10 Things You Will Regret Buying for Your Homeschool Room | How to Create a Clutter Free Homeschool Room

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Learn from my mistakes and don't buy these things for your homeschool room. Here are 10 things you will regret buying for your homeschool room.

In recent years, homeschooling has become a popular option for families seeking a more personalized and flexible approach to education. With the rise of homeschooling, the need for dedicated homeschool spaces within homes has also increased.

Creating a clutter-free homeschool room is essential to provide an organized, focused, and productive learning environment for both parents and children. A well-designed homeschool room can make a significant difference in the success of homeschooling.

This guide will provide practical tips and strategies for creating a clutter-free homeschool room that is conducive to learning and promotes academic success.

guest post by Elaine Mingus

During my first year of homeschooling, we used our dining room table. I didn't want to rush into repurposing our unused backroom until I had a clear vision of what I wanted.

By my second year, my homeschool room was finally ready for learning. Or so I thought.

The photos from the first day in our new schoolroom could have appeared in a brochure called “What Homeschooling Should Look Like.”

Now, almost seven years later, my homeschool room is a far cry from those early days. It has become cluttered with stuff I thought would be great for learning but only ended up causing mess and frustration. Random board game pieces sit in Tupperware waiting to be sorted, puzzles seem always to be missing that one piece, and books sit unread since the day they were purchased.

I've set out on a quest to purge the chaos from my homeschool room and regain the sanity stolen by my constant cleaning.

As I set aside things to donate or sell, I notice common homeschooling mistakes I've made when purchasing supplies for my schoolroom.

How to Create A Clutter Free Homeschool Room

10 Things You Will Regret Buying for Your Homeschool Room

As a veteran homeschooling mom who has been at this game for a while, let me tell you: there are some things that you will regret buying for your homeschool room.

Trust me, I've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt (affiliate link) (literally, I have a drawer full of homeschool co-op t-shirts). From expensive curricula to fancy gadgets, there are some things that seem like a good idea at the time, but end up collecting dust in a corner.

Save your time, money, and sanity, and avoid these 10 things that you will regret buying for your homeschool room.

1. Poor-Quality Books

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who developed a philosophy of education that focused on the development of a child's whole person. She believed that children should be exposed to “living books” that are written by individuals who are passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects.

Mason discouraged the use of “twaddle” or books that are dumbed-down, overly simplified, or contain low-quality content. She believed that children should be challenged with high-quality reading material that is both engaging and inspiring.

Poor-quality reading materials have no real education goals, talk down to a child, and are predictable, too easy, or tedious. 

We often buy books based on a movie character our children like or buy them solely for their beautiful illustrations while ignoring the lack of substance.

While books like Junie B. Jones and other popular children's books may ignite a love for reading, they may not necessarily be considered high-quality literature. These books often rely on formulaic plots, shallow characters, and simplistic language that do not challenge or inspire children.

As homeschooling parents, it's important to keep an eye out for reading material that not only entertains but also challenges and inspires our children. By selecting high-quality reading material, we can expose our children to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of thinking that can help them grow into well-rounded individuals.

While it's okay to let our children enjoy some light reading, it's important to make sure that we are exposing them to literature that is both challenging and inspiring.

10 things you will regret buying for your homeschool room.

2. Encyclopedias/Dictionaries

Encyclopedias were THE thing when I was growing up. My family had a beautiful (and expensive) set.

Today, with the internet being so widely used, it's nearly obliterated the need for physical encyclopedias and dictionaries.

My children are taught how to use these reference books, but honestly, they haven't had much need for these skills, thanks to Google.

3. Too Many Learning Toys

Whether it's sorting different-shaped blocks, a plastic clock for telling time, or an abacus, too many toys can be the bane of a homeschooling room.

At the store, toys make grand promises. But a week after purchasing, we find most of them thrown haphazardly under a child's bed, never to be played with again. Toys can be useful, but less is more when it comes to toys.

Too many can overwhelm a child, especially if they are disorganized. Editing our toy collection can bring peace to both the children and Mom.

4. Rolling Chairs

Little toes and wheels. It's just not a good combination.

My children use rolling chairs to zoom around the house, or they spin each other into a nauseous state.

I recommend just sticking with a good ole' fashioned legged chair.

great homeschooling gear

5. Things You Will Only Use Once

When you are at the store, take a moment to ask yourself, “How many times will my kids really use this?”

