Boxes. I feel like they will be here until my husband retires from the Air Force. There are boxes in the attic, in the basement, in closets.. so many. You see, most military families never fully unpack because the time will most likely come when they have to move again.
How does a military family tackle moving a homeschool room? Very, very carefully. I say this as the woman who realized the movers packed the tempera paint with t-shirts. Thankfully tempera paint is washable. I say this as the woman who inevitably has to track down every last puzzle piece and manipulatives. Ever try finding an educational CD in a stack of books and miscellaneous papers? I have.
However, I love our school room because it is the anti-school room. As a family used to improvising I can attest that it is really nice to be able to work anywhere that is comfortable. My kids have computers for their math, but the rest of the day is open to possibilities. They may opt to work on their bed. Language arts can be done in the living room floor. The dining room table is a great place for projects and the trampoline is fantastic for sunbathing and reading.
Along with our travelling school room we also have a travelling whiteboard. I believe once upon a time in a home long ago it was hung on a wall but once the kids realized they could take it anywhere they began to improvise. It is very rarely “out of the way” but it’s okay because it has become somewhat of a trophy when they are working on a project because everyone in the house can’t help but look at it in passing.
Our anti-school room has been wonderful when it comes to each child finding a spot where they work best. If there are noisier lessons for some of the kids and not for others then they are accustomed to finding a quieter work space. They don’t realize this now but they are recognizing the way they learn best when they do this.
Are you a military family? Or does your family just move often? I want to share some of the best methods I’ve discovered in order to deliver your classroom to a new location:
1. Be present if there are movers. We have, like many military families, had many mishaps when it comes to others packing our stuff. One time we opened a box to find our toothbrushes, a used bar of soap, and the entire contents of our bathroom trashcan. I kid you not. One way to avoid this is to be present.
2. Sort your school necessities by your priorities. Have a stack of “need immediately” in an area by itself. Mark the box clearly. You can do this even if movers are packing your things. This will prevent the desperate search in your new location.
3. Put all of your liquids (paint, glue, etc.) in a plastic container and place it in the vehicle you will be driving to the new location. Most movers have a policy that prevents them from packing these items, but many times this policy is overlooked. Trust me, you do not want to clean paint off of all your things. Glue is far worse to clean up and usually requires throwing items away. And let’s just face it, no one wants to clean anything while unpacking because there’s enough to do.
4. Throw stuff away. Old newspapers, magazines, mostly used school supplies.. get rid of them. Those items you bought way too much of? See if anyone would like to have them in your community. Old workbooks? Trash. I once gave away two huge boxes of school supplies to a local homeschool co-op and didn’t miss those items when we got to our new place! Do you have gently used books that your children have grown out of? Donate to friends or to a local library.
5. Bring some things with you for the trip. One of the things we include are their Kindles. You could add games, puzzles, math, etc.
6. Allow time to unpack. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you have time. You have time to take a few days to unpack. Moving is a big adjustment so it is good to allow your kids to take a few days off to settle in. You need it as well!
7. Establish a central location for all things school to be stored. You see, the kids can school anywhere they want in the house, but we cannot allow their items to be strewn out across all tables, floors, beds, etc. I have a closet dedicated to supplies and a couple of bookshelves dedicated to their books. It is imperative that all things are returned to those locations on the same day. Consider these two things. Will that space be too hot or too cold to store your supplies? Is there enough room to stay organized?
Yes, there are days I long for an actual room, especially when I see so many beautiful rooms on display through other sites but oftentimes new spaces do not have an extra room available. I have learned to love our relaxed anti-school room and the opportunities it provides for free-range learning.
What tips can you add to my list to families who move often? Do you have great organization and planning strategies?