How to Create a Proper Learning Space In Your Home For Your Kids
Raise your hand if you just became a teacher overnight? NO BIG DEAL RIGHT??? Schools in Washington state have been officially closed for the remainder of the 2020 school year and all schools will be resorting to virtual learning. With so many sudden changes in our world and so many things being up in the air, trying to figure out ALL OF THE THINGS can be extremely overwhelming.
So first things first. Take a moment, breathe..... and then remember all of the things you are grateful for in this moment. We will all get through this together..... but also apart. Take things one step at a time. Remember that this is a unique, temporary situation for your school and the students. Know that there are going to be some bumps in the road and teachers will be forced to be more understanding than usual.
As a mom of a fourth grader and a seventh grader I also became a teacher over night! I have zero experience as a school teacher so I decided to do some research on how to best accommodate the kiddos and their school work while they are at home. I have come up with some steps to create a proper learning space for your students while they are continuing their education at home.
Why does a learning space matter? So before I walk you through creating your learning space, lets talk about why learning spaces matter. You might be wondering why a child just can’t simply hop on the family couch and learn there. According to Waterford.org, sitting on the couch "might not be the best way for a child to learn. Without a specific learning spot, young learners can be easily distracted, they don’t have supplies they need nearby, and there’s no sense of consistency. The family couch, then, as comfortable and easy as it seems, may not be the right option for young children needing to learn about routines, early education, and self-regulation."
Find an area in your home that you want to dedicate to your child's learning. So it’s time to convert your dining room, playroom, portion of your kids room, spare bedroom, or kitchen table into a learning area. Many households do not have the luxury of a whole extra room just for learning. But don’t worry. If you are stressing about where to create a space, know there are lots of options and easy ways you can do this. You just might need to think outside the box a bit.
Think about creating consistency. You can dedicate a corner of a room, but you can also create learning spaces that are more flexible. For example, pull out the same foldable chairs and tables when it is time to learn, or create a learning box you can bring to the kitchen table each day. Your learning space could even be a specific lap desk in the living room.The key is to create a specific routine and spot for your child’s learning. At the end of the day, it is most important to show your child that you value learning enough to give it a consistent place in your home.
Gather up all the school supplies your child needs (pens, pencils, laptops, books, and homework assignments). Get or use a calendar you already have at the house to use for school assignments. Hang it in your new school work area so it is visible to help keep everyone on the same page. I like these dry erase calendar options from Pottery Barn!
A dedicated home learning space can help develop your child’s creativity, sharpen their focus, and increase their motivation to read and learn. With just a little bit of money and creativity you can easily create an impactful learning space!
Declutter your designated space. After designating your learning space, focus on removing distractions. Too many toys, books, and supplies can crowd a space and create a feeling of chaos. Create an orderly environment by decluttering the area. You can methodically work your way through your space over a few days or a week (or whatever) to make it exactly what you want! You just need to stay on it once you’ve started!
This space created by children of the tribe was put together with some plywood and cinder blocks and they still managed to pull it together aesthetically with the Mid Century Modern white molded chair and cool triangle design shelves!
Re-purpose and re-use what you have and be creative with paint! Add a pop of color to some bookshelves and or tables. And don't forget that an inexpensive rug can complete a theme and freshen up a tired room! Get at least one piece of storage furniture (or dedicate a closet) where you can “shut away” the stuff. Roll your posters, diagrams, maps, and pictures into tubes and place them in a basket . This is a great way to keep your work in tact while also saving space.
This space by Classy Clutter is a great example of how to use vintage or second hand furniture for your learning space. She bought these at a local thrift store for only $8 a piece. With the help of some black and kelly green spray paint and of course gold legs these desk were revamped in no time.
Make your learning space comfortable for your child.
Make it fun and encourage your child to participate in the process. Make the space personal to your child. Be sure the space plays into their interests and encourages your child to learn!What motivates them? What sparks their interest? What do they love learning about? When you create a learning space in your home, look for ways to create inspiring, creative, and visual places for a child’s mind to wander. For example, hang small pictures, posters, family photos, and other things that create a positive place where a child feels inspired, safe, and free. Ensure any word posters have positive reinforcement statements and shy away from hanging up rules. Think about posters that a child will be excited to explore, like world maps, animal posters, or whatever else they might be interested in learning and seeing.
Pottery Barn does it again! Check out these magnetic picture frames.
Organize a Well-Lit Area. Believe it or not, lighting is an important factor in effective learning spaces. In fact, Christopher Alexander, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley, stated that low levels of light in classrooms affected students’ ability to regulate their natural cycle of sleep and attention. Another study found that the more natural light (or lighting that mimicked natural sunlight), the greater the students’ school attendance, achievement, and overall health.
From these studies we learn that lighting can affect a child’s energy, attention, and achievement levels.
If you do not have windows or good lighting in the space where your child learns, you can also use mirrors! Place a mirror across from a window to reflect more of the natural light into the room.
Amazing natural light in this space by Home Bunch.
Mirror by Pottery Barn Teen and light by Ikea.
Gather Books and Leave Room for Growth Have books available and leave room for more books to collect! Again, according waterford.org, Research shows that children in homes where books are readily available benefit—in terms of improved test scores—from their mere presence. And this is especially true in low-education and low-income homes. The research even shows that no matter how many books your home already has, every addition benefits your children even more.
I will leave you with a few more images that have inspired me during my research! We would love to help if you have an idea in mind! Click here to contact us!
- XOXO Form & Function Team
Kathy Corbet Interiors