At all costs, avoid romanticizing the item.

You may hope they put together that world geography puzzle for years to come, but the truth is they may only put it together once or twice.

Downloading a free geography app on your iPhone will create the same effect without all the clutter.

6. Things You Can Borrow

If you really want to have something that you think you'll only use once, try borrowing it from a friend, a local co-op, or your local library.

Metropolitan libraries often have puzzles, CDs, and DVDs available to check out.

7. Nice Furniture

Public schools use industrial tables and chairs. Park benches are bolted to the concrete.

Kids are rough on furniture.

Even the most diligent child might accidentally mark on furniture while coloring. It would be a shame if the item that gets damaged is an expensive heirloom piece that can't be replaced.

Inexpensive and kid-friendly furniture is the best choice for your homeschooling room.

We buy much (if not all) of our schoolroom furniture at IKEA.

good toys for homeschooling

8. Too Many Things that Accomplish the Same Goal

I could supply an army of children with different items that help with multiplication tables. We have charts, flashcards, and Learning Wrap-Ups…all for multiplication.

Choosing and sticking with one item that accomplishes a specific goal will help you keep a clutter free homeschool room.

9. Expensive Supplies

Why buy the expensive version of something, when the plain one will due?

Unless you notice a real affinity for a subject, keep the supplies simple and affordable. The standard writing and art utensils are relatively cheap and easily replaceable.

With a little imagination, simple tools can go a long way.

10. Complicated Items Or Things with Too many Pieces

One of my biggest homeschool frustrations is complicated items that always require parental assistance and seem to always have pieces that go missing.

School items or toys that are complicated or consist of too many pieces should be purchased with extreme caution. One exception is Legos, which is a homeschooling toy that is actually useful.

Final Tips for A Clutter Free Homeschool Room

Adding items to your homeschool room is fun and exciting. Seeing your children learn from them is an absolute blessing. But we don't want to waste our hard-earned money on things that will end up in next year's garage sale!

If you aren't sure about a purchase, go home. You can always reconsider and return to the store. If you've already purchased an item and immediately notice that your children aren't utilizing it, many stores have a 30-day return policy for items that you aren't totally satisfied with. Return it for the sake of your sanity and your students.

A clutter-free homeschool room is an essential element of successful homeschooling. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you can create a space that is organized, comfortable, and conducive to learning.

Remember, a cluttered and disorganized space can hinder productivity, while a tidy and well-designed space can inspire creativity, focus, and academic success. So take the time to declutter, organize, and design your homeschool room to create a space that promotes learning and fosters a love of education.

With a clutter-free homeschool room, you and your children can achieve your academic goals and enjoy the many benefits of homeschooling.

What are some homeschool items that you regret buying? Are there any on this list that you don't regret buying? Why?

10 Homeschool items you'll regret buying

Elaine Mingus is a head-covering Christian woman who loves wine, good coffee, and stinky cheese. Her favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. She is a Christian author, blogger, and speaker who fell in love with her husband because he had raindrops on his glasses (true story). In her spare time, she homeschools her six children (5 girls, and 1 boy). She blogs regularly at Radical Christian Woman.

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4 Comments

  1. Actually, I’d still recommend a good dictionary and illustrated encyclopedia – not so much for looking up purposes but for just plain browsing! I haven’t started my Littles yet, but I was home schooled and I learned a lot of things I would have never thought to look up by just flipping through my mom’s old children’s encyclopedia! And I loved all finding so many words I didn’t encounter in even the vast diversity of quality reading materials from just looking through the dictionary and being familiar with some rarities before I even encountered them reading – I fell in love with words and still love reading the dictionary! There is just something about holding the physical book and just immersing oneself in the knowledge it imparts!

    1. I totally agree. Kids need access to both hard copy and the ability to use technology. When they are writing the misspelled words are underlined and suggestions are given. Be sure and write the way it was spelled incorrectly and then choose the correction. Write the correct word down and compare and contrast the two.

  2. I have an old (1920’s) dictionary and live it. The new dictionaries are very similar to what you’d find online, BUT, if you can find a big, thick, older dictionary (pre-1960’s) it’s well worth it! Makes you see how rich the English language is….and how watered down it has become. 🙂

    1. Yes! I LOVE old, thick dictionaries. The smell and richness of the words and letters make it worth the hunt to find one.

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