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Creating a Learning Space

Have plenty of space for each child.
Have plenty of space for each child.
Emily L. Goodman

Creating a space for your child to learn is a very important part of the virtual schooling process. Sure, one of the advantages to virtual schooling is that you can go to school in your pajamas, learn from the couch, or never have to leave your bedroom if you don’t want to—but that’s often not the way it really works. For many children, “learning from the couch” means that they’re going to quickly become bored and restless, or that they’ll more easily go off-task. If you have multiple student-age children or younger children at home, they may become distracted by one another.

Obviously, if you have an only child and your house is a quiet, peaceful place that encourages learning wherever they go…well…good for you. However, a parent homeschooling multiple children (or virtual schooling multiple children) will quickly learn that sometimes, it’s necessary to separate the children in order to actually accomplish anything.

Designing a learning space doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t take brightly colored posters on the walls (though those are a bonus) or a comfortable, ergonomic seat. The first requirement is simply this: a quiet space with few or no distractions, where the student knows that learning is intended to take place.

This might be a desk in a bedroom, a clear space in the living room, or the kitchen table—or, if you have multiple students, all three! You can create a learning space anywhere that works for you and your students—but it is important to have one before the inevitable day comes when you simply need to separate your children in order to get through the day’s work.

Make sure each child has a place to go. If you’re used to conducting lessons from the middle of the living room and that works for you, good for you! However, in a virtual school setting, each child will be working on different activities at different times. They will have class connect sessions that are spread over different times throughout the day (and that they’ll need to be able to listen to without a great deal of background distraction). Sometimes, they’ll just need to be separate from one another to get work done!

Think about a traditional classroom. When the noise level is high and there’s a lot going on, not much work gets accomplished (unless it’s a group assignment…and even then, sometimes, it’s questionable). In order to take a test or listen to the teacher explain a new concept, the students must be quiet and focused. The same is true of a virtual classroom—and it’s very hard to be quiet and focused when their little brother is running through the room banging on a pot drum, or their big sister is having a meltdown over the state of her hair.

Having a quiet place to learn means that your student will likely be more engaged and focused. This won’t necessarily be true all the time, but it will be true often enough that you’ll be glad you put away the space.

Make sure that you’re available to all of your children. This might mean having their learning spaces within a small enough area that you can hear all of them, or it might mean that you spend plenty of time walking through the house and checking in on each of them. Many students need a little bit of extra incentive to stay on-task, especially once they get past the first couple of lessons each day or into one that they don’t particularly care for. This is particularly true of virtual schooled students, who have the internet at their fingertips and can easily wander off-task. Knowing that mom can walk by at any time, however, significantly reduces the amount of time that they’re likely to spend surfing random websites when they’re supposed to be getting work done.

Have school supplies readily available. If your student has to go looking for a pen or a notebook every time they have to do an assignment, it will significantly slow down the learning process. On the other hand, knowing exactly where their materials are will make it easier to get through the day.

Have pens, paper, and any other supplies readily accessible and in known locations. A few minutes at the end of each school day will make it easy to keep these put away.

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