Remote learning may not be what we expected and life is looking different than what we are used to, as we continue to pivot to tackle this pandemic.
We try to bring a sense of “normalcy” to the changes that we have had to make in our daily lives, yet are taking it one step at a time. Some days have been easier than others…
Now, as we approach school start dates, it looks like we will need to be prepared for either part-time or full-time remote learning for our kiddos. While we may be entering a bit of uncharted territory with in-home learning, it is important that we try our best to set up our space as best we can for our kiddos to be successful during this time.
Environment is a major predictor of how our brain focuses and our ability to take in information.
Some of you may be feeling a little bit of panic around this new normal, but we got this! I have put together some tips to help!
3 tips to prepare your home for remote learning:
1. Choose a Designated Spot
If you have ever worked from home, you know how hard it can be to keep your home and work lives separate. Some days it may just be too tempting to get comfy on the couch in your living room while writing the weekly email, rather than setting up in your home office where you know you will be more productive. It’s easy to get a little too comfortable, if you know what I mean!
Now that our kiddos may not have the physical separation between school and home that they are used to, we are all working to figure out how best to set them up for success in remote learning. This is a BIG change for them, so the best we can do is make them feel as comfortable and encouraged as possible.
I recommend trying your best to recreate the physical separation between “school time” and home life in your house. We can do this by choosing a physical space in our homes that will be dedicated to learning, just as they are used to at school.
Work With What You Have
Do not stress if you do not have a separate room or large space that you are able to designate for in-home learning. You can still make a great space for your kiddos working with what you have, I promise!
I have even seen moms get creative by buying a tri-fold display board, decorating it, and setting it up on a table to create a separate learning space!
We created this space we have by repurposing an underutilized front room and rounding up desks and pictures we had around the house.
Have Fun With It
When you are looking to pick the best spot in your home to designate for in-home learning, have FUN with it and get creative! You can even involve your kiddos in your “mission,” should they choose to accept – ha!
Walk your space and see what you have to work with. If you have options, look for an area that feels as separate from the rest of the house as possible, but still close enough for you to offer your teaching/support as necessary.
2. clear the clutter
Have you ever experienced that feeling that comes when you are getting ready to work and walk into a clutter free office and desk? I always feel ready to take on my project, motivated even! I spend a little time getting settled in, then experience some serious productivity – it’s the best!
Now, think about what it feels like when you walk into a cluttered mess… The LAST thing I want to do is work on my projects in that space! It drives me crazy!
I either want to run away or get started clearing it up, which takes my precious time away from the project I need to work on!
Our kiddos feel that too! They may not be able to express their gratitude for a clutter-free space, or even be able to differentiate their feelings between either work space situation, but we can see it in their actions.
Clutter is just too much to process!
It provides for great distraction from their focus on school work, causing brain over-load! However, we may see this translate in frustration, lack of focus, tantrums, etc.
Clear the distractions
As you are transforming the space that you have chosen in your home into a learning space, make sure to use the “eyes of your kiddos” and look for any foreseen things that could cause distraction within the space. Although subconsciously, our brain processes every piece of information (or items in your workspace), so just imagine what that does to a little kids brain trying to focus. As best you can, make sure to remove any items that are not needed for school work.
To set up our kiddos for success and allow for them to feel their best going into their at-home studies, keeping a clutter-free space dedicated for learning is key! Although cute, too many pictures or other decor can be overstimulating.
3. get organized
Now that you have your designated remote learning space in your home and have worked to clear out the space to remove distractions and surrounding clutter, you can set up the space with school supplies in a way that makes sense for your kiddos.
Supplies should be easy to access for them, but also have designated spots within the space to be stored so that they do not become the source of every day clutter.
This helps to make it clear for them to understand where to find everything. It also helps to make cleaning up easier!
Another opportunity to get your kids involved with the set-up process!
As you can see in this picture, my 7 year old created her own back pack rack! The idea was all hers!
What I love about my girls getting involved is how much of a difference it makes when it comes to actually using the space as it is purposed!
Create New Routines
My 7 year old actually designed AND BUILT the back pack rack as the storage spot for her and her sister’s bags to rest at the end of the day. Just like at school, they pack their bags at the end of the day. Then, they hang them up on the rack until tomorrow.
This is a great example of creating an “end of school day” routine at home. Designing some routine around your at-home learning days, similar to what they may see at school, also allows for some habit familiarity while at home. Your routine can be designed around your lifestyle and typical daily habits, so that it works for your family!
As my husband and I were talking through the process for remote learning in our home, we realized that both of our girls were going to need full-day access to a charged computer. PHEW!
I decided to use a baking pan organizer and repurpose it as a charging station for their lap tops.
We have made this part of our “shut-down” routine. Here’s an idea of what the end of our days look like:
Pack up school projects/learning from the day into their back packs
Pick up school supplies to put away to clear the clutter from the day
Save all digital work and shut down the lap top
Hang up the back packs on their special rack
Plug in the lap tops into their special charging rack
We try our best for it to feel like they are “leaving” the school day behind for the evening.
At the end of the day, I want my girls to feel encouraged to learn at home, and maintain my sanity – ha! I also want them to be able to have their normal “home” time where they are able to play and spend time with their family like they are used to. We can do both!
I hope that these tips help you create a special remote learning space in your home! Remember to be graceful with yourself, this is new territory for most of us.
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