How To Create an Effective Home Learning Space
Never before has it been more important to understand how to create an effective home learning space. Remember just a few weeks ago when our students needed an efficient place to do their homework. Well, now ALL of their work is “homework,” so it is more important than ever to provide them with the best possible learning space.
You do not have to spend hours watching HGTV or scanning Pinterest, thousands of dollars at IKEA, or hiring a professional designer to know how to create an effective home learning space. In fact, you don’t even need to have a dedicated room. All you need is the proper atmosphere and attributes, good lighting, and convenient supplies.
Atmosphere and Attributes:
First, when considering how to create an effective home learning space, consider your child. Are they easily distracted by noise or visual stimuli? Are they able to work independently for periods of time or will they require accountability? Do they need wifi or a large workspace for papers and supplies?
Distractibility: If your child is easily distracted, you will need to find a more serene workspace. This doesn’t have to be a separate room. A corner of a quiet space, perhaps the dining room, will work just fine. Place the table or desk facing the wall. You can put schedules or positive quotes on the wall to make the space more personal. If noise is a factor, a pair of noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can help. You can even play music softly in the background to drown out environmental noise. Just be intentional with your choices. You don’t want your child to engage with the music instead of their studies and you don’t want the music to make the child sleepy. For more information about background noise and learning check out this post https://effectiviology.com/benefits-of-music-and-background-noise/
Independent or Accountability
Older children may be able to work independently for long periods of time. Younger students may need more frequent breaks and some accountability. Especially while establishing the new environment and schedule, checking in or just peeking in to make sure your child is on task and has everything they need is a good idea. It is a good idea to remove distractions from the learning area. TV, video games, social media and text messages can interrupt your student’s focus. Try to choose an area separate from TV and Video games. Unless your child truly needs their cell phone for access to the internet, have them leave it outside the study area. If they have to have their phone, turn off notifications for text messages or other social media. Remember having specific, written expectations can reduce conflict. Have a timer (or clock) to define start and end times of study sessions.
It is almost a given that the work space will need reliable wifi. Nothing is more distracting or frustrating (except losing your Netflix/Hulu connection) that losing your wifi connection in the middle of a lesson. You will also want to provide adequate work space. The first thing I found when I started working solely from home was that the beautiful desk I purchased when I set up my office 10 years ago, was not at all effective for what I needed now. That super cool keyboard drawer wasn’t really a big help for my laptop. A comfortable chair is also a must when creating an effective home learning space. You can’t focus if you are uncomfortable but you don’t want your child drifting off to sleep either.
Good lighting, natural light if possible is another consideration when deciding how to create an effective home learning environment. There have been many studies about the impact of light on student’s performance. All agree that natural light is best and that if that is not possible, blue light given off by LED lights is the next best thing. There are several good articles about the impact of light on learning. I found this one to be both informative and practical. https://www.alconlighting.com/blog/newsfeed/does-lighting-in-the-classroom-affect-student-concentration/
When considering how to create an effective home learning space, make sure to provide effective lighting.
Having convenient access to all of your supplies is essential when considering how to create an effective home learning space. When trying to establish productive home learning work habits and schedules, you want to limit interruptions. Each time your student needs to get up to find a pencil, pen, ruler or other needed tool, their concentration is broken. Have your student make a list of items they need. Also, have them keep a piece of paper handy so that they can make a list of additional items. If you are creating a home learning space that will be doing double or even triple duty, you will want to have these supplies in a crate or box. That will allow for quick set up and take down of the learning space. Organization will be VERY important. You will want to have a case for pencils and pens, a folder for paper, a plastic container with a lid for paper clips, and a charger storage system. There are several available on Amazon for as little as $10 and as much as $30. The ability to put the chargers away in a case means your student will know where it is when they need it. Avoid dumping all the materials into a bag or crate. You want set up and take down to be easy and efficient. I would also recommend having a timer. Even older students can benefit from using a timer to define their work periods. Think of it as the home equivalent of the school bell signaling the beginning and end of a class period.
With some careful and thoughtful planning you can create an effective home learning environment so that your student can be productive and successful.