Ask Donna Vail: Is it necessary to have a desk for each child?

This Week’s Question Answered: Q: Do you have a schoolroom where you teach your children? Is it necessary to have a desk for each child?

A: You do not have to have a separate room designated as a schoolroom. You are homeschooling and that is all it needs to be, your home. Because An Inspired Education is all about self-education we don’t have a room with a chalkboard. I don’t stand in front of them teaching lessons. I do recommend that you have a place where each child can sit at regularly to do his work. This can be the kitchen table or a desk. Make what you have work for you. Keep children who are younger than 13 near you where you can still model for them self-education. Don’t expect them to sit for hours on end at their desk, especially boys. They naturally want to run out side and play, move and explore. They have to learn that studies come first then they have lot’s of time to run outside.  I do expect my children to sit through the subject they are working on without getting distracted or leaving their desk. Sometimes they will get up to get a drink of water, hug the toddler when she comes to them, or complete their math at the desk then move to the couch or bed for reading. We don’t have complete silence because that is just not how life is. I do keep distractions at a minimum and have created an environment that supports their study but the child has to learn how to stay focused as well. These are great lessons in responsibility and self-control. When a child reaches the ages of 12 or 13 they enter the Inspired Master Scholar phase. This is usually when they take more responsibility for their own work, wish to work in an environment that is controlled and has less distractions. At this point the student usually wants a work space they can call their own, their own desk. This is something we do provide for our children, a well suited desk for their room. One that has a large enough work surface to be able to spread out and study. Good desks can be expensive, but we’ve found fabulous desks at garage sales or discount stores. It is an investment in their future. Providing their own “space” is great encouragement for the child and supports them as they take on more advanced studies.

Usually by 12 to 13 years of age they are beginning upper level math so they will need more concentration time. Since you are communicating well with the child and reviewing their work each week you know they are doing their work while alone in their room. Over the years you have modeled self-education and did the character work. Now is the time for them to use it while still under your loving guidance.

Love more, live more and learn more. Get Your Questions Answered: Ask Donna Are you stuck? Have a question about home education or living inspired? Send me your most pressing question, and then get your answers in the next publication of Living An Inspired Education. If you could ask me one question about creating more success and joy for you and your family as you homeschool, what would your question be? Send me an e-mail with your specific question. Type in the subject line “Here’s my question Donna” and send it to Please submit your one question while it is still fresh on your mind and thank you so much for participating in this worldwide survey. I do hope that our paths will cross soon on a live teleseminar, personalized mentoring sessions or a live event. Until then, let’s get your question answered and stay inspired. Want to attend a LIVE Q & A with Donna? Get your questions answered today.

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