Online students love the comfort and convenience of learning at home (or in the car or at the corner café!).
However, one challenge many students encounter when switching from a traditional school to an online school is a lack of personal space in the home to learn. Parents can help by dedicating a consistent area in the house for schoolwork. This creates a focus on learning and helps your child feel like he has responsibilities for daily learning.
Because the home is a different environment, designed more for living, a few adjustments are necessary to improve your at-home online student’s success and comfort.
Find a distraction-free zone. Your student can’t focus sitting in the middle of traffic, nor can he in the busyness of a daily household. Find a quiet corner, perhaps in a bedroom, office, or living room that is designated as “the learning spot.” Ensure this area has excellent light, a comfortable temperature, and the least noise as possible. Remove distractions like clutter, cell phones, and television. Consider installing monitoring software.
Make the best use of space. Of course, a desk for your student will remind him of traditional school and could be a good option for your learning spot. However, if you don’t have room, consider making desks out of tables, counters, or shelves. Garage sales can also offer cheap desks or convertible work stations. Make sure your student has space for proper posture!
Create a personalized spot. Make your student’s area unique to his personality. Put up shelves for his items. Put school supplies, like calculators, paper, writing utensils, and so forth in easy reach. Include a bulletin board or whiteboard if possible (or try a digital version.) Put up pictures. Make it a colorful, fun space where your student will want to learn!
Remember lessons can be mobile. One of the benefits of online learning is being able to take school anywhere. While it’s good to have a designated spot at home for learning, keep in mind the flexibility of at-home learning means your student can do lessons anywhere. If it’s a nice day, do schoolwork on the patio. If you’re on vacation or have errands to run, do lessons in the car.
Encourage learning beyond lessons. In an online school, your student can make his own schedules, meaning schoolwork can be completed faster than in traditional school. Allowing for shorter school days, online school gives your student more time to grow and develop his talents! Foster further learning with sports, music, art, library visits, field trips, clubs and groups, or community activities.
Show a positive parental attitude. Nothing fosters learning more than a positive ambiance. This is reflected in attitudes. Nurturing an environment of true growth requires daily parental help and encouragement. Remember you are also your child’s teacher. Reflect positivity. Your child will model his behavior after you!
Online school is wonderfully free from traditional school limitations. Take advantage of the flexibility it affords by thinking beyond the average school classroom set-up. Construct an at-home environment that builds up your student’s academic abilities, interests, and goals. Make it personal. Make it safe and comfortable. Make it your student’s.
Learning never stops, so it’s a good thing online schools never close!
What advice do you have for creating an at-home learning environment?