Let’s face it, our children are growing up in a digital world. They have the option to become digital natives who engage with technology and many forms of social media at a young age. However, there is both good news and bad news about this. The bad news is that kids may be spending too much time on social media networks or in front of screens. The good news is that we can take advantage of technology for learning!
As a parent, you know there are some things you can’t control in your home, but it’s good to take what steps you can to make sure your kids have the best learning environment possible. During these unprecedented times, many students are spending the majority of their school day in a virtual learning environment. While this can be a challenge, there are some steps you can take to make the experience more positive. Here are 10 tips for setting up your kids’ virtual learning space to help them succeed:
1. Ensure a quiet space: If you have several kids learning at the same time, peace and quiet can be tough to come by. To mitigate this, consider creating a separate study space in your home for your kids. Whether it’s a back bedroom or an unused corner in the living room, give your child a designated learning spot. Noise can be distracting, especially when a child is trying to learn. If you have pets or their siblings in the house, it’s best to keep them out of the learning space while your child is in class. You could even try teaching them sign language so they can communicate with you without having to talk loudly!
2. Make sure they have what they need: With in-person learning, students are handed supplies regularly—whether it’s paper, pencils, or even snacks. When your child is learning virtually, they’re responsible for having their own supplies ready to go when class begins. Make sure your kids have the tools they need for a successful school day to avoid any unnecessary interruptions in their routine. Make sure there’s enough room for your kid’s school supplies. They should have easy access to everything they’ll need for class so they don’t have to leave their seat once the class has started. Consider putting a table next to their chair so they can keep their pencil case and notebooks nearby. Keep all school supplies in one area so that students don’t have to search around their houses when they need something—this will help save time and prevent frustration!
If possible, put a bookshelf next to the desk so that all materials are easily accessible and organized. If this isn’t an option because of space constraints in your home, then consider using bins or boxes instead of piles on top of shelves. Take stock of what you already have. You might be surprised by how much your kids can use to set up their own personalized space.
3. Establish set hours: In the past, many parents used after-school activities as a way to help their kids transition from school mode to home mode. Without those activities in these recent years, some families may be tempted to let homework get pushed back later and later into the evening as other priorities arise throughout the day. While this is understandable, if it happens every day, it can throw off both your child’s sleep schedule and their ability to focus on schoolwork in general.
4. Consider the tasks that need to be done: When starting to set up your virtual learning space, think about the different ways your kids will use it. Do they need a comfortable seat for long periods of time? Are they easily distracted and need a cosy spot off the main path? Are they messy and need a place that is easy to clean? Take time to think about what they need in their space, and what you can do to make it great for them.
5. Make sure there are outlets nearby: Your kids will need power for all of their electronic devices, including computers and tablets. Find an outlet within reach so they don’t have to bend over too much or get up from their seat just to plug in their computer charger.
6. Get a desk or table for your child to use: This is important because it helps create separation between work and play areas. A comfortable chair is key, especially for older students who spend many hours at their desks each day. Make sure the chairs are comfortable enough for long periods of sitting; this may mean investing in ergonomic ones for older kids who will be sitting for hours each day on Zoom calls or using virtual learning platforms.
7. Let natural light come in: Make sure there’s plenty of natural light coming through windows (and maybe even add some plants to the space!) during class times so that they aren’t straining their eyes too much while working on assignments or reading through lecture notes.
8. Have two separate spaces: One designated primarily for lessons while another serves as a self-study corner.
9. Set rules: Establish clear rules for behaviour before beginning each session together so both parties know what’s expected from them. No yelling or interrupting others while they speak and no phones allowed during class unless it’s an emergency call.
10. Invest in a good pair of hearing devices to avoid distraction from external noise:
Consider using earbuds and headphones to help keep the noise level down in your home if there are multiple children doing online learning at once—or if you need to work from home while they’re doing their schoolwork online too.
Blix is an online learning platform for children aged 5 to 17 years old. Blix teaches robotics to children and includes a robotics kit with each course, allowing your child to disconnect from the screen and focus on the real world. The instructors at Blix are courteous, knowledgeable in their fields, and can ensure that your child has a good time while learning about robotics.