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After a disastorous spring crisis schooling session, where we were pretty scrambling to create a space within 1100 sq. ft for our family of 7 that was adequate enough for our four children to continue their learning.
While they adapted well, we were having to change things up almost everyday just so they would be comfortable.
While the older children (16 & 12) were pretty much relegated to the kitchen table or their bedrooms to do zoom lessons and other school work. My younger two always had to be near me as they were only in Pre-K and 1st grade.
We initially purchased these portable desks for Isla and Sarah to do their work from. And while they worked, by week four of virtual learning they were no longer a good fit for them.
They would also sit at their Delta MySize table that they have had for years, but seemingly overnight at one point they were TOO BIG for the table! Of course that would happen during quarantine of things.
By the time June 2nd rolled around and we were FINALLY done with the school year, not only was I ready to move, but I knew that I needed to prepare as it did not look like the children would be going back to school any time soon.
New House, Who Dis?
The first thing on our list was to find a bigger space to accommodate our family. The housing market where we were wasn’t that great for us, so we moved further away in order to get the biggest bang for our buck, and to be near other family members.
This allowed us to find a home that was not only big enough, but that was nearly 3.5x’s as big and allowed each of the kids to have their own bedroom.
While I initially planned to purchase the younger girls desk to place into their bedrooms, my husband and I decided that if virtual were to happen (which it has) then it would be a good idea to place them elsewhere, as we do not want them in their rooms all day.
For our older two children, due to their advanced classes and packed schedule, we decided that they would probably need to work in their rooms just to have peace and quiet.
Although we moved into a bigger home, we still did not have an extra space to turn into a virtual learning room. This meant I had to give up my dream of having a fancy dining room. It’s also meant packing up my beautiful dining table. At least until the holidays.
From Dining Room to School Room
Because I wanted a room that I could easily turnover come the holidays, we did not want this space cluttered with a bunch of toys or other things. I wanted a simple space that was functional, colorful, and fun for the girls. This way they could get their school work done, but during their “brain breaks” they would also be able to have fun and exercise!
We decided to go with the Antsy Pants Tumbling Mat and Beam ( the beam is sold out, but you can find a similar one here). The girls love to jump and flip and everything else that we don’t want them to do in the house, so we figured we would just get them a mat and let them have at it!
The girls recently started gymnastics and we are working on getting them a junior kip bar for home, so this was a great purchase so they could have extra practice at home!
When it came to the girl’s desks, we searched everywhere for one. It seems like every parent in Atlanta had the same idea, so child-size desks were sold out in-stores and online. The Ikea Pahl and Minke desk were our top two choices and both were repeatedly out of stock.
We managed to find two reasonably priced desks from Wal-Mart, however, they are NOT the best quality. But until things calm down and desks are back in stock, they will do.
We did pick up their chairs from Ikea. The Loberget/Sibben was too cute to pass up even if we could not get the desk that we wanted!
The rest of the space is pretty standard. The shelf contains a science kit, manipulatives, and other items that the girls can learn and play with during their brain break or recess time.
We also made sure that our book area included some of the girl’s favorite books. The one major theme of our book area is that ALL of the books are either written by Black or POC authors or have a Black or POC lead because #diversityMATTERS
It is important for us to also make sure that if the girls get overwhelmed during the virtual learning process, that they have a space where they can take a few minutes to decompress and then get back to it.
This is another Antsy Pants find from Target. The tent we purchase is sold out, but they have this one, as well as a few others that are great. We absolutely love this tent! If you purchase the tent, you also have to be sure to purchase the rods, as they are sold separately.
One last thing, I want to share the artwork from a FAB artist GDBee. While it’s important to me to make sure that my children are exposed to books and writers that look like them, I also want them to have artwork around them that looks the same. I wanted their learning room to be filled with total Black Girl Magic and that’s what we got!
I hope this space gives you some inspiration for your own! Let me know in the comments what you are planning on doing and follow me on social media for more!
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.