Just as my parenting has evolved in my home, so has my homeschooling. Each year I take stock of what has worked and what hasn’t and we change accordingly. We may decide to introduce journalling, or a planner, or maybe we will decide to stop workbooks all together. One idea that we recently started to do is a morning (or early afternoon) meeting. Our whole family sits at the table just after breakfast and we plan what we want to do for the day. We then place the most important things on our new kitchen command centre.
When researching ideas for a kitchen command centre I realized that many of them are for school families. Many have spaces for homework and backpacks. However, these are elements that I did not need in my own command centre so I decided to try and create my own.
My good friend Freya just started a home interior design business and so I decided to enlist her help. Having that second set of eyes, and more importantly for me, someone who could go out and buy items for me was well worth the design fee. Honestly, the thought of taking all 4 of my kids into a home store sends shivers up my spine!
After a month of trying different designs we finally decided on one. I think it looks absolutely wonderful and I would love to explain how I decided on each piece, so to help you choose elements for your own.
First of all, you need to find the space for your command centre. A large wall next to the kitchen is a good place to start. You need somewhere that isn’t hidden away. The command centre becomes a focus for the family, so it has to be somewhere where everyone will see it multiple times during the day. Some other places would be a mudroom, or maybe on a landing. You could also put it in a hall next to the front door, if you want to use it for mail and storing keys.
Next, decide on what elements that you want. When I first started thinking about what I wanted in a command centre I thought that I wanted a chalkboard, a file folder for work, and something to catch our mail. However, when I really started to think about what our family would use it for I realized that we wouldn’t put the mail there, and that my kids really don’t do enough worksheets in order for me to have a place for their work. I also have a basket system in my living room that holds all of the schoolwork that we are working with at any given time.
What I did need was somewhere the kids could look at and get all of the answers to the questions that they asked me daily. Questions like. “What is the weather today?” “What are we doing today?” “What day is it?” “Is daddy coming home/ leaving today?” “What is for dinner?” So the very first thing that was put on the wall was a chalkboard. The flexibility of the chalkboard allows me to put in major to dos, what the weather is, if it’s a special occasion, or if we have a pressing assignment or appointment.
I also added a large weekly schedule to show what chores we are expected to do. In our family my kids have everyday chores that they know they are to do. For example, put their clothes in the hamper, tidy up before bed, etc. However, we also have chores as a family, and I wanted to have a visual reminder of what we are ALL expected to do on any given day. This is for me just as it id for them. I also have the little icons on magnet paper so that I can move them around if the schedule changes.
I am a very visual person, so the last two objects on my command centre are more for visual appeal than for organization. I added a large plaque with positive affirmations on them so that I could look over while making meals and be reminded to be thankful. I really need that visual reminder every single day, and reading the words helps to make me keep our household more harmonious. Somedays I even use it as reading practice for the younger kids while they are waiting for their lunch.
The last piece that I bought is an art piece. It is made for photos, however, I am going to use it for little reminders like birthday party announcements, or vet reminders, or little postcards that I want to keep. I also like how it livens up my wall and adds that little splash of colour. Your kitchen command centre will become a large focal space in your home so making it look pretty as well as functional is the challenge.
Some other ideas that you might include are hooks for bags or keys, cubbies for wayward items, shelves, a mail sorter, a clock, a family photo, magazine boxes to hold your workbooks, even a little table to keep all of the tablets in one place. The options are really as vast as there are families that use them.
Just be sure that when you are designing your space, really think about how your family will use it. How it will make your life easier? What components do you need? Then go out and buy a bunch and try them out. My friend Freya’s tip is to use masking tape on the floor to be able to lay everything out and see what is appealing visually before placing them up on the wall. As with everything in homeschooling, if it doesn’t work take it out and try again. Enjoy the process.
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