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Great Learning Spaces For Bright Minds

Homeschooling Expert Jeanne Faulconer Helps Families Set Up for Success

Article by Christina Madrid

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

As homeschooling increases in popularity, so are the ways in which families are creating settings conducive for learning. Over the years, after homeschooling her three boys, Jeanne Faulconer has learned some of the pitfalls to avoid as well as tips on best
practices for home education.

Jeanne started out in the communications world with a degree in journalism, doing some writing, working in media, and teaching at a college. After realizing that the standardized teaching methods were not working well for her children, she began homeschooling. “Homeschool is not for everyone, but it was a better fit for my family,” Jeanne says.

Throughout this experience, Jeanne and her family moved numerous times due to her husband’s job. Each time she had to try new ways to set up a space so her three children could thrive and progress. She quickly discovered there is no single correct way. “Some families have space constraints, some have designated learning rooms, while some set up a room for each child,” Jeanne says.

Her tip for anyone who is about to set up a homeschool space is to first try it out. Too many times, Jeanne has seen families pour money into a room-painting and decorating, only to have the child feel more comfortable working at the kitchen table. “Parents are more reluctant to change a setting even if it isn’t working, if they have invested time, money and heart,” Jeanne says. “My motto is ‘do what works.’” Some kids will need a quiet space to learn while others don’t. Jeanne also notes that as children advance in learning, the learning setup will also likely need to change.

After moving to Virginia, Jeanne did “Evidence of Progress” evaluations to certify that children in a homeschooled household showed a progression in learning. She did this for 10 years and saw many different types of home education spaces. Jeanne then took a job as director of Brave Learner Home, Brave Writer’s homeschool community for parents, and provided coaching and resources to help parents effectively homeschool.

She is now a senior contributor for website and provides content, consulting and media outreach. She loves to share how she helped her kids learn, which includes how best to set up and plan for learning. The offers advice but also contains an “Ask Jeanne” section where parents can ask questions about, or raise issues, on homeschooling.

Jeanne also provides tips for setting up spaces for learning that can also apply to remote learning. 
1) Proximity matters. Keep items needed within reach.
2) Set up is age dependent.

3) All spaces should have good lighting, be comfortable, and be set at a comfortable temperature (not too hot and not too cold).

Parents should also consider multiple learning setups. As Jeanne points out in one of her articles at, you can be creative and set up different types of learning spaces such as “tub schooling,” a learning center for littles in the bathroom. Tub schooling, for example, could include some plastic measuring cups and spoons, a watering can, plastic funnels, bubbles and stick-on letters (see photo example).

“Camouflage” model-learning, which incorporates learning into each room, such as a globe in a living room, is also an easy way to add diversity to learning setups. A classroom space doesn’t have to look like a school classroom.

Jeanne also advises families not to discount “passive” learning. “A simple shower curtain with the periodic table or the alphabet is a great example of something kids will see every day and learn from,” she says. Of course, parents should not forget that the outdoors is a classroom in and of itself. Kids can learn about the weather, seasons, animals and much more from just being outside.

To stay within budget, Jeanne recommends re-purposing furniture. “Many families do not use their formal dining room. The large table is a great place to do projects and the cabinets can be a space for supplies.” Creating learning stations is also a budget-friendly way to add educational variety.

Jeanne’s Learning Station Ideas:

1. Nature station — a container with leaves and other items collected on walks and a magnifying glass.
2. A bird feeder — a box near the window to view the bird feeder with binoculars, a state bird book, a notepad, and colored pencils/pens.
3. To-go bags — small backpacks ready to go with snacks, a filled water bottle, a magnifying glass, and bags for collecting.
4. Music station — an area with different instruments, such as a keyboard, tambourines, maracas, a recorder, and
drums (you can make your own).

Additionally, sensory stations are becoming more popular, particularly if children feel anxiety or stress. You can build your own container with fidget toys and “squishes” or you can have one custom-made. “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Jeanne says. Every family has different needs but with a little patience, and some experimenting with setup options, each family can find what homeschool space and learning methods are best for them.

  • Jeanne Faulconer