As the world finds itself gripped in the worst pandemic in a century, schools are increasingly shutting down to prevent the spread of the virus and prevent endangering the lives of children, teachers, and parents. This means more and more parents are starting to homeschool their students or have been forced to homeschool them due to lockdowns and other safety measures. Ensuring a positive learning environment for your children so they can still get the most from their remote education can take a bit of work, but the effort is well worth the investment.
An important step, obviously, is finding a good spot to set up a homeschooling space. If space is limited, the kitchen table will suffice, but a dedicated set up is ideal to make it conducive for learning. OakMeadow.com agrees, recommending to “dedicate a table or large desk where work can be spread out, left undisturbed, and returned to as needed. If the work surface must meet more than one family need, consider using a table that is only used occasionally or for just one other purpose. With a shared surface, make it a priority to always keep it clean and uncluttered, and develop a family habit to clean up thoroughly between uses.” Gabriel Beaudry
Of course, if your child is going to be sitting at a desk and table for long periods, it’s important to make sure the furniture is comfortable. Finding a good solid wood office set will help ensure a comforting learning environment.
As with any desk setup, it’s important to make sure the most needed daily materials are at hand. Notebooks, pencils, and the like can stay on or near the desk for regular use. A shelf for curricula books and reference materials is also a good idea. It might not be a bad idea to talk with your child and see what sort of layout they prefer as well. The ability to homeschool means the chance to customize their learning environment to suit their needs.
Though a well organized inside learning environment is crucial, don’t be afraid to go outside for hands-on learning. A field trip or the back yard or park not only helps provide more physical learning, but it also breaks up the monotony of desk work. Younger kids especially will appreciate the change in scenery.
OakMeadow.com expands on this notion, advising to “consider the spaces that are available outdoors! Perhaps there is a porch, gazebo, patio, or garden table that could be used in warm weather. Some of the same principles apply to outdoor learning spaces: comfortable furniture, shelter from the bright sun, and a flat space to work on. A large, flat board can be used as a workspace on grass or inside a tent. A hammock can be the perfect cozy spot for reading and studying. A large basket can be used to store materials and carry them to/from the house. Older homeschoolers might expand their horizons and study at the park, the library, or a local cafe.”
As for the indoor setup, there’s more to learning than just a desk. Again, you can tailor your child’s education to their needs, so you should take as many opportunities to do that as possible. While the general layout may follow a standard classroom setup, with a desk and chair for study and homework, having other areas arranged or easily convertible for learning is a good way to keep kids engaged and on the move. This is especially useful for younger kids who have a hard time sitting still.
Photo credit Alexander Andrews
For example, a child that prefers hands-on learning through fiddling and building stuff would benefit from an area set up with puzzles, science kits, and the like. Kids who prefer audio learning could have a comfy area for audiobooks. For the kids who like to read and enjoy learning that way, a comfy reading chair separate from the desk might be a fun change of pace. Though the student desk should be the focus of learning, don’t be afraid to try less traditional learning methods and locations. For the untold time, this is your child, make sure they get the best education they can get specified to them based on available resources.
Of course, it can be hard to gather everything needed to teach a child, especially on a budget. A lot of what you would need to help can be found on a budget, and with the pandemic running rampant programs and support can be found from likely and unlikely sources.
The schools themselves, of course, are providing resources to help parents, much as they did during the initial lockdowns that swept the country in the spring. Companies like Amazon are also providing support, with deals on school supplies and other resources for parents. Most school supplies will still be available on sale at many stores as they continue to traditional back to school releases. Though schooling might be at home, people will still need notebooks, pens, and the like.
The current situation is forcing a lot of people to homeschool their kids, whether they were prepared for it or not. Through careful planning and money might be in short supply, there are a lot of resources for students to create impromptu mini-classrooms and learning areas in their homes. The important part is making sure your child learns what they need to succeed in future academics and life, inside the home or out.
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