The new school year is upon us and most students are continuing with virtual learning to one extent or the other. In such chaotic times, the last thing you need to worry about is how to create an affective learning environment for your child and you. Here are a few helpful tips to create an ideal home school environment:
1. Make a special school space
Take the time to find a space within your home to dedicate to converting it into a creative environment suitable for learning and teaching. If you can, stay away from setting up on the couch or dining room table. It is important to have a separate space to differentiate the day between school and home life. This rule is important for both students and teachers! Having a space dedicated to school is key when it comes to creating a conducive learning environment, and maintaining a healthy balance between work and play.
2. Make your space comfortable
Once you have found an area to dedicate to learning, make sure it is comfortable for everyone. Is there proper lighting? Is it noisy? What is the temperature like in the room? If you are setting up your at home classroom in a garage or attic, it is important to keep in mind the temperature. You want to create a space that is comfortable for any season or weather. Keep in mind; some children do better in a quiet environment for learning, so be sure to choose a location that is quiet with little noise. You can also play soft music to drown out any background noise if it is distracting to your child.
3. Make your space fun
Make the space fun! When this particular area in your house is inviting, children will look forward to learning with you each day. Hang educational posters or some of the children’s artwork to create a colorful environment. During this chaotic time, we often forget that learning should be fun. Any way you can incorporate fun in the classroom is helpful! Utilize small toys as manipultives to demonstrate math or grab a stuffed toy to help with reading time.
4. Create a place for supplies
Having a proper place for all of the necessary supplies is helpful in creating a classroom environment. Children then know where to find all their supplies and this helps them feel more independent in their work. Just remember to keep things organized. Separating supplies into labeled, baskets or bins is an inexpensive way to organize the area.
5. Leave time for breaks
It is very important to take necessary breaks. Children can only sit so long until they become distracted and start to lose interest in their work. Even in a traditional classroom setting, students are given breaks or transition to different subjects. Having a schedule in writing ahead of time with allotted breaks can be helpful. Also having the children stand up for a stretch is a good way to let them release some energy.
6. Have a routine (be flexible)
Having a schedule in writing is important to structure the day, but you should also be prepared to be flexible. Just like in the normal classroom setting, the day does not always go according to plan. Sometimes technology may not work, students may get sick, or teachers can add last minute addendums to the lesson. Occurrences like these are reasons why it is important for teachers, students, and parents to be flexible in their virtual learning routine. If you are a parent teaching your child, have worksheets ready that you can print out ahead of time in case of technology issues. There are many websites that allow you to print free educational worksheets or your child’s teacher may even have some to email to you.
7. Keep the room clean
Keeping the space clean and organized will prevent you or your child from becoming overwhelmed. If the room is untidy and items are not placed where they should be, this creates a more chaotic environment. It is important to go over with your child where things should be kept in the room and how you want them to tidy up at the end of their school day. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the room clean and organized.
8. Take advantage of outside space
Take advantage of the nice weather! Have your child work outside in the backyard or on the patio if you can. Also, you can incorporate some exercise of physical education in your daily schedule by allowing them to play an activity outside after lunch or taking a walk with you in the neighborhood.