Learn how to organize your home for virtual school and distance learning.
Organize Your Home School Space for Success
Are your kids going to be home this school year, either in cyber school or virtual school? Many parents are choosing to keep their kids at home during this school year, which is totally understandable.
While many of us were thrown into this type of school for our kids last school year, this year we have a bit of time to prepare and get our homes ready.
One tricky aspect of turning your home into a makeshift learning environment for at-home or virtual schooling is that the space may not be helpful to this type of distance learning.
You probably have central living spaces in your home with family members coming and going throughout the day, just like most people do. Siblings or parents may be engaging in disruptive activities such as having out-loud phone conversations, watching movies or online videos, playing video games, or playing with toys.
And these days, some parents want to hear the most recent news updates, and keep the television news stations on for a few hours each day as their doing their own work or chores around the house.
When our kids were home during the pandemic, we struggled with finding them a space that was solely for learning. They were mostly in the kitchen at the table. Other times, they had to relocate to other rooms of the house to get their work done and attend virtual meetings.
During their work times, the family was respectful and as quiet as possible, but with 6 people in the home, noise and activity is sometimes just unavoidable.
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Another difficult aspect of virtual school at home is that kids may be surrounded by temptation that prevents them from focusing. If your children do their schoolwork and studying in their rooms, this may seem ideal as the bedrooms can be quiet and out of the way. However, in their bedrooms they may be surrounded by temptation such as easy tvs, video games, books, and more.
My son always wanted to study in the living room on the comfy couch, but the TV was just too much of a distraction for him.
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Still yet another challenge that parents may face is that your kids might spend most of their day playing with each other rather than doing their school work. It’s hard when there are a few kids in the home and they just want to play.
In our case, with four young kids in the home, there were days when they just wanted to play with each other outside rather than do their school work.
So, what can parents do to organize their home for virtual or home school?
Home Organization Tips for Virtual School
Here’s what you can do to organize your home for virtual school:
Turn extra space into a classroom. If you’ve got available room in your home, transform that space into a temporary learning environment. Set up a desk or folding table and chairs in a central location such as a finished basement or downstairs den if you have a split-level home. Make sure there is good lighting.
If you don’t have extra space to spare like many of us, consider making each child’s room into a classroom, by moving a computer desk and or creative work space there and taking away some of the distractions.
You can also just designate a small section of a room as the learning space. Set up a room divider or curtains in the corner or a room and make it the learning space.
TIP: Kids using multiple devices or a laptop for distance learning? Make sure there is an outlet and charger in their at-home space so they’re not scrambling to find one during a virtual lesson!
Set up a central location for all learning materials and supplies. One of our biggest issues in our house was spending too much time finding pencils, paper, books, and other supplies during study time.
Set up a central location where kids can find everything they need to work or study. Make sure everything is ready to go every day before the kids begin their lessons.
Keep the learning space comfy and inviting. When I was a teacher, one of my favorite things to do was to add items in my classroom that would make the space comfy and inviting for my students. I would have a corner with a comfy chair or bean bag that the kids could use when reading or studying. I had small succulent plants and other small decor items that weren’t distracting but added to the homey feel I wanted.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on items to make your space inviting and comfy for your child. Just a few items can help!
Relocate gaming and entertainment systems. If video games and movies will be an ongoing distraction for your family, create a central location where family members can gather during relaxation and play time. During weekday mornings and afternoons when “home school” is in session, you can have kids go to their learning area either in their room or in a makeshift classroom area of your home.
TIP: Does your child do better with a little bit of noise when they’re trying to work or study? I’m the same way! I always liked to play instrumental music in the background when I was doing homework or studying. It actually helped me to focus better!
Organizing Your Home for Special Area Classes
Some schools may have specials’ teachers also teaching virtually. If this is the case with your child’s teachers, then you won’t have to worry about trying to come up with creative art, music, and fitness activities to round out their education. The teachers may have lessons already in place for you to follow.
Prepare art supplies. Put your inspired art students to work organizing their own art and craft supplies, then have them follow the recommended art activities.
As most art teachers teaching virtually will most likely keep the lessons simple, you’ll only need some simple art supplies on hand:
- drawing paper
- crayons or markers
- water color paints
You can keep a bin of art supplies handy or even turn part of your education space into a little studio.
Designate an instrument practice space. Some students may be able to practice with instruments or have vocal instruction virtually at home. Designate a space just for this that will allow them to practice even while others may be working.
Don’t forget gym class. It may be hard to think that gym class could be taught virtually, but it can! It could be just like watching a fitness video online. All you would need is a little bit of space for kids to move and comfortable clothes.
My kids’ gym teacher led them through various types of stretches and exercises that they could do at home, whether they were indoors or out.
No virtual gym class? No problem! There are plenty of things you can have your kids do that would count as physical activity.
The obvious thing to do would be to gather up all of your existing sports equipment such as bikes, balls, bats, basketball hoops, etc. and have your kids pick the sport of their choosing to play outside at a specific time of day and for a minimum of 3 days of their 5-day school week.
You could also go on walks or bike rides as a family.
Have an exercise room? Teach your kids how to safely use various equipment, like exercise bikes or treadmills.
The more exercise everyone gets, the less stressed and anxious they will be.
Have Other Tips for Setting Up a Virtual Learning Environment at Home?
I hope these tips help you to organize your home for virtual or distance learning!
Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comments below!