A Tour of Our Reggio-inspired Homeschool Room

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday StoryToday I wanted to give you a quick look around our homeschool room. Our homeschool room is a stand-alone outdoor studio in our backyard. My husband and I (with a little painting help from the kids) built it over the course of about a year and we moved in at the beginning of this year.

Just to give you an idea of size, it’s rectangular shaped, about 6m (19ft) long by 3.4m (11ft) wide with a 1m (3ft) verandah at the front.

When I was thinking about how I wanted to arrange the studio, I needed to make space for quite a bit of storage. Our home is small (comfortable, but small), with almost no storage, so the studio needed to have enough storage for not only our learning materials but everything else; spare art materials, baskets, trays, loose parts, paper, my planning stuff, everything.

I’d already gone through all of our things and donated a lot of stuff that we’d finished with and so was happy that what was going into the studio were things that we used regularly. It’s so great having a spot for everything now, before I had things crammed in all over the place; in the laundry broom cupboard, under beds, next to sheets in the linen press, anywhere I could spare a few inches. It was really hard to know what we had and where to find things when we needed them.

I’ll talk more about how I’ve organised our learning materials in another post (my friends like to make fun of my ahem completely justifiable, and not at all OCD-esque organisational tendencies…) but seriously, being able to find things quickly and pack them away again at the end of the day just makes things so much easier. Anyway, that’s for another post.

For today though, just a quick walk around….

Our Reggio-inspired Homeschool Room

The room is divided into two main areas; the art/work table on the left and the open play area on the right. Here’s a short Instagram video panning around the room.

Here’s the work table and art cart.

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday StoryA Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

Art shelves

You can see more of the art materials we have in this post. I wrote this post before we had the studio, so if you’re thinking you don’t have space for art shelves, this was when we used a low cupboard in the kitchen.
A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

Nature shelf

The nature shelf is always evolving as the kids add and take things away. We have some beautiful sunflowers on the shelf at the moment which the kids are investigating. You can read about setting up a nature shelf in this post.
A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday StoryA Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

On to the other side of the room

Into the open play area, there’s our light panel in the corner. You can read more about our light panel in this post.

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

Shelves with blocks and play materials

I’ve moved our block area into the middle of the room recently and added this old shelf from inside. On top of the shelf, Sarah has some cabbage moth caterpillars which she is observing.

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday StoryA Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

Maths & literacy shelf

A shelf with Jack (7 years) and Sarah’s (5 years) maths and literacy work. They have a tub each for maths and literacy. I’ll talk more about how we use these in another post. The top shelf is also for their project work. We’re in between projects at the moment – waiting for inspiration to strike again – so there are some other play materials out instead.

A Tour of Our Reggio Inspired Homeschool Room - An Everyday Story

I’ll go into a bit more detail of each area in other posts – with a closer look at what’s on the shelves as well as talk a little about my thinking behind the layout. For the most part, I wanted the studio to speak to us, inspire us, invite Jack and Sarah in to explore their interests as well as discover new things.

I wanted the space to be a yes space. Yes, you can paint, yes you can sculpt with clay, yes you can tape blocks together with masking tape, yes, you can grow plants, read books, watch caterpillars form a cocoon, test theories, make plans, tinker, create and invent.

I wanted the environment to be their teacher, their inspiration, their motivator. Not just a beautiful place where things were too pretty to play with, but a space that belonged to them, reflected who they are and their passions.

I hope you liked this quick tour around our homeschool studio. I’d love to hear about your homeschool spaces. How do you think they are working for you and your children? What’s working really well, what do you think needs a little reorganising so it’s more inspiring and inviting?

49 Comment

  1. I’ve been waiting for your tour and it’s wonderful! You have created a really beautiful room. It’s so inspiring.

  2. Droooool….. What good work you did!

  3. It’s gorgeous. I love the white walls and all the neutral tones but then also all the gorgeous colour from Jack and Sarah’s art. It’s beautiful.

  4. You have created such a beautiful environment for your kids. I get so much inspiration from your blog. I just wanted to ask, where did you get the colour wheel poster from? It’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas.

