When home and school are one and the same

By Susan Baldani

It looks like distance learning is here to stay in many communities around the country this fall. At least this time around, unlike in the spring, parents have a chance to prepare. It’s critical for children to have the right environment in which to learn and setting up a dedicated learning area in your home can make a world of difference in their academic success.

There are many factors that go into choosing the right spot. It’s important that it be quiet and away from distractions such as televisions, radios, and/or household activity. This can be a dining room that’s rarely used, a spare bedroom, or an area in a finished basement. If possible, it’s better to set it up outside of children’s own bedrooms. For one thing, there are too many temptations such as toys and games there. For another, their bedroom should be the place they can go to relax when they’re done with their school day.

In whatever room or area that you choose, make it an enticing space where your children will want to go and spend time. Make sure there is a flat surface on which to work. This can be a desk or some kind of table with enough room for a computer and writing area. Comfortable seating and good lighting are also a must. Of course, outlets must be close by too.

Keep the area organized by making cubbies out of plastic crates or even small cardboard boxes that kids can decorate. These can be used to store books, folders, and notebooks, as well as ongoing and completed projects. Have a tray or small boxes to hold pens, pencils, scissors, glue, and whatever other supplies a child might need to complete assignments. To encourage tidiness with younger children, make a chart with stickers that children can achieve when they clean up their work areas at the end of the day. This way, they can begin the next morning in a neat and functional “classroom.” 

We don’t know how long  these COVID-19 restrictions will last, but for now at least, children are having to adapt to a whole new way of learning. Let’s make their home learning environment a stimulating and interesting place to spend their school days.

Written for The Country Register published throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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