-in closet shelving. But that project will not be a priority for awhile since what we currently have works perfectly fine. A girl can dream though, right? 😉
And there you have it! I hope this quick tour of our Montessori-inspired homeschool space has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment or reaching out to me on Instagram at @freeandunfettered.
Happy homeschooling, friends!