    1. Thank you. I bought the colour wheel wall decal off Amazon. It’s by Wallmonkeys. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/1VUsys6

  5. It all looks amazing! I love it so much! 🙂
    Where is your work table from?

    1. IKEA of course 🙂 It’s actually really great. I think it was about $79 . It’s a small dining table – it would really only fit two adults but it’s perfect for the kids.

  6. I’m drooling over this space. It is so light filled and I adore that each little spot has a purpose. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tour. … A question please – if you have friends visit do you accommodate them in this space? How does it go? … I have a room, a single garage that was converted to a rumpus style space, but with it at the other end of our house, if we have visitors I cannot supervise the space well and it really gets chaotic after the high energy frenzy of 3 or more children.

    1. Hmmm well if I am being honest, it really depends on who is coming to visit. Some I am happy to leave everything as it is and they will play and create beautifully in there, others, I guess there is more choice than they are used to, and unfamiliar materials and so I’ll put away some of the more delicate things like our microscope and electronics, and some of the art materials like the permanent markers. And others, I decide to lock the studio and encourage them to play outside. I really prefer not to do this, and it’s not very often, but my kids have a lot of their on-going projects and experiments in the studio that I just can’t risk having them destroyed.

      It can get chaotic and the high energy can make some children act impulsively. So if I can’t be in the studio – and often times I’m not – and I know that the energy will become chaotic, then I just simple lock the studio.

  7. Ooh, another question please … I notice you don’t have Lego in this space – is that intentional and if so why? Your choice? Your kids choice? … My son has Lego and blocks but plays more with the Lego; curious if I should separate them. Hmmm. 🙂

    1. Ha! Yes, VERY intentional. The Lego is in the kids’ bedroom (they share a room). I think I had two reasons for not wanting the Lego in the studio – I was sure that it would take over the studio, just mess wise, and also, Jack can be very focused on Lego for long periods of time – to the exclusion of everything else. So, I wanted to remove that aspect while we were in the studio. He still plays with Lego A LOT, just when we are in the studio, I see it as giving his mind a break and allowing him to focus on other things.

  8. One suggested correction to an otherwise wonderful post and tour for us all! You said, “Our homeschool room is a stand-alone outdoor studio.” This caught my eye especially since I help others design compelling outdoor nature play spaces. It might be more accurate to say it’s a “stand-alone detached studio” Rather than say “outdoor”.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion Shariee. We don’t really use the word ‘detached’ here. I wanted to make a point of saying that the studio was a separate building to our house, which is why I used ‘stand-alone’ 🙂

  9. I’d love to get to this point. I’m still working on getting the kids to put caps on makers and putting them back in the cup, or taking a sheet of paper without pulling out the whole pile before we can make things like beads and clay accessible. Any tips on how you got to that point where they care for the supplies?

    1. Well I can tell you that – ok, Jack’s pretty good – but Sarah is terrible. She is always leaving lids off pens and pulling out ten sheets of paper when she only needs one (and then leaving the rest on the floor 🙂 ) For the art materials, I started with dry materials. That way it didn’t matter too much if they tipped over a bucket of oil pastels or pencils. The rest of the things like paint and permanent markers, I would keep out of reach until I was sure they could use them without making a mess – or drawing on something with a permanent marker! – I think it took about 3 years, so a while, to get to the stage where we are now and can have most things out.

      But it is a lot of consistent reminding to pack things away and to look after the materials. I think it also helps to have everything they need on hand. So with the watercolour paints, there’s also a couple small containers for water and some old face-washers. That way, if I’m not in the studio when they decide to paint, they won’t be tempted to use something else as a water container, and can clean up any spills if they need to.

  10. It’s beautiful! the Art section is especially envious! Would you like to share at the Practical Mondays? Would love it!

  11. Thank you for sharing your beautiful space. I live in Los Angeles and have been invisioning a space like this for some time. My boys are still both under 5 and I plan to homeschool. I have so many materials all stored away and I would love to have a space to beg everything out. I will share this with my husband and hopefully we can think of something that will work for our family. Thank you again. Your studio is beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much Nancy. I was the same. I had a lot of materials packed away all over the house – in very random spaces like the TV cabinet and pantry! I really loved finally getting everything out and seeing what we had – and then donating a lot of doubles and things that I didn’t realise I had :/ – before moving into the studio. I just love knowing where everything is now and exactly what we have.

