Organize Your Home School Space for Success
One tricky aspect of suddenly turning your home into a makeshift learning environment for at-home schooling is that the space may not be conducive to this type of learning. You likely have central areas of the home with people coming and going throughout the day. Family members may be engaging in disruptive activities such as having out-loud phone conversations or watching movies and online videos. Parents are likely anxious to hear the most recent news updates in the ongoing emergency situation, keeping the television news stations blaring for a good part of the day.
Another difficult aspect of teaching at home is that kids may be surrounded by temptation that prevents them from focusing. If your at-home students make a habit of doing schoolwork and studying in their rooms, this may seem ideal as they’re quiet, out of your way, and presumably focusing on their studies. However, in their bedrooms they may be surrounded by temptation such as easy access to online games, messenger programs and other distractions.
Still yet another challenge that home schooling parents may face is that your kids might spend most of their day goofing around and playing with each other rather than attending to their studies. For this reason, many teachers are now conducting morning meetings in the hope of setting a serious and studious tone for the rest of their students’ day.
Here are some tips for transforming your home into a healthy and productive learning environment:
Turn extra space into a classroom. If you’ve got available room in your home, transform that space into a temporary learning environment. You can set up a folding table and chairs in a central location such as a finished basement or downstairs den of your split-level home. If you don’t have space to spare, consider making each child’s room into a classroom, by moving a computer desk and or creative work space there.
Relocate gaming and entertainment systems. If tech-based forms of entertainment prove to be an ongoing distraction for your family, one way to better manage this is by creating a central location where family members can gather during relaxation and “play” time. During weekday mornings and afternoons when “home school” is in session, you can have kids go to their learning area either in their room or in a makeshift “classroom” area of your home.
Don’t forget gym class. Your at-home exercise room can become the daily place to help kids work off stress and anxiety while helping them build strength and exercise their muscles. If you have an area of your home where you store a few pieces of exercise equipment such as an exercise bike, stair master or elliptical machine, now is the time to dust those off and get your kids utilizing the machines for their own level of fitness and for the sanity of all. Another option is to gather up all of your existing sports equipment such as bikes, balls, bats, skateboards, basketball hoops, etc. and have your kids pick the sport of their choosing to play outside at a specific time of day and for a minimum of 3 days of their 5-day school week. The more exercise everyone gets, the less stressed and anxious they are likely to be.
Break out the art supplies. Cooped-up kids need a creative outlet, and that’s where your at-home arts and crafts hour will come in handy. Put your inspired art students to work organizing their own art and craft supplies, then have them select a project to focus on for the week. Giving them freedom of choice in what types of art projects they pursue, such as painting, drawing, wood working or doing handicrafts, will help them to feel like they have at least some level of autonomy during what may feel like a very restrictive situation.
Some schools may have specials’ teachers on top of their game. If this is the case with your child’s teachers, then you won’t have to rack your brain trying to come up with creative craft and fitness activities. The teachers may have recommendations already in place for you to follow along with. In that case, you need only enforce what’s already been instructed.