Teachers are well-skilled in creating effective learning spaces, but if your kids are schooling from home for the first time it may be a whole new world for you. Whether you turn a spare room into a home classroom or set up shop at the dining room table, it’s important to create a functional learning space for your child to focus on their schoolwork. Let’s look at 5 ways to create an effective remote learning space in your home.
1. Set up the Space to Suit Your Child’s Needs
Each child will have different needs when it comes to learning — some might work well in an open area like the living or dining room, others may need a quieter atmosphere to focus on their work. If you have younger children, you’ll want them to be in a more central location so you can keep an eye on them and jump in to help as needed. For them, a spot at the dining room table or a corner of the living room might work great. But older kids may need more privacy, especially if they are doing a lot of video classes. In this case it may work better to add a desk or folding table to your home office or create a semi-private study area in the living room or dining room using a privacy screen or bookcase as a room divider. No matter where you set up a workspace for your child, they will need a well-lit, consistent spot to do their work each day.
Ideally you’ll want to avoid setting up your child’s workstation in a high-traffic area in your home (the kitchen may not be the best place, with the noise of making meals, running the dishwasher, etc), but if your only option is a highly used area, consider using a portable room divider to create more privacy, mitigate household noise, and help your child focus.
Have multiple children who need to work in the same area? Try a tabletop divider to separate the dining room table into multiple work areas. Versare’s SoundSorb desktop panels are an ideal solution, as they are lightweight yet sturdy, made of sound-absorbing material, and easily foldable for storage at the end of the day.
2. Utilize Learning Zones
If you’re a parent, you know that most kids don’t do well sitting in the same spot all day (especially when they’re younger). Give them a change of scenery by setting up learning zones throughout the home for different lessons. Here are a few ideas:
- Set up an arts and crafts zone on the dining room table or in a basement family room. Smaller children especially need a space for art and hands-on learning, and designating an area for that will help boost their creativity.
- Create a reading nook in the living room or family room using a comfortable chair, a small bookcase, and a lamp. Have kids decorate this space with art projects focused on books they are reading. Having a fun and cozy spot to do their reading each day can help kids get excited about digging into a good story.
- Set aside an enclosed space for video calls. Try emptying out a closet and adding a small desk or table, chair, and lighting for a private workspace or have a room designated for video calls to keep sound insulated and ensure the background isn’t distracting.
- Create a physical education zone in the yard or basement to give kids an opportunity to get some exercise and work off extra energy. Set up an obstacle course or a set of exercises for them to go through — use what you have on hand like jump ropes and hand weights, or give them a series of yoga poses or calisthenics exercises to work through.
- Set up a snack station where your kids can grab something healthy to eat when they’re hungry, so there’s no time wasted in putting together snacks throughout the day. Let them choose from a variety of snacks you’ve pre-approved, so they’re not bugging you for snacks every 10 minutes.
3. Keep Things Organized
An organized workspace that is free of clutter helps us maintain focus on our work — children are no different. Keep the clutter in line by using storage bins, trays, baskets, or a rolling utility cart to organize and store supplies. Shallow lidded bins that can fit beneath a bed or sofa will come in handy if you are short on storage space. Use color coded labels or stickers for each child’s supplies and their corresponding storage bins, so everyone knows what belongs to who.
Keep daily supplies close by, and tuck everything else away into storage until it’s needed. One way to do this is to keep all necessary daily items in a backpack and the rest in storage bins. Grabbing their backpack at the start of the school day could also help put your child in the mindset for learning each day.
Also consider putting a corkboard, whiteboard, or chalkboard in a common area to keep track of your child’s daily schedule — possibly with the snack station. Include your schedule as well, so your kids know when you’re available and when you’re in meetings.
Plan to put all school supplies away at the end of the day to create separation between school and leisure time, as well as to keep school supplies from taking over your home. This act of setting things up in the morning and putting them away after school can help create some delineation between school and home now that everything is in one place.
4. Let Your Child Help Decorate and Personalize their Space
To be its most effective, your child’s workstation should be a space they can enjoy spending time in. Have them help with the setup process, and include decor that makes the space personal to them — fun artwork, photos of their friends, etc. If your child is working in a communal space, have them decorate their part of a room divider or tabletop divider, or even the bins or backpack their school supplies are stored in.
Bright happy colors encourage creativity and productivity. Bring in color with paint, wall art, accessories, or even the computer desktop. If your children are sharing a computer, create a separate account on it for each child — that will give them their own desktop as well as their own folders, applications, and app settings. Bonus: creating separate accounts can also keep them from accessing anything you don’t want them to (i.e., computer games).
5. Minimize Distractions
Managing distractions is key to helping your child get the most out of remote learning. Try the following to minimize distractions as much as possible:
- Use acoustical room dividers to create separation and absorb sound when multiple family members need to work in the same room.
- Set up your child’s workspace away from TV, toys, and games, and put away phones except for brief breaks throughout the day.
- Headphones can help big and small kids alike concentrate on educational videos or minimize external sounds when they’re having a difficult time focusing. Noise-cancelling headphones can also help parents focus on their own work while the kids are doing distance learning.
- Make sure your child has a comfortable chair so they aren’t distracted by how uncomfortable they are. Adjust their seating situation with pillows, footrests, or other supports as needed to help them stay comfortable and maintain good posture. Consider purchasing a laptop or ipad stand so kids don’t have to crane their necks on video calls.
Don’t stress if your child’s workspace isn’t perfect — this is new territory for us all. Ultimately, they just need a place that allows them to sit, think, and learn, and there are many ways to create such a space. Each child is different, and you know best what your child needs to stay energized and engaged in learning throughout the day.
If you are in need of privacy screens, tabletop dividers, or other ways to create separation and absorb sound in your child’s learning space, Versare has you covered. Shop our online store or call us at 800-830-0210 — we look forward to helping you create an effective remote learning space for your children.