  12. Truly inspiring–and intimidating. Wow! I don’t know how you do it, Kate. Thanks for sharing. Best regards from Canada.

    1. I think I read a lot. I’m very inspired by the classrooms and art studios of the schools in Reggio Emilia so I am always reading and taking little mental notes of different ways to organise a space. And I might, not so quietly, really LOVE organising spaces 🙂 🙂

  13. Oh, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this tour! I happened upon it today when I floated over to grab a few resource book titles I found here the other day, and what a treat it was! While looking around your studio, I happen to be sitting with the floorplan I’ve been napping out for our room. The size in generous, but all four walls are glass or open entries…no wall space. On one hand, that’s thrilling. On the other, it is a challenge. Seeing your space really freed up some sticking points for me. Thank you! It is so rare that I do d a blogger who schools in the same way I hope to. Now to start stalking again while aeait the tour follow-up posts. 🙂 Thank you, thank you for all you share, Kate!! I wish you lived next door.

    1. The light in your space must be incredible. But, yeah, I can see how it could be a challenge. You want to have space to display materials but you also don’t want to block all that beautiful light. Can you use your shelving as room dividers, or is the space not big enough for that? You could use cube shelves with not back, to let the air and light through, making it still feel open….

  14. Going along with the Lego question. How do you balance/manage toys along with the Reggio approach? Do your kids have their own toys in addition to the material provided in the studio? Everything in the studio seems to be beautiful and enriching and open-ended I’m wondering what happens with all the non-beautiful, non-enriching, and non-open-ended toys that kids seem to acquire.

    1. The kids have Lego in their room – they share a room – as well as some stuffed animals and dolls. Sarah has a Lottie doll (do you know her? She’s a lovely little Barbie alternative) and a small Strawberry Shortcake doll. And then some pretend food, tea set and dolls’ clothes. But that’s it really. I guess I’m pretty strict about what comes into the house. I don’t tend to buy a lot of impulse toys and with any junky toys that the kids might be given, I tend to cull them very frequently.

  15. I love your space! It must be so nice to have everything in one place. Our stuff is spread all around our house right now. We have a table in the kitchen for art with art supplies in the pantry. There’s a table in the living room where we work on our projects, and all our stuff is shut up in cabinets because we have a toddler. It works okay, but I’m looking forward to putting everything on nice open shelves once little sis is bigger.

    1. Ours was too. We had art supplies in the pantry too!! 🙂 Ours worked ok too. I was always trying to organise things so that I could find things more easily as well as trying to work out how we could keep our project work out and still have space to eat and watch TV 🙂

  16. Amanda Holt says:

    Thank You for sharing this! We are currently working on a separate studio space…a room in the back of my husband’s workshop that we are currently renovating (on a tight budget! haha). You worded it so beautifully… I, too, dream of our room to be a “YES” space. I feel like having this separate “yes” space is going to open up so many more opportunities for my children to explore and investigate. Your experience has been such an inspiration for us!
    Do you have a space for children’s literature…both fiction and non-fiction? This is a passion for us…I wasn’t sure if you have found a way to incorporate it into your homeschool studio. Also, how do you decide what things belong in the studio and what belongs in the house? (For example…Lego…house or studio? What art supplies are in the house (if any)? What toys can come out to the studio and what toys stay in the house?)

    1. 🙂 When we moved into the studio, I really wanted it to be a yes space too. We’d been using our living and dining areas before – which is fine – but I had to always be watching the kids and they really didn’t the chance to play and create freely. All the kids’ books are in the studio too; under the nature shelf. For the toys, the Lego is in their bedroom (they share a room) as well as their dolls and stuffed animals. They have their favourites on their bed and the rest are in a basket under the bed along with some dolls’ clothes and blankets. Everything else is in the studio. I don’t keep any art supplies in the house anymore – it’s all in the studio. The kids are free to take things in and out of the studio (and the house). They’ll bring pencils and paper inside and take their dolls out to the studio but mostly they keep things in the studio.

