The nationwide closure of schools spawned a ripple of challenges for families across the country. Whether you call it distance learning, virtual learning or at-home learning, one thing’s for sure: it’s been a learning experience!
The new breed of stress that came from a global pandemic was heavy enough before adding the pressure of hosting school at home. One of the best tools you can offer your kid(s) during their educational transition is an encouraging study room.
Whether it's for you or you send this to someone you know... House Home & More has your back with these wonderful study room ideas!
Clear Virtual School Boundaries
Children associate home with a place of rest, play and family time. It can be difficult for them to instantly turn off that mindset and embrace virtual learning without a hitch. That’s why it’s imperative that children who are learning from home have a designated place of their own to study and complete their work.
This can be especially challenging for siblings who need to work in a shared space. If you’re accommodating multiple children in a tight space, try to find creative ways to limit the chances of distractions.
Fashioning mini cubicles from folders or tri-fold corrugate is a superb way to differentiate study space. Mini cubicles create clearly defined boundaries, and the kids can even decorate and personalize their individual “walls.”
It’s not always possible for every child to have their own private study room. We all have unique circumstances, and we’re all working with the resources we’ve got. If that means a cozy corner desk in their bedroom, turning the den into a full-blown transitory classroom, or a designated half of the kitchen table from 8:00am to 2:00pm, it’s all workable.
Comfortable Desk Setup Ideas
Finding an appropriate study desk for kids can be difficult, especially for small or temporary spaces. Many products on the market are too large or cumbersome. If you’re having trouble, broaden your search to include writing desks, floating desks or even folding wall tables. These usually take up less space, offer placement versatility and can be cost effective.
Adding a rug to the area can enhance comfort on hard floors and help define individual work space. It’s also a fun way to personalize their study space with accent colors, quirky designs or their favorite characters.
Organizing Their Study Area
Keep daily supplies readily available for your kids, especially if they will be alone for a portion or the majority of the day. You don’t want them to run out of supplies or have to go searching for them throughout the day. A desktop organizer or caddy can help keep everything in place and reduce clutter.
If your children are utilizing computers, tablets or other electronic devices, be sure to keep any necessary accessories handy: headphones, charging cords, styluses, etc. Also, helping them organize and rename icons, folders and tabs on their device can make their daily tasks run smoother.
School work storage can be a chore, especially when dealing with limited space. If your kids have paper assignments to be collected and turned in at the end of the week, use trays, folders and cubbies to help reduce clutter and organize school work.
You can separate assignments by subject, by day of the week, or by process stage: to do, in-progress and completed. Use whatever method works best for your child’s individual needs!
At-home learning can be a great opportunity for kids to build time-management skills. Take advantage of calendars, reminders and scheduling apps to enhance the experience and help keep them organized.
Lighting to Study at Home With
Proper lighting can greatly influence study quality. It can help keep eyes from tiring too quickly, which can help at-home students manage their workload. Natural light is best for studying, but it’s not always an option when indoors.
The most important thing is that their study space is well-lit and has as much ambient light as possible. If you do have the benefit of plenty of natural light, be sure that your child’s workspace doesn’t face it directly. Facing a bright window can be harsh on the eyes and distracting.
Post a Visible Schedule
Posting a visible and detailed schedule is a great way to keep kids on track and create consistency. Be sure to include starting and finishing times for each activity or study period. This way if they do get off course, they can check the schedule and jump right back on.
It’s important that kids complete their daily tasks, but it’s also important that they have breaks away from their work to keep them from burning out. Be sure to include breaks for snacks, meals, movement and basic sanity on the posted schedule.
Cuing up online videos that get them moving is a great way to keep kids refreshed. A short yoga, stretching or exercise warm up video is a wonderful interruption! Be sure to go through any videos with your kids once or twice to make sure they’re time appropriate and suitable for their physical abilities. Remember, the goal is to keep them energized, not to wear them out.
As we mentioned earlier, kids associate home with relaxation. While they may be tempted to play with their toys or turn on the television sitting mere feet away, they may also be inclined to hit the fridge at their leisure.
Grabbing a snack is a wonderful recharge and offers minds and bodies a much needed break. Strive to provide nutritious snacks that promote energy but prohibit sugar highs and lows. Preparing snacks and meals ahead of time can certainly make the day easier.
It’s important that meals and snacks don’t become a lengthy or frequent distraction. Try to adhere to the posted schedule as much as possible, but if you find that your kids are getting hungrier or antsier throughout the day, try scheduling shorter but more frequent snack breaks. Every child has different needs and it might take a while before you get things down to a science.
Give Yourself Some Credit
At-home learning might be a temporary situation until your children can get back to an in-person setting. Or perhaps you’ve found that they really thrive in a virtual environment, and you’re going to make it permanent. Either way, we’re all simply scrambling to do our best to create success.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, you are first and foremost a parent. Suddenly taking on the role of a full-time teacher is more than daunting and can cause unnecessary stress in an already difficult time. It’s important to grant yourself some grace.
There is no perfect way to navigate through uncharted waters. Relax into this new opportunity where you can, and remember, it will take a while (and likely some trial and error) to find your family’s personal groove of things.