Creating a positive home learning environment for your child is a given when it comes to supporting their home-education. Now though, we have the science to back it up. Thanks to a recent study from The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, we can see how improving children's learning environments not only makes them happier learners, but may also improve their academic progress.
While the study refers to mainstream school set-ups, the key take-aways are universal whether your child is revising for exams, completing homework or attending their daily lessons from home. In this week's blog, we explore how you can optimise your child's home-school environment to help them get the most out of their learning.
Create a Personalised Workspace
Your child's physical environment plays a bigger role in their learning than you might think. While having the flexibility to learn from anywhere is such a great benefit of home-education, having a consistent personalised space for their learning most days is really beneficial. They can really make the space their own, which encourages them to take responsibility for their learning. Now this doesn't have to mean setting up an entire room. It could simply be a desk in their bedroom, a corner of the living room or any space they feel most comfortable working.
Of course, all young people learn and work in different ways, so take these things in to account when thinking about their workspace. They might focus best in complete silence, or maybe they find a little background noise helps them concentrate. If enclosed spaces make them anxious, part of a more open-plan room would be your best bet. Ask your child what works best for them so you can work together to create the most productive environment.
Ever fancied yourself as an interior designer? Well, now's your chance. Studies have shown that things like lighting and space in a room can all affect your concentration and productivity, as well as your mental health in general. Like anyone else, your child is likely to benefit from working in a quiet space with plenty of natural light if available. If not, some non-harsh electric lights are great.
Colour is also something you may want to consider when thinking about a positive home learning environment. After all, it is your child's workspace, so why not decorate a bit and make it fun? They can display their artwork, achievements and projects to brighten up the space. Having these around to look at can also boost their self-esteem, as well as their creativity.
Tidy Space, Tidy Mind
The phrase may sound cliché, but the advice is spot on! Having a tidy, organised workspace not only helps to ease anxiety but can also boost your child's productivity when completing their school work. It's a little easier to have all your learning materials in one place at home compared to at a school. However, it still helps to have them ordered in a designated place in your child's workspace. This will cut down on time spent scrambling around for textbooks, notepads, or anything else they need for their lessons.
A well-organised, de-cluttered space also helps to eliminate distractions. This is really important particularly for kids who have ADHD/ADD or struggle to focus generally. Keeping any unnecessary tech and devices out of temptation's reach, too, is essential for your child to remain focused and engaged during school time.
Take A Break
The beauty of learning from home is that there's so much more leeway when it comes to taking breaks when needed. Make the most of this by planning in active breaks for your child during their school day. These can be things like getting some fresh air outside, catching up with friends, doing something creative or burning off some energy (e.g. a quick cycle round the block). Taking time out to pursue hobbies and do something fun and/or relaxing is a great way for your child to refresh their mind and keep them motivated throughout the day.
If your child is home-educated, online education could be a helpful option for your family. It offers a full-time, curriculum-led education for children of school age that can be accessed from home or anywhere with a stable broadband connection. My Online Schooling provides live online lessons following the English National Curriculum, giving children like yours the opportunity to achieve internationally recognised International GCSE and A-Level qualifications, while learning from home. This is a fantastic alternative for home-educators seeking more structure and support for their child's home-based learning.