Guest Contributor Lee K. Crowder, Design Gallery and Model Home Branding Manager for Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes shares some Back to School at Home Design Tips
This back-to-school season will look different than any other, but there are still ways to set your students up for success. If you’re learning at home, you’ll love using these design tips to make your at-home school environment an ideal space for learning.
Key Components for At Home Learning:
When we were all unexpectedly sent home to work and learn in the spring, we didn’t have much time to plan. Now that you have been home for the last few months, you’ve probably noticed there are certain parts of your home that are quiet and unused during the day—these are great places to set up your children’s learning environment.
While it might seem like the obvious option to set kids up at the breakfast table, it’s also a spot that offers plenty of opportunities to be distracted. To help your children get the most from their education, learning spaces should be private enough so they have a quiet space to concentrate, but close enough to you in case they need help.
Does your home have a media room like the one in the Sapphire model at our Travisso community? If so, bring an extra lamp and move the popcorn machine aside to turn it into the perfect virtual school location. Zoom calls with the teacher have never been easier.
Here are some key components for a successful at-home learning environment:
- A personalized space with photos of friends and family
- A bulletin board with to-do lists to keep track of assignments
- A quiet place in your home to aid in concentration
- Storage containers for pens, markers and other school supplies to stay organized
- Ample space for writing and room for the computer
- Cord management and charging options for devices and headphones
If your learners don’t have a specific place to work every day, help them create a traveling basket or rolling cart to store all of their learning gear so they can set up for success every day.
Make sure everyone in your home knows the school schedule. Add everyone’s commitments to a family Google calendar and make sure to have it available for everyone in your home to see. This will help everyone be accountable for the start and stop times for all classes.
Bonus: have your children help you create a system that works for them. Setting an alarm every morning, making their bed, waking up with plenty of time to have breakfast, and getting some movement in before school starts. If your children help make their schedule, they will be more willing to follow it.
While you’re preparing your virtual learning space, make sure to consider lighting. Having a well-lit space (either naturally or artificially) is incredibly important to productivity. Not having enough light can lead to drowsiness and even headaches. Make sure to follow all of these tips for the best lighting possible:
- Turn up the brightness on all devices
- Use a combination of natural light and artificial lighting. Open the shades or blinds during work/school hours.
- If you don’t have enough natural lighting, consider adding a ring light. Often used for photography, a ring light emits plenty of light for your workspace.
- Opt for LED lighting options instead of fluorescent.
Shopping for school supplies is one of the exciting signals that the back-to-school season is at hand. And while you may not need to get a new backpack or lunch box if you have an at-home learner, buying some fresh school supplies can help your children get excited about learning. At home, the sky’s the limit, so let them choose school supplies in their favorite colors or decorated with their favorite characters.
Even though we have more time at home, weekly lunch prep is still an important task to ensure you are organized throughout the week. Sundays are a great day to not only prep your dinners for the week, but also to pre-make homemade “lunchables” for your children’s lunches. Once you have your prep done, share what the snacks are for the week and show everyone where they live in the fridge so they can easily grab them on their own. If you aren’t sure what to try, here are a few ideas that are easy to make and enable kids to grab and go on their own.
- Fruit Kabobs: Add a variety of fruits or slices of one fruit to a kabob for an easy-to-store single serving of fruit.
- Homemade Lunchables: Add crackers, cheese and lunch meat to a container–great for picky eaters. No strange sauces or any of those undesirable veggies in sight.
- Soup: Soups are great for meal prepping because you can make a large amount and then portion in individual servings.
- Pasta: Pasta is another easy option that can be pre-portioned into kid-sized containers so they can serve themselves lunch on busy days.
- Yogurt Bark: Spread yogurt onto a baking dish, top with fruit, granola, or nuts, and freeze. Once frozen, break apart into single pieces and store in the freezer. This treat is healthier and less expensive than other frozen treats.
At Home PE
Between virtual classes (or between meetings for the adults), take time to move around and stretch. Walk a lap around the house so everyone gets some movement in and is ready to sit down and focus on their next class.
If you can get everyone up early before school and work, take time to get physical activity in, whether it’s running around the block, walking the dog, or doing an exercise.
If your at-home-learner is too energetic to sit still, consider having them sit on an exercise ball during class or even use a standing desk. This is a great way to help them learn using their ideal methods and ultimately give them a great platform for success!
In addition to exercise, making sure everyone is drinking enough water is really important–and easy to forget when you’re at home. Give everyone their own water bottle to keep at their workspace and drink up!
Back to School Tips for In-Person Learners
If you’ll be sending your kids to in-person classes, keep them safe and healthy by following local guidelines and washing hands and sanitizing often. If you’re one of the lucky few, these back-to-school articles will help you get ready for a successful school year:
Set Your Students Up for Success with an At-Home Learning Environment They Love
Even though this school year will look different than many others, there are still ways you can help your children feel prepared for their classes. Having a home you love has always been important, but you’ll appreciate spending your time at home even more throughout working and learning at home.