Space: the final frontier. With the school year quickly approaching, our overcrowded nests are about to become a bit more chaotic as many of us boldly go where no one in our household has gone before—homeschool or virtual school.
Some good news for kids: That all-important first day of school outfit may be an Elsa costume or pajamas after all.
Parents, take heart: whether you are an accidental homeschooler, an intentional homeschooler, or a public-school remote learning referee, you can create a comfortable and enjoyable home learning environment to help your student(s) succeed.
As you plan, here are a few things to consider:
- How many children will be learning at home this year? Consider the age(s) of your student(s). Younger learners may need more wiggle room (literally) and a parent on call for tech support and time management, whereas teens or tweens may be able to work independently at the kitchen table with a laptop or tablet, earphones, and minimal supervision.
- How does your child learn best? Learning styles describe the way(s) a child processes and then absorbs new information, most often through visualization, listening, reading/writing, or movement and practice. Unsure how your child leans into learning? Take this short questionnaire: https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/
- Will you dedicate one room for learning or will you utilize multiple rooms? We encourage a blend of indoor and outdoor settings whenever possible. It’s much easier to concentrate when you’re comfortable, so ensure learning spaces provide adequate light and airflow. Keep your kid(s) cool and comfortable for the new school year with the perfect Hunter fan to complement indoor and outdoor learning spaces. Check out more ways to create the perfect study space over on this blog.
Our Must-Have Tips and Tools for Happy Homeschoolers:
- An open mind: Just as individual learning styles differ, so do homeschooling styles, schedules, and setups. Give yourself grace as you find what works best for your family. While it is not necessary to have an official “homeschool room,” we do recommend involving your children in the planning process to balance personal space and common space during the school day. Ask them to incorporate decorative accents that inspire them to learn.
- A flat surface: Depending on where your child likes to sit and work, this might be a portable surface like a clipboard or lap desk or something stationary such as a drafting table or the kitchen table. Get creative! Some children enjoy sitting on the floor and using the seat of a kitchen chair as a desk. Upholstered ottomans work well too.
- Smart storage: Once you determine where the learning will happen, keep supplies within reach and a trash/recycling bin handy. For early elementary students, add pops of color and functionality by filling plastic apothecary jars with markers, colored pencils, and crayons displayed on a low cube storage shelf. Use decorative baskets with handles to contain paper and notebooks. For older students, consider repurposing a coat closet or taller bookshelf. We also like brightly colored file cabinets on wheels to keep paperwork organized and the added bonus of another flat surface/work space.
- Efficiency Boosters: Visual timers help younger children see and process how much time is left, but we love them for all ages to keep schedules on track. Our favorite is Time Timer https://www.timetimer.com.
- Calming influences: Everyone is feeling all the feelings during this unpredictable season. Create spaces for brain breaks with soothing music, jigsaw puzzles, books of nature photography, blankets, sequin pillows, access to natural light and fresh air. Set up a “coffee house” space near a window and sit and chat with each child 1:1 for 10 minutes. Snuggle the family pet, stretch, and breathe.
- Promote a growth mindset—no matter the age of your child(ren), we believe this extra time together is an opportunity to teach life skills like building resilience, empowering thoughts, and learning from mistakes. Check out com for printable motivation kits for kindergarteners through teenagers, available for homes or traditional classroom settings.
Lights (and ceiling fans), camera, action! A virtual fist bump to you, fellow parents: You’ve got this.