This is not an easy question. Homeschool rooms are as varied as the families they are for. The number and ages of children in the room at one time, the number of rooms in the house, how much money a family earns: these are all factors to be considered in designing your schoolroom.
For us, it has come down to three necessary components:
1. A Place for Prayer:
Every morning we gather around our homeschool room shrine to make the day’s offerings and petitions. The children are aloud to handle the saints’ statues, rosaries, and our second class relic from St. Leopoldo Mandic while I read the Bible passage for the day. We close with a hymn before starting school. (For more ideas about incorporating young children in religious activities, see The Child in the Church by Maria Montessori and Others.)
2. A Place for Group Study: After prayers, we adjourn to the group study area to sing the alphabet, go over the day on the calendar, and review what everyone has learned together so far. This usually sets up the pre-schoolers nicely to work on their own a little while, so I can help our older child.
3.Enough space for individual study and teaching: After Group Study, I slowly make my way around to each child individually to help him or her with a task. I start with the oldest, help her with reading. Then, I help #2 with colors or shapes, while #1 is working on math. Finally, I check their work, and we return to a group activity…coloring. This is how we end the formal school hour (at present).
Optional perks! I encourage mothers to think about what kinds of spaces they would particularly like in a homeschool room to encourage them and their children to do more than just school in the schoolroom. For example, I have my sewing desk in one corner of our room, and some days we retreat to the schoolroom, I work on a sewing project, and the kids do activities. We also have musical instruments in the schoolroom. The children can experiment with shakers, xylophones, and more, or Papa brings out the guitar for singing and dancing!