Setting up a Successful Environment for Virtual Learning
After last spring’s abrupt transition, we know many families could benefit from a new routine this fall. We have asked Stacy Vinciguerra, M.Ed and Anna Webber of Thrive Homeschool Consulting to describe the ideal environment for success in Virtual Learning. Stacy has been placed as a child educator for six years with Mom’s Best Friend and is a certified teacher.
As the school year approaches, many parents are concerned about how to make virtual learning a positive and productive experience for their family. The environment in which children approach virtual learning can make a big difference in their success and the overall attitude toward virtual school. The following are tips on how to create a space conducive to learning in your home.
To begin, you will want to designate an area away from distractions such as televisions, toys, and gaming devices. If you don’t have an area like this already, consider different ways to arrange the furniture in a room that might create a space like this. Could you move a couch or low bookcase in a way that divides a room, creating a learning area that wasn’t there before? Could you turn a desk around so it is facing a wall instead of the television? I am currently writing this in a space recently created by moving my bed away from the wall 5 feet and inserting a desk behind the bed.
Tools for Success
Once you have a space devoted to learning, ensure it is a place where the child will want to spend time. Create a warm, inviting area by adding items such as a comfy chair, water, a snack, and blanket if the child tends to get cold. Many children need to move and fidget as they learn. Items such as a mini trampoline, wiggle cushion, and fidget toys in this area will help the child meet this need.
Now it’s time to organize the space with practical items to keep them on track. Post a daily schedule on a wall or another easy-to-see place. For pre-readers, this schedule can take the form of pictures. Keep a planner on the desk for the child to write in assignments and due dates; assist the child in this if they are younger and need the help.
When one day bleeds into another during these stay-at-home days, it’s easy to fall out of usual routines and stay up too late, stay in pajamas too long, and graze on snacks instead of having true mealtimes. Many of us will need to create a new norm with new routines this school year. Waking at the same time each day, eating on a normal schedule and getting dressed for the day are all activities that will help set the mood for productivity and learning.
Though the learning is virtual, it is likely that some school supplies will be needed throughout the day. If possible, stock a nearby bookshelf with things that they may need. Depending on the age of the child, this may include things such as paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, rulers, calculators, graph paper, etc.
It may not be possible to implement all of the suggestions above, but if you can implement some of them, you will be making the child’s learning environment that much better!