Ah, home school, distance learning, whatever the phrase may be – many of us never thought we’d be in the position of homeschooling, but here we are! So, let’s put some thought into what can make this the most successful for everyone.
Most of us are not teachers and don’t have education degrees, but we do know our kids. So, let’s set up an environment that makes the most of what this year will bring. Our kids need less than we might think. A dedicated room is not necessary! After all, the classroom environment is often one room for 20+ kids. We got this! Here are some ideas for homeschool setup that I hope you’ll find practical to implement. Happy schooling!
1. Think in terms of zones.
If we consider how a classroom is often set up, there are zones. Age dependent, maybe there’s a reading area, dress up corner, a craft zone, workspaces, and a drop zone (for backpacks, etc). I’m not suggesting you carve out space for all of these, but home setup can mimic key pieces of this environment.
Designating a workspace with a writing surface is among the most important of these. Separate the sleeping area from the workspace. I’ve found that a workspace other than my kiddos’ bed helps them to mentally transition to their day and prepare to learn.
A cozy reading nook could be as simple as putting some pillows, a container of books, and some little fairy lights in the corner of their room, but could be seen as a magical fort to your child.
2. Have supplies at hand.
Not only the right supplies, but within reach of your child, contained, labeled, and in a place where they know to find them. Let those back to school supply lists guide you, so you can make sure to have the basics on hand.
Consider lined, plain white, and construction paper, as well as pencils, colored pencils, pens, markers, a calculator, scissors, glue, and some folders.
These caddies are great for having the most often used items at your fingertips, and have the added bonus of portability. Art class in the backyard? Grab the caddy and you’re good to go!
3. Make it fun!
One of the benefits of learning from home is that you can be creative and flexible, taking full advantage of the environment. Learning doesn’t all have to take place with a chair and desk. Mix it up and use a beanbag or flashlights, take a lesson out on your deck or have reading time in a hammock. You know what will work for your child – what will be a fun new adventure vs. what might be distracting. And, if something doesn’t work, that’s ok! Experiment and learn.
4. Maintain the space.
Having a home for all the supplies is one thing. Maintaining the space is another. Just like your kids are responsible for doing their part to maintain order in their classroom, they can be responsible for putting things away at the end of their homeschool day as well.
5. Independence is key!
This one applies to kids of all ages. Yes, it’s helpful to have supplies within reach for the youngest of students. But, it’s also important to ensure older students understand that you’re there to support them, but just like in school, they’re expected to be independent learners.
Regardless of your homeschool setup, everyone will be just fine. And, we may all learn a thing or two about patience, flexibility and resilience in the process.