In light of recent events, many parents and guardians are making the transition to homeschooling their children. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted school-age children all over the globe. In fact, 87% of the Earth’s student population has been impacted by school closures due to this pandemic.
In the U.S., these closures have impacted over 55 million students, and many states have ordered their schools to remain closed through the remainder of the scheduled school year. While it’s easy to fall into the idea that summer vacation has started early, that isn’t the case for most students who are expected to keep learning at home.
While some schools are assisting parents with take-home packets, e-learning opportunities like the K12 Inc. program, and more, it’s really up to the family unit to come together to make homeschooling a success during these uncertain times. Considering that 75% of parents say their kids are more likely to look something up online than ask for help with schoolwork, it’s safe to say that homeschooling comes with its fair share of challenges.
One way to combat those challenges and make homeschooling successful is to set up a dedicated classroom space for your children. A space that serves as a healthy learning environment can make a big difference. So how can you do that to make this transition easier for everyone?
Setting the Space
Setting up a homeschooling environment is similar to setting up an office space at home. Start by using a furniture layout that is conducive to your child’s learning needs. You don’t necessarily need to get anything new or different. But there are a few key pieces of furniture the space should have, including:
- A sturdy desk or table
- Cabinets for storage
- Craft bins and other organizational tools
You can get your child involved in the design process by allowing them to help you arrange the room to their liking. They can also pick out bins or cubbies to keep their things organized and decorate the space the way they’d like it. This can help them to feel more comfortable and motivated in the environment.
In order to keep your children (and yourself) from becoming overwhelmed throughout the day, organization is key. Keep things categorized in different bins and binders, and try to do as much online learning as possible to avoid being bogged down with paper in your limited space. It can also help to have a dry erase board with a schedule or tasks for the day that you can check off as your child finishes them.
It’s easy for anyone to get distracted when they’re at home. You’re more comfortable, and your kids might be tempted to give in to things like binge-watching Netflix or playing on their phones all day.
An effective homeschool classroom should be free of distractions that could take away from the learning environment. Smartphone use in the classroom has been shown to distract from learning and could even impact a student’s grades. They’ve become such a problem that over 76% of teachers find cell phones in the classroom to be distracting.
So while your child may need a computer or tablet for e-learning, getting rid of additional distractions throughout the day, including hiding the electrical cords from such devices in a box or drawer, can make a difference in how focused your child is on their work.
Finding a School-Life Balance
While you’ve probably heard of the importance of work-life balance, it’s equally important for kids who are learning at home to be able to separate their educational time from their free time. Having a separate space for learning can do that, as well as setting specific hours of the day to do their school work.
As a parent, you may need to adjust to find the right balance, too. Keep in mind that some things around your home may change due to the introduction of homeschooling. For example, thanks to the kids being at home more and using more appliances and electronic devices, your energy bills might go up. You can calculate your home’s energy usage and take steps to lower it, not only to cut back on energy waste but to save some money.
It’s also a good idea to do things with your children that don’t involve school. Remember, you’re still a family at the end of the day, and you should be able to enjoy your normal, family activities. Cook dinner together, or go for an evening walk. Keep the homeschool space for its sole purpose, and try to keep the rest of your life as normal as possible.
By following these tips for setting up a homeschool classroom, you can make the educational experience at home easier on yourself, and more effective for your kids as we all try to get through these times of uncertainty together.