Four Tips on Homeschooling at the Kitchen Table

Two students homeschooling at a kitchen table

How many of you use your kitchen table for multiple purposes, such as meals, art, building projects, and recreational reading? Do you also use your kitchen table for the majority of your homeschooling endeavors? If you do, you’re not alone.

The vast majority of homeschooling families have multiple purposes for their kitchen table as well. So, in order to reduce chaos in your kitchen table transitions, here are four tips for homeschooling at the kitchen table:

1. Provide Organizational Caddies Near the Kitchen Table

Each child in your family has particular textbooks, recreational reading books, and so forth. Provide a book bag, basket, or backpack so that each child has mobile-friendly storage. When you announce that school is on for the day, then your children can easily grab their baskets or backpacks and bring their materials to the kitchen table.

2. Create Organizational Folders

Within each book bag, basket, or backpack, provide subject area folders (or a notebook with dividers for your older children). Folders of bright colors are fun for the kids and nowadays there is no end to the fun design of folders. A different folder for each subject helps the children quickly pull out the subject material at hand.

(Hint: If you want to make it easy on yourself, have all your children utilize green folders when working on science, blue folders when working on language arts, etc. and at a glance, you will know if they are working on the subject currently assigned.)

3. Provide Personal Pencil and Crayon Boxes

Pencils, pens, and crayons can create chaos throughout the house. Create order by providing your children with fun pencil boxes. They will love it. Just be sure each child labels his or her pencil box with his or her name and places the box in the correct book bag, basket, or backpack each day so that materials can quickly be retrieved and cleaned up and so that you can get your lunch or dinner on the table without chaos.

4. Offer Bookshelf Space or Cubby Holes for Each Child

Once you decide the storage mechanism for your homeschooled children, you will need to find a “home” for the book bags, baskets, or backpacks. For example, a space for each child in a deep bookshelf provides plenty of space for baskets. If you choose book bags or backpacks for your organizational strategy, then provide hooks along a wall for a place for children to hang their “school bag” when the homeschool day is over.

There are a thousand ways to organize your home, but if you use your kitchen table for multiple purposes, you need to create fast, streamlined, organized methods of transport for your children to bring their work to the table and clear their work from the table. If your transitions go smoothly, you will create order that adds peace to the homeschooling endeavor and family life at the kitchen table.

Prayerful Reflections

  1. Lord, have I thought through the most organized way to have my children transport their work to and from the kitchen table?
  2. Father, are there other areas for which I need to create structure in order to add more peace to the homeschooling day?
  3. Lord, please show me where I need to create more organized ways to approach my day in general.

Lord Jesus, I confess that sometimes I just don’t think about the details. My homeschooling day gets chaotic and I just let it go. But then, Lord, you give me an insight and now I am thinking about my kitchen table and the transitions from homeschooling to family life and family meals, and then back to homeschooling again.

Spirit, lead me and guide me and give me insights in order to better steward my time, bringing peace and order to, not only the transitions to and from my kitchen table, but peace and order to our daily homeschool routines. Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education