As the 2020 – 21 school year begins to open – for many, the year will be off to a remote instruction / distance learning model. These unchartered grounds can bring confusion, frustration, and anxiety to parents, students, and even teachers. That said, below are a few tips to help you optimize your home for a productive learning environment.
Create a Functional Working Space But Don’t Be Afraid To Consider Multiple Work Zones
Like adults, kids perform better when they are able to change their scenery, take a break, or switch positions. Therefore, you may wish to create a desk or designate a space on the dining table for schooling, but you may also consider creating a mobile work station. For instance, by adding a piece of wood or even a lap desk on top of a rolling cart can achieve a wonderful mobile learning station. For example, your child may wish to start off their day in the living room, but by after lunch, roll their learning environment to the patio for some fresh air. Ideally though, whether your child prefers to work on a static desk or have the flexibility to move around, there are three musts:
(1) Eliminate all clutter and distractions by setting up an organized space. This space, while minimal with objects, should have accessible everything your child will need to utilize in their learning. (i.e. Books, school supplies, art supplies, assignments, computer, etc…).
(2) Optimize their space with your child’s senses in mind. Leveraging our senses to enhance learning and creativity can be a powerful tool.
For example, aromas (i.e. via essential oils) can play a big impact on a child’s mood. Lavender, jasmine, and orange have calming effects, so they may be great to ease your child’s anxiety and/or to calm them down to focus better after break. Lemon, on the other hand, enhances mental and physical task performance, which can be powerful for taking on creative projects or a test. Peppermint and rosemary are great for concentrating and memorizing thus can be helpful when studying. Additionally, cinnamon has been shown to stimulate the brain and heighten attention, making it a winner during study time or classroom discussions.
Moreover, studies suggest 70 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit being the most optimal for productivity. However, I believe every child is different, so you should consider what works best for your child. Some prefer to learn in the cold, whereas others prefer it to be a little warmer.
Additionally, when your child isn’t on their Google Meet or Zoom call, a little “distracting” noise has been shown to help improve studying and learning. In fact, a study done at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that music made up of natural sounds (i.e. water or rainforest sounds) can serve as white noise and allow your brain to flow better, block off distractions, focus more fully, and filter out important material.
(3) Allow your child to individualize their space. What may work for you and I, may not work for a child. Set the foundation of your child’s work space, however, let them add their own personal touch. Perhaps allow them to choose a theme for their desk accessories. Or set-up a bulletin board where they can hang their art work and motivational pieces. Or have them hang a picture that while it doesn’t distract, it does encourage creativity.
Final thought, as we embrace virtual learning, I’d like to leave you two last tips. First, consider both your child’s and your mental and physical health. Virtual learning may not be easy. It may be stressful. Therefore, don’t forget to wake up and “dress for success” – prepare yourself to take on a productive day. Then, get up every so often and go outside, smell the fresh air, and take a break. Additionally, many of us are constantly cooped up in the house with less physical activity than before. Take some time and go for a walk, put on a workout video on YouTube, or maybe workout in your home gym. In other words, get up and get moving. Eat healthy – with your mental and physical health in mind.
Second, create routine. These times are far from routine. That said, help yourself and your child get up at the same time as you would have if school was in person. Eat breakfast as you would do. Go to “virtual” class and take breaks as usual (if possible). Take a lunch. “Come home” and maybe unwind with an “after school snack” and show. Then have homework time, dinner time, and get ready for bed as usual. The more routine you can create, the better this will be for yourself, your child, and their education.
I wish you all the best of luck in this new environment!
As always, if you need any help listing or buying a home, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Want to view available listings?SEARCH THE FULL MLS HERE.