Before COVID-19, homeschooling in America was not very common, with only about 3% of American households participating in at-home schooling. However, during the academic year 2020 through 2021, the rate picked up to 5.4% in the first half of the year and jumped even further to 11.1% in the second half of the year.
If you have found yourself in one of these families intending to take a temporary position and continue it throughout the 2021 and 2022 academic years, you should be readying your space for homeschooling. Many school districts are still seeing a rise in homeschooling due to the Delta variant contagion. Perhaps this is the year you want to try homeschooling for the first time for your family’s safety or for the numerous other reasons that it has always been popular.
Setting up a productive homeschooling layout for your children is one of the best ways you can start this journey. There have been all kinds of studies on the effectiveness of setting boundaries between work and personal life. These carry over to your child’s experience with their academic life. Setting boundaries can help to reduce stress and often equates to less burnout. Setting up a space for your children will help them transition into and out of an academic setting and their personal lives.
If you are wondering how to do this, we give you our best tips and tricks for creating a great homeschooling space all right here. From the inclusion of the right furniture to the design of the best space, you will be ready for it all.
Preparing a Homeschooling Space
There are many aspects to creating an effective space for your homeschooling classes. Our first piece of advice is to have an open mind. As you work through each of these tips, don’t confine yourself to how a typical room should look or fixate on only one idea on your Pinterest board. Remember, you aren’t the only one who will use the space!
Don’t Try to Mimic a Classroom
In keeping with our first piece of advice, don’t worry about trying to mimic a classroom. Homeschooling is much different than a typical class would be in a public or private school. You are bound to have far fewer students, and the kind of space you have in your home will be much different. Instead, think about a setup that will encourage teamwork and individual concentration and the ability to focus on the lessons at hand.
One of the most important parts of a good homeschooling classroom is the furniture you use. Getting the right type of work surface encourages better concentration and efficiency. Think of it in a similar way to how you might set up a home office. It is a space you want to feel personalized to yourself but not so laid back that you could easily justify watching television or taking a nap.
The type of work you want to do with your kids will also change the furniture you use. For example, if you want them to consistently work together cohesively, you might get a large desk or table they can all sit at and yet still spread out. On the other hand, if you want them to each have their own space they can work at and personalize, find individual desks small enough to fit into the classroom.
Keep It Comfortable
Comfort will be a top priority in any classroom since you encourage your kids to come into the space and enjoy their time there. If their chairs are uncomfortable, it can lead to fidgety students with much shorter attention spans.
Technology Has Its Place
It is no longer the days of a classroom like Little House on the Prairie where ledgers and reading books can cut it. Technology advances every year, and part of your job should be teaching your kids how to use it effectively. Although you might not have the cash to splash out on a SmartBoard, consider tablets for research purposes or laptops for assignments specifically meant for classroom use.
Don’t Forget WiFi
An excellent WiFi connection is handy in a modern classroom. However, if you think you will have more than two people using WiFi simultaneously, particularly if they are trying to stream anything, you might want to look into getting more broadband from your wireless company. Also, slow WiFi will often mean slower classes.
Cut Clutter and Distractions
It can be easy, particularly in a classroom for young students, to end up with all kinds of clutter. For a distraction-free environment, keep the space clean and organized. In addition, keeping noise and visual stimulation caused by clutter or mess to a minimum can help students focus, even after playtime. In other words, keep the classroom space simple.
One of the best ways to clear your classroom space of clutter is to use self-storage. It functions as a solution to create more space and make the entire space feel clean and more open. Keep daily things accessible and place the tools and toys only needed a couple of times each month in storage. When the school year is over, or your children are ready to go back to public or private school in person, you can retrieve your items and empty out your unit.
Just because a space is simple doesn’t mean that it can’t be visually pleasing. Consider a theme for your room, or maybe have yearly or biannual themes lined up to encourage participation in the space. The colors should be pleasing and calming, so the students don’t feel like they encourage a more riotous behavior. Everyone is attracted to beautiful or aesthetically pleasing things. Making your classroom one of these will encourage students to enjoy their time surrounded by those four walls.
You can also encourage participation with the homeschooling space by painting one wall with chalkboard paint. You could feature a wall that serves as a homemade art gallery to display all kinds of academic work or other creations. Just remember to keep it uncluttered.
Don’t Always Stay Inside
Homeschooling presents you with the opportunity to take your students on all kinds of stimulating field trips. However, the interior space shouldn’t be the only focus of all your lessons. Instead, engage with the outdoors during appropriate lessons. You could even consider creating a makeshift outdoor classroom using plants and patio furniture. There is no reason school can’t be outside on beautiful days. In the end, it can encourage a healthier perspective towards learning and engagement with nature.
Consult Your Kids
You aren’t the only one using the space! Consider the students that will be using it day in and day out with you. Do they have favorite colors or want to try their hand at a wall mural? Would they prefer working at larger tables together or have individual spaces they could personalize? What about that outdoor classroom would they enjoy? Consulting your kids helps you engage them with the classroom from the beginning and makes them more invested in its creation and continuation.
As Simple as A-B-C
Our best piece of advice is to let go of the worry that your space has to be perfect. Creativity, change, and a growing level of experience will help you to shape a homeschooling environment that both you and your kids will love. Treat it like a work in progress, and from day 1, it will only get better.