Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin
It’s Back-to-School across the country, but nothing about it is traditional. Between staggered start times, options to learn in person, at home (synchronous), or at home (asynchronous), masks, social distancing—you get the drill. There are so many issues at play that parents, administrators, and children alike can’t keep up.
If your child will be participating in at home learning, or if you just want a better spot for them to do homework, here are five tips to set up a new space that is functional, fun, and most importantly, conducive for learning.
Get Your Children Involved
Whether you have little ones who can help pick out color schemes and a few supplies, middle or high schoolers who want a space all their own, or even college students learning from home or in dorms, get them in on the action! If you think about it, now more than ever, they don’t have much control over the decisions being made for them. So giving them a space for school can provide them a sense of ownership and investment into the new school year.
Select the Perfect Spot
Finding a place with minimal distractions is no easy task, especially if multiple kids, parents, and even the dog, Oliver, are on the loose at home all day. For some, creating a small space in a bedroom will give them the quiet they need. Others may be able to revamp an unused corner or a formal dining room that mostly goes unused. Some place with minimal daytime traffic is ideal.
Revamp an Existing Space
If your child already has a great homework spot, small desk nook or corner, or a workspace in your their room, consider giving it a facelift on the cheap! Maybe a mounted shelf desk to work from, floating shelves for storage of books and biners, and a funky but supportive ergonomic chair. For organization, think rolling carts for supplies that can be rolled away after school, organization for cords and chargers and devices, corkboards or white boards for posting schedules and announcements. And everyone can use a bright desk lamp, and especially one where you can plug in devices straightaway.
Consider a Change of Scenery
As summer turns to fall, consider moving class outdoors on occasion or to a local park. Your children can run and play briefly between Zoom classes and even enjoy an outdoor picnic. The pandemic, with all the uncertainties and changes it brings, is stressful for kiddos too. Give them an outlet and make it fun every chance you get.
Designate a Box for Play
Select a medium sized storage container, maybe shoebox size. And let your kid—of any age—add a few things inside to blow off steam and relax between Zoom calls and Teams Meetings. The rule is that it can only be opened between classes. So, they can toss their phone in the box too to limit temptation. According to their ages, fill it with things like play-doh, a stress ball, chewing gum, peppermints, a ball, small doll, or stuffed animal—anything they can stand up and DO with their hands or perk up their senses. After all, kids need a “work-life” balance just like their parents do.
Here are some more great tips to help your older kids get ready for Back-to-School…back at home. You’ll find ways to help enhance their learning like “dressing” for online classes, organization ideas, and time management tips. Regardless of their ages, this at-home-learning method brings its challenges for everyone. I hope that the ideas and inspiration here will help your children start the year off on the right foot—even if it’s right at home.