Homeschooling a Large Family in a Small House


This post is not meant to be some extreme, reality TV-like post on radical living.

Our family isn’t extremely big;  we have eight kids.

Our home is not extremely small;  we have five bedrooms and nearly 2000 square feet.

Yet, we do have to be careful with how much stuff we have and organize who does school where to keep the peace, so-to-speak.

Keeping sane while schooling at home all day long is a matter of some flexible organization and simple creativity.

large family homeschool

You can read about the creation and evolution of our homeschool room by clicking here.

As our family has grown from our early school days with one and two students, we have gone from having a school room to school spaces.  The funny thing is that even when we had a school room, our kids spent most of their school time during the day sprawled out on couches or under the trampoline or sitting with me at the kitchen table.  There are certain spaces throughout the house or yard that the kids tend to naturally learn better.

  • Some like to be outside in nature.
  • Some like to be in the quiet of their bedrooms.
  • Some like to be right next to mom.

The only thing that is missed about our old school room is the extra storage space (ahem) which brings me to my first point – organization.

Organizing the Homeschool Home

Has your husband ever casually remarked as you are perusing homeschool curriculums online, “We need more curriculum?  We could start out own store!”  Mine husband has, and really after 18 years of homeschooling, he may be right!  Each summer I go through our maxed out bookshelves and purge things that we aren’t using, holding on to classics and resources that are tried and true.  I am well familiar with Ebay and list useful items for resale there each summer.

You’ve likely heard the saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Nothing irritates this organizationally challenged mom of many like hearing that my kids cannot FIND their school books.  I mean really.  And so naturally, necessity being the mother of invention, and not having a room in which to store all of our homeschooling stuff {and close the door when we’re done!} we have to find creative ways to store all of our important homeschool supplies.

Our system for containing our kids’ personal notebooks, papers and workbooks has varied over the years but every year there is some place, whether a basket or a backpack, that our kids put their schoolbooks when they are finished for the day.  This year each of our 6 school-aged kids has a drawer in our dining room cabinet.  While we were traveling and living on our boat, the kids packed everything in their backpacks.  Before our latest and greatest furniture addition, the kids had a wicker basket on a book shelf in the living room.

Organizing the Homeschool Schedule

Creativity really comes in to play when organizing the homeschool schedule.  Part of managing a lot of students with limited desk and computer space, involves keeping a carefully planned, yet flexible,  schedule.  If kids are sharing computers or school books, a lot of confusion can be eliminated by assigning not only subjects and lessons but the time at which to complete them.  For more on our large family homeschool schedule, click here.

For more posts on organizing, scheduling and otherwise managing a large family homeschool, see the links below:

 My complete 10-day series on Homeschooling the Large Family

A 5-day series on Planning for the Large Family Homeschool

If you are looking for more homeschool room inspiration, head on over to the iHomeschool Network’s Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop by clicking the image below!



Marianne Sunderland

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  1. there are some nice ideas here. however, i was hoping for more specifics. and maybe some more photos. and as a family homeschooling 7 kids living in a 1500 sq ft house, 3000 sounds pretty spacious to me!

    • Yes! Everything is relative! Kristi – maybe you’ll feel like you have more space when I say that we have 8 children (5 school age & 3 preschool/baby) and we have a 900 sq. ft. house 🙂 We do have a basement for laundry and some storage, but it’s not living space for sure!

  2. We have small spaces here too and organization is key!

  3. It’s an interesting thought that some may call a 3000 sq house small. There are six of us in what must be a micro-house of 1000 sq feet!! Lol I appreciate the ideas though! Funny how ‘small’ is a relative definition.

  4. We’re in nearly 3,000 square feet now with 8 kids, but we moved from 900 with 7. We still have empty rooms. 🙂

  5. I also thought “small” meant much smaller…almost 3000 square feet to me sounds huge! But your ideas are good ones, so thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Marianne Sunderland says:

      I guess we do have plenty of living space. Not microscopic but still a struggle to keep everything in its place and keep stuff to a minimum. 🙂

  6. Oh 3000 sq ft, my eyes bulged out. Almost:) I have 6 kids, soon to have one more and we live in a 650ish sq ft “small” house. Just one level. 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. The struggle is real.

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