Whether virtual, online or homeschool, the 20-21 school year will, without a doubt contain some kind of home component. Before you go out and buy everything on your list from your Pinterest research, let’s look at what kids (and parents) really need. (Take a deep breath and relax, it’s far simpler than all the hype.)
Your home setup should coincide with your family. Some parents work from home while some kids will have pod teachers come to their house. The space in your house and the ages of the children taking classes is all something to consider. So let’s start.
- Desks. My mother always had high hopes that I would go to my room, do my homework and emerge from a neat and orderly space where algebra had been solved and essays brought my teachers to tears of inspiration. (Cue the choir of angels singing and the wind whipping through my hair.) Unfortunately for her, it never happened. I preferred to sit on the floor (of any room) where I could hear the life of my house and family around me. I spread papers on the floor or organizing by piles. If your child works well at a desk, do a happy dance and dust off the one in your family’s garage to put in their room. Please consider, lots of kids work better at the kitchen table interacting with siblings or spread out on the living room floor.
2. Maps and wall hangings. While I love a good map just as much as the next nerd, I preferred them in books as a kid. As an adult, I love them online. In the current state of the world, borders and country names change often. Hanging a map up on the wall of your new home classroom might give it a good feel, but you might be displaying misinformation. Something to consider.
3. Less classroom. More office. If you are a work from home parent, then your kids may see you working (or hear your computer keys tapping from behind your closed office door.) Since we can’t recreate a classroom, why try? Instead, if your “job” can be from your office, why not create your child’s own “office” or personal workspace. Approaching it from a place where you lead by example might turn the school year from drudgery to adventure.
4. Headphones. If you live in a small house or your child has trouble focusing, a set of headphones that plug into their laptop or tablet can be a game changer. Skip ear buds if the concept is new to your child. Splurge on a comfy, padded set of headphones. It may save everyone’s sanity.
5. Don’t forget that big classroom outside your window. Before the weather turns to cold and sleet in much of the country, head outside. Have a deck or patio? Make that the reading area. Better yet, take a break from work and school and eat lunch together outside. Take a break and have a 10 minute dance party. Move. Laugh. Shake off the confinement. Sitting in front of a computer all day isn’t good for any of us. Take in the sunshine (or the summer/autumn rain) while we can.