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Tips from Homeschool Moms Who Happen to Be Librarians
Rebecca Lloyd, Deidrah Reeves & Lorrie Rodgers
Creating a Learning Space in Your Home
If you are not one of those families that has the luxury of a whole extra room designated for learning, you can still create learning spaces throughout your house!
Look for ways to create workstations with limited distractions that are conducive to each student’s own style of learning. Maybe that means letting them use a speaker, to play white noise or music while they work. For another, it might mean setting up a card table in spot away from other family members for total silence.
Most children don’t enjoy sitting in a chair all day, so think about providing other options like beanbags or yoga balls. The kitchen table can easily be converted into a learning space, enabling students to spread out their work out.
Lighting makes a difference! Did you know that it affects energy, attention, and achievement levels? Try to incorporate lots of natural or warm light into the environment. Plan for cloudy days by incorporating a warm desk lamp to help prevent sleepiness.
Designate one spot for school supplies. A well-stocked supply station will prevent kids from getting distracted by constantly searching for items. Create a personalized pencil box or container with frequently used items, like pencils, highlighters, sticky notes and binders for each student. This will travel with them throughout the house and will have all the tools they need for the day.
Keeping a variety of books in the house is a valuable tool for success! Your local library is here to help. Call and speak with a Librarian who can assist you in selecting fiction and nonfiction books that will engage your child. You’ll even discover other educational resources your library provides to support their learning!
Don’t forget to create an area for your teaching supplies. You’ll want to make sure to have designated spots for completed student work and upcoming assignments. Use sticky notes and labels to help stay organized. Keeping printed lessons and activities sorted by subject and student will help you stay on track.
These days, most of your students' work will be done with a computer. It’s vital to have a plan on how to save and back up all of their hard work! Setting up storage on the Cloud is a great way to ensure that work never gets lost due to a faulty flash drive or a computer malfunction.
Be sure to create an end of the day clean up routine! Signify the end of the school day, by picking up the work together, and putting it in its designated place. This will also help your school space stay organized, without taking over your home.
Tools that help with engagement
Set clear, daily objectives to make everyone's day go smoother. You could use a white board with dry erase markers to list subject goals or daily agendas. If you know your child focuses better during a certain part of the day (before or after lunch) dedicate those times for subjects that are more difficult for them, or require more focus. The bottom line is that planning out your day will help to ensure that you accomplish what needs to be done.
Nobody likes working for extended time without breaks, so make sure to incorporate them into your routine.
Using a timer to create 5 minute “brain breaks” as a transition between each subject is very helpful. The timer gives students a tangible measurement of time, and wards off meltdowns.
A big benefit to home learning, is that it’s very conducive to creating a schedule that meets your child’s individual needs.
Homeschool parents often use outdoor spaces as an extension of the classroom to engage their students. This could be doing research on animal habitats then taking a walk on the Ma and Pa trail to spot them in the wild. No matter what age your student is, it’s important for them to investigate the world and know that learning is everywhere.
Look for ways to have your child engage in safe social interaction. Research virtual book clubs or art classes to find something suitable for your student.