the Not So Big House: shelter around activity

“Creating shelter around a specific activity is a concept that children instinctively understand when they make a cozy hideaway out of a cardboard box. As adults, we do much the same thing when we gravitate to the corner of a room or an alcove to sit. Walls wrap around us so we’re protected, but we can look out into the larger space that our sheltered alcove is attached to.”
Sarah Susanka

The Not So Big House teaches shelter around activity. Sarah Susanka teaches us that we want to feel cozy in our active spaces, like reading in an alcove.

And we all know that homeschool families want cozy in their quiet reading times.

So let’s discuss the not so big house including shelter around activity.

not so big house creating shelter

A key concept from the Not So Big House is to shelter around activity…

I’ve dreamed of a window seat on the stair landing heading upstairs. Mostly for me.

Maybe I’ll have full shutters that enclose the seat with a window overlooking the lake and make that my hideout. Naturally, I won’t tell the kids.

Probably the most critical aspect of a home-educating household is having separate spaces. There’s this notion out there that home-educating families are with each other ALL THE TIME. Good chunks of it, for sure. But we like having our separate spaces. Which is the reason I’ve created private nesting spaces for each of us.

A room of one’s own.

Windows in two directions in the kids’ bedrooms; two views, one for the desk and another for a window seat where private afternoon reading consumes the quiet.

Haha, I can dream about that quiet.

Even the shared upstairs kids’ bathroom has a sliding door to privatize both the bathtub and the toilet. Hopefully, arguments over the bathroom will be minimized.

Naturally, we have a special room for study baskets.

What should we call that room? I can’t call it a schoolroom. Our children’s education is really not an institutional schooled education, so I’d be disingenuous calling it school.

How about a study? A study where we’ll meet to jointly practice Latin and French, do history timeline projects and do spelling lessons.

So what is the other room called where I’ll write and my husband and I will spend quiet evenings in front of the fire with our books? Also, a study. Dens are for bears. The office is for business. Schoolrooms are for school. We’ll have two studies.

Spaces under windows with a window seat are my preferred quiet space. Besides the Great Room fireplace, perhaps another window seat overlooking the lake. I’m sure I’ll find my girls here with a book in the mornings.

Clearly, I’m creating spaces for our family reading preoccupation. We’ll still support the library and buy library membership cards. But quiet niches we will have.

It isn’t a big space required; it’s the proper use of the space that makes the space feel like a mini-home.

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Teresa Wiedrick
Teresa Wiedrick

I help homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.