We moved into our house just over 4 years ago. Since then, we have been working through a long list of house projects. Since we have had A LOT of extra time at home since March, we have been crossing things off our list more quickly than in the past. Once we realized (probably sometime in early June) that we would most likely be schooling our 1st grader at home this year, we decided we could kill two birds with one stone and knock off one more house project while creating a virtual learning space for our 6-year-old.
When we started at-home learning in the Spring, most of the work took place on our kitchen table. This arrangement was not ideal. It was workable, but certainly not sustainable. I knew that if we were going to do this long term, we needed to have a dedicated workspace. We wanted to add built-in bookshelves on either side of the fireplace in our living room. My husband suggested that we could double up that project and have one side include a desk for our son to do his schoolwork. Brilliant!
School is getting started across North Texas, but we still do not really know what Virtual Learning will look like. I have no expectations that all schoolwork will be done at the new desk, but my son is excited to have his own space and I am excited to have my kitchen table and countertops back!
If you are venturing into the great unknown that is Virtual Learning too, here are some tips for creating a dedicated space for your student(s).
Tips for Creating A Virtual Learning Space
Make it Work for Your Family
My two oldest share a room and we didn’t have anywhere else to put a freestanding desk, so we built one! Think about how your family uses the space you have, think about how your student learns (and how much help they’ll need from Mom and Dad), and go from there. For us, a space in the middle of the house where he can keep his own stuff, but still have easy access/visibility to parents was the most important thing.
Get Your Student Involved
The school year is going to be difficult for all of us. Letting my son choose his desk accessories (anything and everything RED) was important for him to take ownership of the space. It got him excited about doing schoolwork at home, even though I know he’d prefer to be going to school with his friends. He actually loves his virtual learning space!
Address Known Problem Areas
My son (like most 6-year-olds) has trouble keeping things neat, but if he knows where something goes, he’s really good at putting it away. Adding a letter tray for books and notebooks, a supply box for pencils, erasers, and scissors, and a cabinet nearby for other necessary supplies will make it easy for him to keep his space neat and workable. He still needs help with handwriting, so I printed out an alphabet sheet with handwriting guides and a sheet with number words to hang above his desk. These guides are easy for him to see and will be easy to update as needed as the school year progresses.
If that isn’t the theme of 2020, I don’t know what is! Since school is just starting there are still so many unknowns, we will need to be flexible to make this work. If the new desk goes unused, that’s OK. If we need to move schoolwork outside for a few days or back to the kitchen table (please no!), we’ll do it. Flexibility is key and is a good lesson for parents and students alike, right?
Good luck to all the mamas, teachers, and mama/teachers out there! Whatever this school year holds, we’re in this together and we’ll make it through!