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My kids are going back to school, remotely, in a few days. I have to admit I’m perfectly fine with that and actually I’ve considered homeschooling them many times, so remote learning is fine by me.
What’s not fine by me is the way remote learning went in the Spring where they just sprawled wherever they wanted to with their laptops and did whatever work they had to do.
That’s not going to fly this Fall. First of all school is going to be a lot more structured with more on-screen time learning with the teacher and the rest of the class so sitting in bed isn’t going to cut it.
Neither is sitting at the dining room table because I’ve already learned the hard way that that is not good for your neck, wrists, back, etc.
So it’s going to be desks, good seating and supplies. Because I work from home so I can’t be getting up every five minutes to help find a pen. Or paper. Or a calculator. Or a pencil. Or a red crayon. Or glue.
You get my drift. (My kids are 13 and 16 do they really need glue?)
So I’ve turned to my old friend Pinterest and a couple of experienced Homeschooling moms to see if there are any tricks to creating a space that’s going to work for the kids AND me and keep everyone sane.
Remote Learning Space Tips
My friend Jen from Practical By Default helps working mothers homeschool their kids. She has some great tips to share on expectations for Remote Learning in general and how to tackle the remote learning space.
Distance learning and homeschool are different from each other, but as a working mom who homeschools, there are a few things you can do that work in both situations.Here are my top three things parents can do to help their kids (and themselves) make the most of this unique situation.
- Try not to stress over everything. Remember: if mom is stressed, kids are stressed. Understand change is hard for you and them, and therefore you need to lower your expectations for everything. Things are not going to go perfectly every day.
- Have a planner and work with your kids. Chances are your distance learning has a schedule. The day before, try to make sure they have everything they need, and they know where it is. Set aside specific times for schoolwork, chores, and other important matters. You can adjust your schedule as needed.
- Create a learning space designated for distance learning. Unlike homeschooling kids, where kids tend to learn anywhere and everywhere, distance learning includes a lot of online work. When creating your “learning area,” make sure they have a desk or table with enough room for the things they need, such as a computer, headset, binders/worksheets, etc. Make sure the chair is at the right level for your child. You may need to purchase an adjustable chair or use a booster seat and stool to make sure they are comfortable.
What’s great about Jen’s advice is that you know what you need after reading it, but you also know what you do not need. There are a lot of great homeschool set ups that look amazing on Pinterest, but you don’t necessarily need all of that for remote learning.
This learning space from the Spruce is great because it’s clean and minimal, has good lighting and also has some great art to stare at if your eyes need a screen break.
This also works great as just a homework station when the kids eventually go back to school. I can see this for younger kids. My teenagers are going to want their own separate space.
This desk area is great because it’s taken a lot of stuff off the surface of the desk and moved it up on to the wall space with that cool pegboard.
If you’ve got limited desk surface area for your kids to work on, then consider going vertical for storing their supplies.
That way there’s plenty of room if they do need to pull out some pencil and paper and do some math or writing. Which I assume is going to happen.
If vertical space isn’t going to work for storage, then this genius DIY desk is great. I actually love the fact that the storage here is underneath the desk.
It looks a lot neater, especially if your kids are going to be in family spaces while they are learning. My son is going to be setting up with a desk in the dining room, for example.
So keeping his supplies neatly tucked away under the desk means that room will look a lot neater than the supplies going vertical.
Don’t Forget Desk Lighting
One thing I’ve learned as a work at home woman is that lighting is just as important in your home office area as it is in the regular office.
Same goes for kids. Even though they are in school during daylight hours, if it rains or the sun goes behind a cloud, it can get very dark and dismal very quickly. We don’t that.
Plus, let’s be honest, the kids are going to be on Zoom calls and you know you want them to have good lighting for that.
Overhead lighting is good for work tasks because it’s not taking any desk real estate. But there are other solutions if you don’t have overhead lighting.
I like this slim desk lamp from Amazon because it takes up very little room and it is very functional.
You can use it as a phone charger and the light itself moves so it’s great as a task light.
This is something you’ll always use even after distance learning is a thing of the past (it will be a thing of the past someday. If you want it to be. I might like having my kids home. But I’m off topic.).
If you’re really pressed for desk space, a clip on lamp is a good idea.
I like this ring lamp because it can be adjusted for task lighting or it will provide decent lighting for those Zoom calls, too.
I think the fact that this has a remote is kinda cool although I don’t honestly know why that would be necessary.
The Chair Is Super Important
Supposedly this time around the kids are going to have schedules and they have to be in “school” at a certain time in front of the computer and accounted for.
That did not happen here in the Spring if you’re wondering. The kids got assignments on Monday and they had to be done by Friday and there might be a couple of 30 minute calls throughout the week. Nothing was mandatory and if you turned in your work, you got an A. No grading.
That’s obvious a result of an emergency situation and now that we’ve all had time to figure things out a little better, the schools have promised to be more structured.
Which means focused time in front the computer, working.
Which means the kids better have some good chairs so they are comfortable.
For fidgety kids, wobble stools or stools for active sitting or even exercise balls are great.
If you want a traditional chair I would definitely go for some type of adjustable chair and have something for them to put their feet on. I’m short and no matter how I adjust my office chair, my feet don’t rest comfortably on the floor.
I have what is a technically a gaming chair as my office chair and I love it. It’s great back support, there’s a footrest and you can recline.
Not that you want your kids reclining while they’re in school, but when the kids do finally go back to school, maybe you take over the gaming chair?
That’s not the one I actually use in my office. The one I have is no longer available and it’s a little more grown up office-y, but the function is the same. Footrest that pulls out, full recline, adjustable height, back support, head support.
And don’t tell me your video gamer son wouldn’t be excited about it.
So Now Remote Learning is Going to Be Perfect, Right?
Well, I mean, that kind of sounds like a Fairy Tale. Of course it won’t be perfect, but it should be pretty good, right?
I asked my other homeschooling friend, Dachelle from Hide The Chocolate what she thought.
I have a tongue-in-cheek post (because we have no real desk area). You might could include it at the bottom of your article about how not to get discouraged if your kid ignores all the amazingness of your school area and chooses to sit in the dog’s bed with a pillow pet and box of Cheetos. (Yes, these are examples from my life).
If you need a smile for the day, read Dachelle’s Fairy Tale Story Of Her Homeschool Room.