Your child’s classroom is set up for learning, with desks, whiteboards, tables and chairs, and probably a few computer stations. Your home, on the other hand, is set up for life outside of school and work. So, how can you create an environment at home where your scholar can thrive while learning remotely? Here are some tips to help you set up a dedicated learning space.
Work together. Both you and your child have a stake in creating an effective learning space. Your scholar will be spending time there, working on independent tasks. You need to be sure it won’t interfere with the regular activities of your household. Engage your child in the process to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Focus on function. It doesn’t matter what your child’s learning space looks like, as long as it works. Consider these questions as you plan the space:
Start fresh. Your child probably already has a place for doing homework. This place may or may not work for longer periods of remote learning. Think about the questions above. You may decide that the homework spot will work with just a few tweaks. If it is cluttered, take everything out, clean the area, and then work with your child to decide what goes back in.
Be flexible. You may not have an area that can be entirely devoted to your child’s learning space. If it is a section of the dining room table or kitchen counter, it may need to be set up and broken down each day. Make those activities part of your child’s daily schedule. You can create a pop-up learning space on a table or counter using dividers made from cardboard boxes. Or, you can mark off the learning space with masking tape.
Organize supplies. Gather all the supplies your child will need—pencils, paper, crayons, folders, and so on—and make sure they stay organized. Your child might use a storage box near the work space to keep everything handy. Writing utensils can go in cups or cans on the desktop, if there is space for them.
Mix it up. Your child may learn best by being able to switch places from time to time—for example, working at a table while doing math problems and then moving to a sofa or the floor for reading. Try to provide options that work for your child.
Personalize it. Invite your child to make the learning space their own. Encourage them to decorate it with original artwork. (This is a great way to dress up cardboard dividers, if you are using those.) They might also display inspirational posters. If they want to create their own, have them consider these quotations or make up their own words of wisdom:
Check in. You may set up what seems like the perfect learning space, only to have your child find that it’s not working. Be sure to check in with your child to make sure they are comfortable in the space. Work together to troubleshoot as needed.