Kids have wonderful, imaginative, active minds — but this also makes them a little hard to pin down!
If you’ve noticed your child or teen is struggling to concentrate when learning from home, these tips and tricks may help set their focus…
Essential steps for organizing a home learning space
Have a dedicated workspace
A homeschooling child needs a dedicated workspace. If you’re lucky enough to have a whole spare room, that’s great. But even if it’s a desk in the corner of the lounge, or a seat at the end of the kitchen table, that’ll do too.
The space can be cleared away at the end of the day — if you need to reclaim the area — but during school hours should only be used for educational tasks. This helps your student get into the right headspace and transition from downtime to school time.
Be near a window if possible
A space that’s bright and filled with light is ideal for learning, especially if it’s natural sunshine coming through. On warm days, you can even get some fresh air moving through the room — which is proven to aid concentration!
Windows can be tricky though: if your kid’s desk is facing out onto a street or busy park it might end up being a distraction for them. See if you can position them so they’re getting a lot of light, but can’t see too much of what’s going on outside.
Have everything they need on hand
Take the time to set up a pencil case or stationery organizer with everything your child will need to do their work: pens, pencils, a calculator, ruler, etc. The less they need to get up and “just grab one thing”, the less likely they are to be distracted from their work. If they’re completing assignments on a computer, keep chargers and headphones right there on the desk with them too.
Your student will be a lot more engaged with their space if they’ve had a hand in setting it up. So task your little one to decorate their work station with educational pictures, cut-outs, and posters. You can even print off colorful charts and diagrams relating to what they’re learning, to help with their retention while studying. We’ve got a whole trove of fun worksheets with printables and diagrams that you can use to decorate a blank wall or door.
A whiteboard can go a long way
You don’t need a giant, classroom-sized whiteboard — even a small handheld one can really come in handy to jazz up your kid’s learning space. You could use it to write a daily checklist of tasks to be done, ticking off each one as it’s completed. It can also be a fantastic teaching aid, used to explain diagrams or write formulas. You can keep it fun, too — ask your child to spend five minutes each morning drawing or writing a message to inspire themselves throughout the day.
Be sure there’s a place for everything
A cluttered workspace is not conducive to a productive day. If your child’s desk is filled with mess, papers, and discarded pens, it’ll be really hard for them to keep focused. Be sure that every single thing they use has a designated place, and make sure your child puts everything away after each task they do. You can use magazine organizers for books and papers, mugs or old Tupperware for stationery, and plastic bins or old shoe boxes for loose ends.
Things to avoid in your home learning space
Be wise with your music choice
Music can be really distracting, especially if you let your child select the playlist. Anything with lyrics or loud beats has been shown to pull focus from whatever they’re doing. If your child really can’t study in silence, opt for something soft and instrumental. There are plenty of excellent “studying” and “focus” playlists on YouTube and Spotify, which serve as great background noise.
Don’t keep phones and electronics nearby
We’re all guilty of getting distracted by device notifications. So limit the temptation by keeping your kid’s phone and tablet out of reach and out of eyesight — preferably in a different room. If they pick up their phone to reply to one text, suddenly it’s 30 minutes later and they’re scrolling through social media. (Pretty sure we can all relate.)
You can use screen time as a reward for completing tasks: every two hours of focused work they do gives them 15 minutes of unrestricted screen time.
Avoid bedroom working
It might be tempting to let your child homeschool in the bedroom, but as cosy as this is, it’s not doing any good for their mental wellbeing. A bedroom is a place they associate with leisure and sleeping, so it’ll be hard for them to get in the studying headspace while in there. Similarly, if their room becomes associated with studying, they might not be able to switch off at bedtime.
Their rooms are also full of distractions, so, if possible, keep all learning spaces in the common areas of the house.
Don’t just use one space
If your child is new to homeschool, they’ll be used to switching rooms and desks throughout the school day. Even if they’re a seasoned homeschooler, it’s nice to mix it up every now and then.
Maybe you can have different areas of the house for different tasks? Their computer work can be done at their desk, but maybe they can do all their offline reading in a comfy chair elsewhere in the house? On sunny days, they might be able to sit outdoors for an hour while completing worksheets. A fresh environment will help them focus for longer stretches of time.
Don’t go it alone!
You’re not alone in all this. Plenty of parents before you have struggled to keep their kids focused while homeschooling, and it’s all about finding a system that works for your family.
The Internet is your friend: a quick Google search will give you endless resources to help you set up a homeschool space, as well as educational activities you can do with your children to keep them focused.
And once you’re set up, KidsKonnect’s catalog of lesson plans and worksheets will help get you through many at-home learning sessions.
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Link will appear as How To Organize Homeschool Learning Spaces So Your Kids Won’t Be Distracted: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 15, 2020