Home Classroom Design Ideas for Online Students
When students make the transition to online learning, parents often want to upgrade the design and location of the home study station. With your student using the area full-time, it makes sense to ensure that the space is comfortable, appealing, and appropriate for many types of learning activities. Whether you are a “veteran” virtual school family or just starting, consider our tips for designing a learning space—they’re sure to help you make the most of your home classroom!
Look for Sunlight
One thing to consider for your at-home learning space should be how much natural light the space receives. Because sunlight triggers cortisol levels to rise and affects general emotional and physical well-being, it can positively influence your child’s productivity. Sunlight can also combat the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). One note of caution: when positioning your child’s computer monitor, be sure to compensate for sun glare.
Consider the Amount of Space
When designing the learning area, it’s important to allow space for both online and offline work as well as storage. For efficiency, your student needs to have his or her computer and all school supplies, learning materials, and textbooks, within easy reach. Families with more than one student learning from home should make sure each student has his or her own place to store materials.
If your students will share a common work surface, allow enough space so they can work without bumping elbows with their fellow learners. They will also need room to spread out when working offline on a project or doing a hands-on learning activity. If the primary work surface is not large enough, consider a sturdy folding table for these occasions.
If possible, select a learning space with minimal distractions. Peace and quiet is always a plus! To improve concentration, you should also try to choose an area where only limited activity occurs. Studying next to the front door or a busy laundry room may not be ideal—but repurposing an attic, bedroom, or seldom-used dining room might work. If a high-traffic area is your only option, consider whether a folding room divider could limit visual distractions and help your student focus.
Choose Your Technology
Certain equipment and tools are necessary for online learning, including a well-maintained computer and updated software. However, you may want to consider additional hardware when planning your child’s online learning space.
- Consider an extra computer monitor. Hooking your student’s computer up to a second monitor allows him or her to see multiple screens at once. It may enable students to work more easily and efficiently while taking notes, writing papers, and much more.
- A printer can boost productivity. Some students may have an easier time working out certain assignments on paper. Having a printer at your child’s disposal can also be a great asset for crafts and other hands-on learning projects.
- E-readers give students flexibility. They also encourage students to read and explore topics beyond their schoolwork with the click of a button. Plus, many public libraries now offer e-books online, making it easy to browse and download new reading material at home.
- A television can help the learning process. Believe it or not, although TV can also be a distraction, some parents find that viewing online lessons on a larger television screen increases a child’s engagement. You can also use a television to play educational videos for your child as an additional learning resource. Just be sure your student understands that during school, the TV is off-limits unless it’s for educational use!
Find the Right Furniture
Although the furniture you choose to include in your home classroom will be determined by the area’s space and your budget, be sure to consider ergonomics as well. In order to be comfortable and promote good posture, furniture should fit your child now and be adjustable to allow for growth. Some adults and children find stand-up desks to be a great choice.
If you have a limited area, consider furniture that can serve multiple functions or storage pieces that can be rolled into a closet. Another excellent choice is furniture that is designed with a small “footprint” because it uses vertical space, such as a combined desk and bookshelf.
While providing a separate room for your student might seem ideal, there are many creative ways to organize a home classroom within a limited space. Remember, one of the wonderful advantages of virtual school is that students have the flexibility to learn while gathered around the kitchen table—or while on the road! With an imaginative approach and organization skills, even small areas can inspire your child’s learning process.
Let us know how you chose your child’s online learning space, and what resources you keep in the space! Our learning community would love to hear from you in the comments section below.