The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 2

Uncategorized Mar 15, 2020

Now that you’re ready for more of a schedule for learning and some structure in your home and ways to dive into learning, let’s talk about ways to set up an impromptu learning space.

Now for a disclaimer. 

  1. You do not need to set up a mini-Montessori-school in your home.



2. You do not need to burn your printer ink out with 1,000,000 free worksheets off the internet.

3. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive arts and craft supplies from Michaels.

What you will need is an open mind, open heart and a wee bit of patience as we set our kids up for success for playful learning at home.

Step 1. Designate a Learning Space

Your kitchen. Your Dining room. Living room. Nook at the end of the hall.

Wherever it is, designate a small area as a special “learning space,” where you will do a tiny bit of direct teaching {I promise, nothing groundbreaking here}, a place where you gather to do projects, explore learning activities, watch YouTube videos, read together, write and do some hands-on math. It does NOT need to be fancy or elaborate. But an orderly, clean and organized environment sends an important message about our children and how we view learning. Bonus points if they see themselves reflected n their space - through kid-made, authentic art as well as their interests and natural curiosities.

Things you’ll want to include in your learning space:

/1/ Small group meeting area {a place to gather for some teaching time}

/2/ Basic Supplies Basket {for teaching and activities}  

/3/ A few cozy cushions or pouf

/4/ Whiteboard {see below on how to quickly make your own DIY whiteboard}

 /5/ Stuffy or puppet {for songs, rhymes and fingerplays}

/6/ Hard-top workspace {kitchen table, kids' table and chairs}

Here's our impromptu space:

When thinking about creating a playful learning space on the fly, think about a small group meeting area (couch, small space on a rug with a few pillows or poufs) where you can do some mini-lessons / teaching and read-alouds. You'll also want a workspace. A kid-sized table and chairs or kitchen table will do the trick - somewhere for project work, crafts etc.

The timelapse video above is one of my Instagram followers' space. Didn't she do an incredible job?

You may want to create a makeshift  “teaching board” - essentially a place where you can do some direct instruction {something magical happens when kids raise their gaze up off the page, and focus on a large-scale version on the wall}. 

Your teaching board might be a whiteboard, or a mini-homemade whiteboard {white paper inside a plastic sleeve or Ziploc, attached to a clipboard will do!} or a chalkboard if you’re old-school like me. Large sized paper will also do the trick.

Step 2. Gather a Basic Supplies Kit 

Designate a few special baskets for supplies. Keep them close by your learning space. If you're really organized and keen, you can make 3 baskets: a Teacher Basket, a Learning Basket (with basic school supplies), and an Arts and Crafts Basket (for the hands-on, artful learning invitations). If that feels too much, just gather some of your favourite books, some writing tools, a clipboard and some colouring supplies.

Teaching Basket

Inside the teaching basket, you’ll want to include

  • some of your favourite read alouds, (stay tuned for a book list!)
  • a stuffy or puppet for songs and poems,
  • a few markers and white-erase markers,
  • post-its,
  • a book of poetry (Shel Silverstein is great!)
  • A talking stick (or stone or other tool for family meetings and circle talks)
  • Play scarves are great also for adding some movement to learning {I’ll show you how!}. You can also use streamers if you don’t have scarves.

Learning Basket

Inside the learning basket, you’ll want to include {these are likely things you already have around the home}

  • Pencils, erasers
  • Markers, Crayons, pastels
  • Paint set, brushes, container for water, wipes/paper towel/rag
  • Paper (plain and lined)
  • Envelopes, rubber stamps (for a basic writing centre)
  • Notebook or Sketchbook (optional)

Arts and Crafts Basket

If you REALLY want to get your kids engaged and having fun learning for extended periods of time, you'll want to invest in some basic art supplies.

I highly recommend the following Art and Craft Supplies, available through Amazon or your local Dollar Store {a clickable source list will be made available inside the Sudden Homeschool Survival Toolkit.}


  • Paint pods / Pan-style watercolour paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Masking tape / washi tape
  • Heavy art paper (watercolour, sketch paper)
  • Construction paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plasticine
  • Paper plates
  • Buttons, beads, wire, feathers
  • Oil pastels / crayons
  • Sharpie permanent marker
  • Yarn 
  • Felt
  • For easy clean-up:
    • Plastic table cloth
    • Baby wipes (for easy cleanup)
    • White tray with sides (for sensory play)

{A clickable source list for books and basic craft supplies is available inside the Survival Toolkit. Keep reading for that FREE Download!}

Now that you have your supplies and your learning space in's time to make a simple schedule. Click CONTINUE to see Part 3 of this series, where we explore the next step, Sample Schedules and Routines: How to Structure Your Day.



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