If you’re home-schooling your kids this semester, making a designated learning space for your kids is going to be important so they can focus, feel inspired to learn, and don’t feel too alienated and away from their friends. There are a couple of important things you can do to set your kids (and you!) up for success. Keeping your business in motion while juggling childcare and distance learning is going to be challenging, but with a few tweaks of your teaching space, a positive attitude, and a well-balanced work and play schedule made for your kids, this whole at-home teaching thing can be a breeze!
Start off your day of teaching with a morning huddle. Letting your kids know what they can expect each day, and how much work they’ll be required to finish, will also allow you to allocate time to your schedule so that you also have some time to respond to return calls and respond to emails with your own clients. You’re not alone in being new to the whole home-schooling thing, so just be sure to communicate clearly with clients and colleagues that you are still available to them, but that unless it’s an emergency, you will call them back during designated times.
You’ll most definitely be encouraging your kids to focus as much as possible, so make it easy for them to do so. Find the best place in your home for as little distractions as possible. Near the front door, where you might have a lot of foot traffic, or in your kid's playroom with their favorite toys hanging around, might not be the optimal spot to ensure a focused academic workspace. If you have a basement or spare room that you can turn into a mini-classroom, this will help your kids take their course load and lessons a lot more seriously.
Create a comfy reading nook, get a bean bag chair, or make a pillow pile to aim for a different kind of space in your home that your kid would be comfortable learning in. Designate the comfy space for reading time or storytime. Try utilizing another open space for hands-on projects or art activities. Think big table or space that you won’t mind getting a little messy. Having different areas in your house for different lessons will help your kids feel like they’re ‘changing classes’ and will help them differentiate between lessons.
Mixing up the learning space that you teach your kids in will allow your kid to feel stimulated, have the chance for a varying learning space, and will keep them interested. Think about when you were 12 years old, or even younger. Do you think you could have stayed completely engaged if you sat in the same spot in the same room, with the same stimulants for multiple hours of the day? I don’t think so! Keeping it interesting for your kids is what will help you all feel sane.
Another important thing that will help keep your kids engaged is allowing them to be kids and get outside for some fresh air. Kids love recess and need that time to get out their extra energy, and will allow you to take a breather too.
Life looks a lot different than usual for all of us. But if we prep, stay organized, and stay positive, we can help our kids-and ourselves-get through this. Get a smartwatch, set up reminders to drink water, eat healthy meals, and make sure to take breaks. To keep your mental health up, and your stress levels down, you need to have more breaks built into your day- especially right now while you’re juggling also being an at-home teacher to your kids. This isn’t business as usual, so stop holding yourself to those standards. If anything, 2020 has taught us is that it’s not a balance as much as a blend to keep moving forward.