When you’re new to homeschooling or are simply thinking about it, you have tons of questions about how to begin! There are so many things to consider! You also need to consider the space you have and how to best utilize it. Even though you may make a terrific teacher, and have the perfect curriculum, those are only pieces of the puzzle. Another crucial aspect will be your home, and, more specifically, how the environment contributes to a thriving learning arrangement. There are a few important things to be aware of that can negatively affect your homeschool learning environment.
Too Much Clutter
If you’ve got too much junk in your home, then you’ll want to take a look at having a clearout. Studies have found that it’s more difficult to concentrate when you’re surrounded by too many items — it’s much easier to work when you’re in a calm, peaceful, and simplified environment. If it has been some time since you last had a clearout, then get to it before you start term-time. You won’t miss the items that you haven’t used in a long time, and you’ll find that selling those goods is a good way to raise some much-needed funds for the educational supplies you’ll need.
Lack of Sunlight
Our environment plays a big role in how we feel, and how we feel contributes to how much we’re able to deliver our best work. When it comes to homeschooling your children, it’s best to create an environment that has a lot of natural light. It’s much more enjoyable to learn — and to teach — in an environment that’s light and airy, rather than a space that’s dark and dingy. As such, one of your first tasks will be to ensure there’s a lot of natural light in the room where you’ll be teaching.
No Dedicated Rooms
And talking of teaching rooms, make sure you have one. Studies have shown that children learn better when they’re in a consistent environment. While there’ll be times when you go on trips or work in the yard, for the most part, you’ll find it’s easier to build momentum if you’re sticking in just one area. The key will be to find a room that has no other purposes (as in, it doesn’t double as a playroom for your kids). It should be reserved solely for learning. That way, everyone will get into the educational mindset as soon as they step through the door.
Like any other school, you’re going to have breaks throughout the door. There’s an upper limit to how much children are able to learn in any one sitting; it’s around fifty minutes. After that time period has passed, they’ll need to take a fifteen-minute break or so. Your children will find it much easier to clear their head and differentiate between lessons if they can play in a space that’s far removed (in ambiance, if not space-wise) from the classroom. In most schools there’s an outdoor play area, so look at setting one up in your yard. A little bit of space to run and stretch their legs will do them a world of good.
Problems In the Home
Students need a calm and steady place in which to work, so you need to make sure that your home is problem- and distraction-free. At different times of the year, you’ll face different problems. In the winter, the issue could be the cold — you’ll need to make sure your home is kept at an agreeable temperature so that your kids can focus exclusively on their work. In the summer, there’ll be a similar issue with the heat, and also, potentially, pests, which have a habit of finding their work into the home when the weather is fine. If you notice this issue in your home, then take a look at hiring a company like ABC Pest Control to handle the problem. You’ll also need to keep in mind that any work on your home will also affect the learning process, especially if it involves contractors making a lot of noise.
Everyone has problems. The older you get, the more you have, or at least it can feel that way. You’ll need to keep in mind that any personal issues will affect your home’s ambiance, especially if they’re able to overflow into your teaching world. The biggest problem that will most obviously affect your home’s atmosphere will be relationship troubles with your partner. All relationships are problematic, but it’s easier to keep the issues away from the children when they spend so much time at school. When they’re forever at home, it might be more difficult. Make sure you’re taking additional steps to keep whatever you’re going through away from your kids — they’ll find it harder to focus on their studies if they sense there’s something negative in the air.
And Other Obligations
If you’re able to teach your children from home, then it’s likely that you have a home-based business, since you’re clearly not working when most other people are. In order to get the balance right, you’ll need to establish set times for both your teaching and business duties. This will involve a little bit of trial and error, until you figure out what’s best. For example, you might find that you’re able to catch up on light work while your child is doing their schoolwork in front of you. When you’re actively teaching, you should keep your mind focused on only the task at hand. The school day will end mid-afternoon anyway, so you’ll have plenty of time to get on with your business work.
There might be some things that are outside of your control but which can disturb the learning process. Take, for example, a noisy neighborhood. People always learn best when they’re able to fully focus on the task of hand — if they’re continually disturbed by external noises, then they’re going to struggle. While there’s little you can do to quiet the street outside your home, you can take steps to reduce how much it disturbs your child’s learning experience. For example, you can choose a room that’s furthest away from the street for your classroom, and also take some steps to soundproof it (it’s easier than it sounds).
Lack of Supplies and Resources
One of the advantages of sending your child to a state-run school is that you’ll know that they’ll have everything they need (or rather, should have) to learn. For example, laptops, craft supplies, and so on. The quality of your homeschooling will be reduced if you don’t also have access to these things. Before you commit to teaching your children at home, make sure you have enough money in the budget to afford all those essential school supplies. Don’t be put off by the price of, say, a new laptop — there are always ways to get them cheaper, such as buying them refurbished.
Ending the Day
It’s of great importance that you have set hours for your school day. It’s not just about building a routine that allows your children to learn well — it’s about having a clear divide between the school part of the day and the leisure time. If there’s no obvious division between the two periods, then both child and parent will face burnout. Call it a day, head for a walk, and do something fun when class is out.
There’s much to love about homeschooling your children, but there are some pitfalls waiting to compromise the experience. Taking the advice above will keep them at bay.