      1. Thank you so much for your extra insight! This gets me extra excited as we move forward with our space!

        1. You are very welcome 🙂

  17. I love the idea of the shelves – it’s so positive and inspiring. 🙂

  18. Such a beautiful and well thought our space. I would love to hear more about your place/role within the space!

    1. Thanks Kirstee 🙂 That’s such a lovely question. I think I could probably write a whole post about it (hmmm… I might just do that) but mostly my role I guess is to keep the space inviting, to provide provocations, to listen to their questions and wonderings and make small changes to the space to encourage the kids to engage more deeply. I try to say yes as much as possible. I try to make the space a living space – we change the art work on the walls a lot, there’s a lot of different experiments and inquiries going on all the time that I like to display. I think, really importantly though, I try not to be the keeper of the space. I want the space to be a place where the kids feel inspired – even compelled – to create, build, read, rest and explore.

  19. A lovely work space. Where did you get the sedlings brand insect home and the art cart that looks like a,ladder etc from, they are very desirable.
    Thanks for all your sharing.

    1. Thank you. I bought the insect home from a small Australian online store – I’m sorry, I can’t remember what it is called now. The insect home is called My Nature Habitat. I couldn’t find it on the US Amazon, but here it is on the UK site: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seedling-10MYNHB-My-Nature-Habitat/dp/B00889SGJC . The art cart is from IKEA 🙂

  20. Thank you for sharing this! I love looking at other peoples homeschooling spaces to get ideas.
    I am yet to decide if we will have a dedicated homeschool space. We do have a spare (guest) bedroom so the choice is there. I can understand wanting to contain all of the stuff to one area so that it doesn’t take over the house. Have you seen any downsides of having a set space?

    1. There really hasn’t been any downsides that I have seen but I think that’s because of how small our house is. I think if you had space in your home – or even larger rooms, then the kids might tend to use those areas rather than going to a separate space. We don’t really have that and so when the studio was finally finished, I think we all felt like we could breathe a little more than and not be constantly tripping over each other.

  21. Fantastic blog! Is the three tiered basket stand next to the table from IKEA??

    1. Yes it is 🙂

  22. Tell me…where did you source that white 3 tiered pencil stand from please? It would be perfect for our space.

  23. What a wonderful creation for the young mind! I run a montessori home environment for my 8 yr old and together we have accumulated a lot of items, but you have given us many more great ideas, thanks.

  24. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and welcoming space 🙂
    I would really love to get a highchair just like the one that you have for your boy. Can you share where it’s from please?

  25. Just love this beautiful and fun “work”space. Lots of inspiration for me here as I work out how to organize our homeschool space in our new house. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. This is such a beautiful and inspiring space! We have two art spaces going on right now. One for the kids in the laundry room, and another for my art classes in the garage. I love the idea of adding more Montessori/ Reggio materials to our space.
    We also have Legos in the bedroom or in our small TV room. The small pieces drive me nuts! But they keep my son focused.
    Thanks for sharing your space!

  27. Beth Theule says:

    Where did you get that awesome stool/chair your son is sitting on? That’s so awesome!

    1. Isn’t it great?! It’s a Tripp Trapp chair. There a few different styles around now, IKEA has one too. It’s wonderful because he can easily rest his feet on the platform and sit comfortably.

      1. Beth Theule says:

        Awesome thanks so much, going to look for one!

  28. mindalyn galli says:

    Hi. First off, I just love your space! I’m inspired to go and play! So, my daughter starts kindergarten this fall and I’ve been going back and forth about whether to let her go to public school or homeschool using a similar model that you have… but my biggest question is, how does curriculum come to play? Do you have a curriculum in mind and you setup an environment to inspire that learning like Montessori? or do you use what inspires the kids and go with it? Being an educator, I torn with how to make sure they are learning what they need to know… or should I just believe, jump in, and see where this all leads us? Insight, please…

  29. Like everyone has stated you have created a beautiful space for them! I have to ask my only worry about delving deeply into reggio is all the “stuff”! I have a really hard time with “clutter”. As someone who is “OCD” esque do you have a hard time with that? And are your kidlets expected to clean up after “session “? Or at the end of the du or are they permitted to keep projects that they’re working on out?

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