July 30, 2018
As home-schooling becomes a more frequent choice for parents of school-age children, it can be difficult to decide if it’s the right move for your child.
What’s more, though, is that the difficulties don’t end with the decision, as all the preparations involved with making this change can be just as stressful.
Luckily, setting up a home-school classroom can be simple enough if you remember a few solid principles – and once you have a plan in place, it can even be a fun project.
Read on for some tips for getting started.
Choose an appropriate space
Finding the space for your child to learn can be difficult, but it’s also just as important as what goes into the space itself.
A home-school classroom isn’t as simple as setting up a desk in your child’s bedroom and calling it a day.
It likely would afford you enough space – but more importantly, it could negatively affect your child’s sleep and productivity if the border between schoolwork and home life is completely smudged.
The space should be large enough to fit several distinct areas within it (more on that in a minute), and ideally it should be used only for home-schooling purposes.
This is both helpful for your child, keeping him or her in a school mindset, and for you, as using an existing living space for schooling can get tiresome.
Break it into stations
Just like with the home-school classroom as a whole, it helps to further divide the space to use different sections for different purposes.
The room doesn’t have to be fully Montessori-style (unless you want it to be), but it helps kids to compartmentalise if there are dedicated spaces for different subjects.
Each section should have a distinctly different feel – a reading nook should be well-lit and comfortable, a social studies area might include maps and timelines for reference, and a visual arts space should be ready for anything.
Every subject may not need its own section, but having a variety of areas within the classroom allows you to distinctly move between subjects – and helps to stave off monotony for both you and your child.
Leave room for activities
Children need room to run around, especially when they’re younger.
That means that if your home-school space lacks room for some sort of physical activity, your children might end up being distracted and restless.
You can certainly put lessons on pause to bring them outside – but exercising in the classroom might be a positive thing in itself, as exercise seems to benefit children during lessons that involve repetition, memorisation, and review.
Depending on available space, you might put together a jungle gym for them to climb on or a mini trampoline for jumping.
Get creative with your space to make sure your classroom allows everyone to stretch their legs a bit.
Keep a space for yourself – and be prepared as a teacher
Lastly, as the teacher, you should have at least some space within the classroom such that you can participate in the learning process when you need to – and be hands-off when you don’t.
In other words, it’s important to let your child be autonomous and fail at times with the subjects they’re trying to tackle – but you should also be there to help them ask and answer deeper questions about what they’re learning.
Leaving space for a desk or other area for yourself also allows you to keep things like lesson plans, keys, and textbooks handy – things that your child won’t need, but that you’ll want nearby.
Home-schooling your child can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life, but putting together the classroom doesn’t have to be as daunting.
So long as you stick to a few solid principles and have fun with it while keeping your child’s needs in mind, you’ll create the perfect environment for your child to learn and succeed in.