Let’s face it—learning at home is HARD, no matter how old you are or how capable your parent is (my boys have labeled me, an award-winning educator as “the worst teacher ever”. Sigh.). And while many factors aren’t under our control (thanks, pandemic), we can make a choice to look on the bright side of every day, even when we get kicked out of Zoom meetings on a daily basis. Now that we are three weeks into remote learning (with no end in sight!), I’m confident sharing these tried-and-true tips on How to Create a Positive Learning Environment at Home:
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Make it Comfortable
While you might not want your child to be so cozy on the couch that he/she falls asleep mid-lesson, you do want to create a comfortable place for your child to learn. I let my boys take the reins on a chair hunt and they quickly chose these soft and stylish blue velvet chairs. They loved the material and that their chairs could spin around while I loved that the chair height was adjustable and because of their mid-century modern style.
When choosing a chair, make sure it is comfortable for your kiddo (after all, they have left booty cushioning than we do!) and is the right height for their work space. We found so many great—and IN STOCK—options at World Market so be sure to check there if your typical go-to’s are sold out.
Make it Colorful
Creating a positive learning environment at home can be daunting, so I encourage you to shop your house for colorful items that will create an uplifting learning area. Melissa and Doug have great toys that are not only educational but also pretty, such as this clock, and you can never go wrong with having an abacus or globe nearby.
Also, don’t overlook how to use Legos not just during break times but also during math to help with those tricky, tricky fractions. By simply sorting them by color and putting them in clear bins on an open shelf, you have a colorful display that promotes creative thinking.
We added color to our space by designing a color-block wall within my boys’ learning area. It was a fun project we completed during quarantine and the blue choice was a great one, not just because our house is filled with boys but also because it is a soothing color.
Make it Useful
There’s no need to put up a massive bulletin board, but it is helpful to have a memo board up somewhere to display important things such as daily schedules, QR codes, completed work, and of course notes of encouragement from family and friends.
Having a large chalkboard or white board is also helpful when tackling tricky topics such as letter reversals or division. Our learning space has a massive blue chalkboard wall which comes in very handy—it’s usually covered with math problems, difficult-to-spell words, and silly drawings by the end of the day.
Keep It Clean
As a Virgo I know that I might be a little too obsessed with organization, but my ears of experience as a mom and teacher have showed me that kids are more focused when in a calm, clean environment.
Keep as little as possible on your child’s workspace as possible, limiting it to devices, writing utensils, white board, water bottle, and maybe a fun plant or paper organizer and keeping other school supplies elsewhere.
As for the overflow items, I recommend keeping them in an open bin. That way you aren’t constantly yelling at your child to straighten up and he/she can easily see all of the contents without dumping everything out on the floor.
Keep It Playful
Being away from friends and learning in a completely different way can be INCREDIBLY stressful and overwhelming. So maintain a positive learning environment at home by encouraging play. Keep a few spiky balls nearby to fidget with during lessons and encourage hands-on learning during breaks. Our favorite? Legos, of course.
Another playful way to create a positive learning environment at home is by investing in a light box and changing up messages—silly, inspiring, and everything in-between—daily. These positive LED signs (Be Happy or Good Vibes) are a great option, too.
Lastly, adding some extra special pens or pencils can definitely turn the day around.
It is hard for anyone to sit still ALL DAY LONG so encourage your child to use a few different spots within the general learning area. A cozy reading nook in a teepee with pillows is always a great option for reading since it lets you hide from the distractions in your home. We also utilize these large, plush pillows to create a cozy and comfortable spot just about anywhere.
Lastly, take a tip from the classroom and change up your child’s seating occasionally. Let them sit on a weighted exercise ball, a wobble stool, etc. Just be sure to monitor your child when they are using one of these more “active” chairs so they are focused on remote learning.
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