Coronavirus has taken the school day home, so establishing where the home learning will take place is important. And when you're looking at an entire school year at home, it can be a challenge.
Sitting at the kitchen table doing multiplication tables is not the most conducive learning place. Family is milling around and phones are ringing. So how is a homeschooled or remote learning child supposed to concentrate? A designated learning area with the right equipment needs to be established.
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Set up a workspace that belongs only to your child. If you can avoid it, don't choose the kitchen table. A separate learning space sets the tone for your child. When she sits down, it's time to work and only work.
If you have several children or limited space, try to stagger the time each child uses the area. You can also set up a screen to separate your child from the main house or their siblings. That lets you set up a virtual learning space with some privacy. A screen will also help if you are forced to use the living room or dining room.
To help make this work, give your child and each of her siblings a pair of noise-canceling headphones for the online classes.
If sharing a space, have a container to put each child's school supplies in and put the container away when not in use. Each child should have a container. Doing this keeps vital supplies from being strewn around the house and saves the time it takes from trying to find that book or pencil.
Consider sharing your office for your child's remote learning space if you have a home office. You're probably in quiet mode. And if your child is doing Zoom lessons with teachers, headphones will come in handy. The quiet will help her learn and contribute to her well-being.
By sharing an office, you'll be able to monitor your child's studies. This is particularly important if you have little ones.
Consider also: Consider What a Remote School Year Means for Your Job
Avoid the Bedroom
A child's bedroom is not a good learning environment. With toys around, there are too many distractions. A bedroom is for playing and resting. It's not for learning time, and it doesn't set the tone for concentrating on schoolwork. A child should enter work mode when they sit down to study, and a bedroom doesn't provide that
Even if lack of space forces you to use the child's bedroom, don't let them use the bed. The bed is for sleeping. You don't want to make it too comfortable for them when they work. They might fall asleep doing schoolwork or not sleep well at night due to the mixed uses.
Equipment Costs Add Up
Online classes take equipment, and that adds up. Some schools will provide a laptop or iPad, but prepare yourself for an investment if they don't. You'll need to have:
- Laptop or iPad: under $800
- Webcam: for $25 and up
- Good lighting
- Internet connection: $50 or more a month depending on the service provider
- Laptop stand or desk: $50 or more
- Headphones/earbuds: $15 or more
- Noise-canceling headphones: $15 or more
Plus, you'll need various school supplies costing you another $50, and if you want to purchase a screen to separate your child from the household, that'll probably cost you around $100.
You're looking at a little over $1,000 to set up a home learning space. Unfortunately, the pandemic has cost everyone in more ways than one.
If you can't afford the extra cost of homeschooling, contact your school district. Many schools will supply laptops or iPads. Some will also offer a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for internet access if you can't afford a plan.