Creating an Organized Space for School at Home
As we find our way through this year, there is one constant that remains the same: our children must continue to learn no matter what the physical environment looks like. For 2020 with many kids starting school virtually by September, it's time to create an organized space for school at home!
You may be asking yourself, where can you possibly set up a place when every space is taken? Honestly, it does not matter what size your home is; what matters is that each child has their own designated space to learn. Declutter or clear out an area if needed. For some kids, it's a desk in their room or living room. For others, it's the dining room table. And some parents have opted to create a "school room." The best tip I can give you in finding that space is to pick an area that is quiet, has a hard surface to write on and a comfortable chair for them to sit in.
Once you have found that space, I highly recommend making it look as much like school as possible. This can be as simple as a few posters on the wall for learning and/or motivation. So far for my twin kindergartners, they've used the number counting chart to 100, the lowercase-uppercase alphabet poster, the emotions poster and the site words pocket chart (thank you Amazon!)- and we are only 10 days into virtual school at home!
I also recommend organizing the space to where each child has room for their writing and art utensils, paper, and any other learning activities. Especially for elementary-aged kids, there will be lots of coloring and drawing. You can have something as simple as a plastic school box for the school supplies or one product that I like to recommend is a 3-tier rolling cart found here. These come in lots of different colors and the accessories are great that fit in the top part of the cart or hang on the side for littler ones to help separate crayons, markers, pencils etc. The advantage of having virtual learning is that you can always take the classroom outside on a nice day, especially for those messy art projects, and this cart allows for mobility!
Virtual learning clearly implies using iPads or ChromeBooks or laptops etc. I recommend getting a stand for the device you are using if needed, as well as making sure you have plenty of cords and adaptors and a designated charging station. Also each child should have a comfortable headset. At the end of each day, have your children put their electronic devices in their appropriate place to charge, like the living room or another common area, that you will be able to check each evening that the devices are charging.
Lastly, I highly recommend having a place for finished papers and projects. Just like when kids come home and (hopefully) unpack their backpacks, you want them to have a place where they can drop their papers for you to see and go through. Most likely if you are helping facilitate the at-home learning program, you see the papers anyway, but having each child put away their finished papers will help keep the clutter of school at home to a minimum. Having a clutter-free workspace helps students focus on learning instead of carrying the burden of a mess.
School definitely does not look the same for any one family so ultimately it's about doing what is best for your kids and organizing the space to learn in an environment that you think will help them. And remember to have fun! School at home for my family means a no shoes policy and tank tops are allowed, sometimes eating while listening to the teacher online, fun snacks that maybe are not allowed at school, and taking lots of brain breaks which could be as simple as the kids playing with their toys or puppy for fun!