This past year has brought about much change—and some challenges—to most of our families. The pivot to remote learning has been no exception. But, even if your kids are now learning primarily (or part-time) from home, it doesn’t mean you can’t recreate a great classroom-like environment for them, no matter what their age. Whatever your living situation may be, there are many creative tips and tricks to make the virtual school experience more focused and fun for everyone in your family.
Before we hop into design tips, first things first: One of the most critical parts to successful remote learning is minimizing distractions! The last thing your child needs while trying to focus on their spelling quiz is a TV—or speaker—playing in the background. On that note, you’ll want to set up your child’s study space in as quiet a place as possible. Aim to remove electronic devices that could cause their attention to stray, and also be sure that their favorite toys aren’t in sight. Working with a small space? No worries. Just try to put their toys away in bins before the school day begins.
Space It Out
Speaking of decluttered spaces, where you choose to make your homeschooler’s “base” is a key decision in creating a great “classroom at home.” Ideally, your child should have a designated study room with a work surface that’s all his or her own—even if it’s simply a special corner of the family kitchen table! Living in a home with tight quarters? No problem. Think about getting creative with furniture arrangements in order to recreate the feeling of a classroom for your child. Consider pushing the living room couch in toward your child’s desk or work surface, and then adding a bookshelf on the other side to create the feeling of a special “study nook.” When the school day is over, you can simply move the furniture back to its original position.
Classic Classroom Vibes
Once things are (relatively) quiet and there’s a good designated space for your kid (or kids!) to do their work, the real design fun begins. Taking into account the age of your homeschooler, do some brainstorming on what really brings a classroom to life for them. Think bulletin boards, colorful and inspiring posters, maps, and even hanging up some of their artwork or the results from a well-received assignment. Other “classroom-like” must-haves? Consider hanging a hook for their backpack, creating their own cubby, and adding plenty of jars and containers for organization. Even pack their lunch in a lunchbox from time to time, maybe with a little note to say how proud you are.
Got a tween or teen studying from home? Rather than lots of posters and primary colors in their environment, think about how a minimalist, office-like vibe might be the route to go instead. Something like a new desk lamp, pen holder, or cute throw rug can create a calming, professional vibe. And no matter your remote learner’s age, having your kid chime in regarding what they might like to have around them during study hours is the perfect way to help your homeschooler feel included and motivated—two important things when it comes to staying on task at home. If your family is the DIY type, maybe even consider painting a wall together or hanging up some temporary wallpaper. Homeschooling can have its challenges, but it’s a great opportunity for bonding, as well.
If you’re homeschooling preschool-age kids, or a little one in kindergarten, some interlocking foam panels laid down on your floor can be a nice addition to a study area. Kids a little bit older? They might feel more stimulated working in an area of your house that has classic hardwood floors or luxury vinyl. And, of course, carpet is another great option for homeschoolers of any age. One of the benefits of virtual learning is, if your kids want to read on the floor, they can! As long as creativity and focus are blossoming, studying can happen anywhere.
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