Justine writes from her home located in Michigan and is familiar with working and learning from home.
Homeschooling and Working From Home Are on the Rise
Recently, homeschooling programs are seeing a great increase in enrollment. Maybe you are homeschooling by choice because you feel it's what's best for your child, or maybe you find that regular brick-and-mortar schools are just not a good fit or not safe enough. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some U.S. states chose to do full-time online school for students, and other states started offering a hybrid option in which students go to school just a few days a week with alternating schedules.
More businesses have gone virtual as well, letting their employees work from home in some cases. Finding room at home for both school and work is a challenge. Whatever the circumstances are, this article can help you create the perfect learning space on any budget and in any size home.
Where to Create Your Space
Here are a few things to consider before deciding where to create your learning space:
- How much room do you have to set up your space? If you are limited to a small area, consider a mobile classroom, which we'll discuss more below.
- What is your budget? If you are working with a limited budget, can you reuse other areas of your home or repurpose furniture?
- Are you sharing the space? You may need to focus on vertical storage or better organization.
- Is there a way to limit distractions? It's best to set up your space away from everyday distractions.
Not Much Room? Set Up a Mobile Classroom
If you have limited space, there's no need to worry! Maybe your only choice is your kitchen table. In that case, a Tupperware storage bin could be your best friend: You can store it in a small area, such as a closet or next to the couch, and it will help you keep all of your student's learning materials organized. Some bins come with wheels and/or handles, making it easy to relocate the supplies from room to room as needed to avoid distractions. You can have your child personalize the bin.
Ideas for Personalizing Your Space
After you decide where to set up your learning space and what works best for your family, it's time to personalize it. Some families may have a bigger budget and a bigger space, and that's perfectly okay. There's no need to compete with others; you simply need to find what will work best for you. You can get thrifty and hit up area garage sales, the Facebook Marketplace, or even Amazon to find what you need. It's all about what works for you and your child.
Here are a few useful items to consider while homeschooling:
- A Cork Board, such as the one above, will help you keep things organized and let you pin up assignments or other important notes or daily reminders.
- A White Board or Dry Erase Board is helpful for writing notes or jotting down inspirational quotes for motivation.
- A Proper Desk or Work Station is important. It should be comfortable to sit at the desk for long periods of time; you don't want the desk to be too high or too low, or it can lead to slouching or back strain.
- A Comfortable Chair is equally important for the student—and remind them to take breaks to stretch!
- Organization Bins are a tidy way to store current and/or completed assignments and other important papers or books.
- Vertical Storage is something to consider with a smaller area. You might look into a bookcase or space-saving shelving units or other containers.
Important Items for the Home Classroom
Some other essential items that have helped us while learning (or working) from home include the following:
- Printer With Scanning Capabilities: This is needed for printing out worksheets and scanning homework. We use the HP DeskJet Plus. Sometimes, printers are provided to you through online homeschooling programs; otherwise, they can be purchased on Amazon.
- Laptop: With online homeschooling, a good computer is essential. I recommend the Chromebook for kids, but some schools require a computer that will support Windows, for which I recommend HP. On a budget, you can find refurbished laptops online for quite a deal.
- Gaming Headphones: I have heard a lot of parents say they prefer gaming headphones over the smaller computer headsets. Lots of Zoom meetings and Web Connects make the headphones extremely useful, especially when there's loud noise in the background (like a noisy toddler). The Turtle Beach Headphones are the best, in my opinion. They are noise-canceling and allow you to quickly mute yourself or adjust the volume as needed.
Other Optional Items
These are a few other items we purchased that are optional but useful.
- Letter Board: These boards are fun, and we love to write inspiring messages on them! Check out my nephew in the photo above for an example. We love our letter boards!
- Folding Storage Bins: These are a cheap and easy way to store supplies and eliminate all the clutter sitting around.
- Yoga Ball: This is a fun item that can take some stress off your kid's back from sitting all day. Replacing their chair with a yoga ball is not only a stress reliever but also gives a hyper kid something to do when they get antsy.
It's time to create your own space! Don't forget, it's not a competition; it's what works best for you and your family. I hope that you have the best year yet. It will take time to get used to this new routine, but don't fret! Many other parents are feeling overwhelmed, so don't forget to reach out for help and know you're not alone! Good luck.