A year ago, everyone was hopping on the homeschooling bandwagon. Quarantines and school cancelations sent millions of students into the homeschool world practically overnight.
Now that schools are starting to open up again, it’s posed an important question to countless parents: should we keep homeschooling even without a pandemic? For many, the answer has been a resounding, yes!
If you’re planning on homeschooling for the long haul, welcome aboard. You’re making a great choice for your children’s academic future. That said, you’re going to want to approach permanent homeschooling a bit differently than you did schooling at home during a pandemic.
Here are a few suggestions to set up an optimal environment for long-term learning in your home.
Now that the particular disruption of the pandemic is fading into the rearview mirror, try to figure out what kind of routines you can maintain for the long haul. Routines are a great way to set reasonable expectations for your family’s daily behavior. This doesn’t just have to do with academic activity, either. Try to build routines for:
- A morning routine;
- A school routine;
- Meal routines;
- Chore routines;
- A bedtime routine.
Routines are great for you both you and your kids. They can help you stay on track and maintain momentum throughout each day.
Get on a Solid Schedule
It doesn’t matter if you’re an organized person or not — you want a good schedule for your homeschooling activities. Ideally, this should sync up with your work and other family activities. A few suggestions to create a good homeschool schedule include:
- Picking a recurring day to regularly sketch out the coming week.
- Creating a master calendar for you and your family to record all of your important activities.
- Planning out your coursework roughly a month at a time.
- Keeping your days structured but not overly planned — i.e. stay flexible.
With so many things going on in your life, a schedule can be a lifeline for your sanity. It helps you to not let things slip through the cracks, gives you a bird’s eye view of everything that you have going on, and helps you avoid double booking or having an overly crowded schedule.
Dedicate Your Spaces
You may have already done this during the pandemic, but if you don’t have comfortable, clean, and well-stocked dedicated learning spaces yet, you should. This doesn’t mean you have to recreate a public school classroom in your home. On the contrary, use the freedom of homeschooling to personalize your learning space to your liking.
Along with your learning space, also consider other areas of your home that will be used while you’re instructing. If you have several kids, make sure that everyone knows where they should be while you’re teaching their siblings. If you have younger kids, in particular, make sure to cover receptacles, put up gates, and otherwise safety-proof the spaces that they’ll be in while you focus on teaching their older siblings.
Consider Alternative Spaces
Chances are you’ll spend most of your educating time in the same area of your home. However, there are a couple of other homeschool environments that you’re going to want to tend to as well.
First, consider your digital spaces. Even if you’re not engaged in active online learning, technology is part and parcel of the educational experience these days. You’re probably going to have some form of tech involved in your child’s education at various times.
When that happens, you want to make sure that you organize your online files. This goes for you as much as for your kiddos. Whether you’re arranging apps on your child’s learning tablet or funneling your digital curriculum into cloud-based files to back them up, take the time to create an organized and helpful online homeschooling space to boost productivity.
Additionally, consider learning outside of your home from time to time. One of the best ways to avoid becoming bored of your at-home learning spaces is to shake things up.
Planning the occasional field trip is a great way to overcome the issue. It gives you a break from the status quo and can be an effective tool to help maintain focus over time.
Maintaining Effective Homeschool Spaces Over the Long Term
As you establish your long-term homeschooling space, remember to keep the above tips in mind. Routines, schedules, dedicated school areas, and alternative learning spaces are all important elements of sustained homeschooling success.
Also, make sure to gather feedback from your family as you work your way through each year. Don’t become so married to your system that you can’t tailor it to the best interest of everyone involved. Instead, stay flexible, mindful, and willing to adapt your homeschooling environment as you and your family move forward toward a brighter future.
More about the author…
Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.