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If you find yourself suddenly thrown into the situation of home schooling due to the current pandemic, you’re certainly not alone. Especially for those who need to work from home at the same time, there’s no doubt that effective design and processes are crucial to creating a much more enjoyable experience.
As a Designer, I naturally became curious about what exactly it takes to design a home schooling space for success. I immediately decided to enlist the expertise of one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met – and she’s sharing our expert tips with us today.
To give you a brief background, Angela is the daughter of a well-known Interior Designer in Seattle, Washington. In addition to that, she has home schooled for nearly 30 years – with as many as 9 kids at one time – 9 of her own kids. In all, she has taught 18 kids from home (not including her grandchildren). No doubt she knows her stuff.
What does it take to design an effective space for home schooling? Angela stresses that whether you live in a small home or a large home it’s irrelevant. The success of your home school program comes down to your process.
Be cognizant of how your kids like to study. Some kids like to lay on their stomach on their bed or in the grass, some like to be in busy environments and some like to be in quiet areas. Observe and let them do what they need to do as long as they’re still working and staying on task.
Next, choose your work surface. Angela says depending on how many kids you’re teaching, a smaller surface such as a desk works well or a dining table for a larger group. Age also matters. Older kids might prefer to work on their own at a kitchen table, while young ones do well around a coffee table – they’re wiggly by nature and tend to be kinetic learners. They’ll absorb information a lot better if they’re able to move around at the same time.
Angela recommends composition books and one 8×10 whiteboard for each child. Composition books’ sewn design helps them to stand the test of time much better than three-hole punched papers in a binder. An 8×10 white board comes in really handy for kids to jot down their questions and have them answered during a designated “Teacher Time” without creating excess paper clutter in the long run.
Make it Fun: Encourage your children to decorate the tops of their lidded boxes and the covers of their composition books to make them their own. This will give them a sense of pride make them more apt to interact with and show them off – further solidifying their comprehension.
Overall, keep things symmetrical and color coordinated. A simple name label on the front, and embellishments on the top lids lend minimal clutter visible outside of class time.
Keep jars of pencils, markers, scissors, & glue displayed on a serving tray on your bookshelf for easy access.
Teaching tools: Over the years, Angela has used either a large whiteboard or easel to outline the schedule of the day and review expectations each morning. She recommends dividing the day into 1.5 hour lesson plans. Note: it’s better to come in under 1.5 hours than to run over. Kids like to help design and stick to a schedule and they find it satisfying to check off boxes as things are completed.
At the end of the day, be sure to clean everything up. Leave space on your bookshelves for projects in process (to be tackled immediately the following morning). Large projects can be stored for a couple of days under a bed or inside a cabinet. After that, Angela suggests taking a photo of your child with their project to add to their composition book and create a lasting memory for years to come.
Do you feel more equipped now on your home schooling journey? Leave me a comment below and let me know how things are going for you and your kids here in Week #2!