How to set up a space for distance learning in your home
While children are at home, it might feel meaningful to set up an organized space for distance learning. This doesn’t have to be a conventional classroom or office setup, or even a dedicated room. You can set up distance learning in the kitchen or living room. Just focus on providing the basics: a clean space which boasts a flat surface, comfortable seating, good lighting, and a place to store course materials. Ideally, this would be a dedicated surface so that work can be paused and left out during time away from study.
Here are some tips for setting up a space for your child’s learning at home.
Where should I set up a distance learning space?
You can set up your child’s temporary distance learning anywhere in the home. You don’t need a dedicated room or home office. Just find a flat writing surface with ample lighting. Get creative: use one end of your dining table, a coffee table with floor seating, or even a place on the hardwood floor away from foot traffic.
Maintaining rhythm, as much as possible is a critical grounding technique as we pioneer this time of social distancing. With this in mind, try to avoid school in your child’s bedroom: your child can “go to school” in the living room and then “go home” to their bedroom.
When selecting an area for distance learning, consider:
- Can the space be dedicated to schoolwork for several weeks?
- Is there enough room for writing and spreading out materials?
- Is the space near where you will be working throughout the day, so that your child can ask you questions?
- How will you store class materials? Get creative: use an old shoebox to keep clutter off the counter.
- Declutter the area: simplifying the workspace (and using it just for school) keeps children grounded while the rest of the world is chaotic.
- Is the area free of distractions (especially news media)? Are you able to ensure “quiet time” in the area during study time?
- Is the seating comfortable and ergonomic?
- Is it near a power outlet? If not, plan to ensure technology is fully charged before your child needs it for schoolwork.
- How is the lighting? Aim to find a space that has ample lighting, either near a window or with overhead lighting, such as a dining table.
Maintaining rhythm by moving school around the home
Indeed you must have a “school desk” arranged for practical instruction, but don’t think you need to keep school in the classroom. Think of ways you can work the home and outdoors into your child’s classroom.
Tips for maintaining rhythm while children are home from school:
- Take a “recess” break to go for a walk around the neighborhood (maintain safe social distancing from others). Exercise the mind by paying attention to what can be seen in nature, such as plants, leaves, trees and birds.
- Read a book in the backyard.
- Listen to instructional audio recordings while outdoors, on a walk, or in a comfortable pile of pillows.
- Take math homework to a comfortable location; spread out on the floor with pillows and blankets.
- Pause for meals and snack time in the kitchen. If age appropriate, allow your child to help cook or prepare food.
Tips for keeping your distance learning space organized
Organization and clutter control are critical. Just like you, your child is experiencing a massive change in routine. Here in Boulder county within the span of a week, schools and extracurricular activities were closed just as restaurants and non essential businesses were. We didn’t have time to “ease in” to the new normal. Your child is most likely feeling the impact of this change to their rhythms.
Now, more than ever, it can be supportive to maintain structure and rhythm in the home. We can do so by incorporating routine and predictability into our homes, as well as visually enforcing such stability. Excess clutter in the home might be overstimulating and distracting. Now could be a possible time to declutter, removing any visual chaos. Make your home a place of clarity amidst chaos!
How to declutter for clarity and rhythm in the home:
- Work decluttering into your daily routine, ideally toward the end of the day so you can wake up to a breath of clarity. Remove dirty dishes from the countertop and put away puzzles and toys.
- Get creative with containers. Now is not the time to go shopping for new storage solutions, so work with what you have: shoeboxes, yogurt containers, soup cans and mason jars are all great for getting clutter off of surfaces.
- Make it a family activity. The whole family is home, so you’re getting the whole family’s worth of clutter. Spend time as a family decluttering together.
- Have young children help. Toddlers can help too (and get great enjoyment) out of putting things into a box and being a collaborating family member!
- Make it fun: have your child decorate a shoebox or tin can for their daily distance learning essentials.
- Make sure your child’s learning space is clean and clear at the end of the “school day.” Encourage them to keep pens, pencils and loose papers from getting out of control.
Have you set up a space for your child yet? As always, if you have any questions or need help setting up for distance learning, please reach out.