Setting up a Remote Learning Space
School is about to start, and it’s not starting out how most of us had planned. Parents are stressed, teachers are stressed, everyone is just understandably stressed. Where we live, a lot of the school districts are starting out remote learning for some determined (or undetermined) length of time. For a lot of families, this is not convenient (and worse!) and will take a lot of planning, and will most likely be more stressful before it starts to get better.
One topic that has been discussed a lot online is about desks, learning spaces, or areas for the kids to work. At the very least, there are a few things you can do before school starts to help make the transition a little more organized.
Pick a Learning Space
A learning space is not limited to a desk, but having a designated space is a great place to start. This will go a long way towards making things feel a little more structured. Take a look around your house and try to find a space that will work for your child depending on their age. You ideally want to find a space that is free from as many distractions as possible, has good light, and has a power source for their computer or laptop.
Make it comfortable as well as functional. If you have an area that would be great for a desk, but you need to find one, check out Facebook Marketplace, or garage sales to find something that works for the space you have. If the space is your kitchen or dining table, you may want to add a divider (mini cubicle) than you can build from cardboard to help minimize the distractions…especially if you have more than one kid in the workspace.
Think About Privacy and Noise
If you have a crazy busy household, this may be something you need to put consideration into. Think about things like noise-canceling headphones to help block out some noise. This will keep the rest of the household from having to learn about osmosis or parallelograms.
Accessorize and Add Supplies
Let your kids help to dress up the space! The goal is to make it a space where they can spend a few hours each day. I am a firm believer that your physical space has a great impact on your mental state and the same holds true for kids. Scour your house for some accessories – a favorite lamp, a cool cup to put pens in, and maybe a bin to throw papers into. And don’t forget a small trash can. If you opt for a homemade divider, have some fun decorating it.
Check out examples of school organization tips on my Pinterest Board by clicking here.
If the space is a table or common area in your house, think about making things portable. A school supply caddy or cart can be a lifesaver to transition from school to dinner. If your littles are doing a hybrid learning model with some days at home and some at school, they may need to bring some items back and forth. Post a list of these items so they can get them packed up when they are done with remote learning for the day.
When it comes to supplies, check the normal school supply list for some clues as to what they may need. Or, ask the teacher if there are supplies they anticipate needing during the remote learning. Things like pens and markers may be easy, but one day last spring my son asked me for a pipe cleaner (???). It was a good thing he could get by with a drawing instead of building a model.
Maintain the Space
Have a regular “maintenance” schedule that is age-appropriate to your student. Even the littlest of learners can wipe down their space. Make a list, and don’t forget to include things like vacuuming the crumbs off the keyboard, and emptying the trash. If they have lots of papers, have a plan to put them away in a binder or folder at the end of the school day.
If the hug-and-go lane or bus stop is now in your dining room, taking a little time to set up a learning space may be just what you need to maintain a little sanity during this crazy time.
Oh, and just like those of us who work from home on a regular basis, shutting down at the end of the school day is important to keep that balance between school time and home time. When learning is done, shut that Chromebook, put the papers away, and go have an afterschool snack!You can catch more Back to School Tips and Tricks here. And please check back for more helpful tips as we make the return to school.