The Learning Environment

Part of getting students into a routine for learning involves having a physical space designated for precisely that. The biggest mistake I have seen parents make when creating a designated learning area is too many fun pencil jars, stickers, cute little lamps, etc. These things are fun and have their place, but that place is not right in front of your kid while they’re trying to focus on something else. Your child’s learning and workspace should be very clean and simple. They should have the things that they need readily available to them, but not put on display. For example, a nice clean, clear desk, with a little bookshelf or organized box next to them, or better yet, right behind them, full of the necessary supplies they need works best. Your child will need plenty of pencils and scrap paper and class notebooks. They will probably need colored pencils, scissors, and glue. Don’t give them a calculator unless their teacher has approved it. Memorizing math facts help them process math concepts more quickly. 

Keep an address book, you can get them at the dollar store, with the names of websites, usernames, and passwords your child will regularly use. You don’t want to waste time hunting for this information while your child is trying to learn. Little things like that can disrupt learning and discourage kids. 

I would recommend keeping all other distractions away, make sure they can’t hear the television or other kid’s devices, and that they are not too close to siblings while working. Make sure your child is somewhere that you can monitor what they are doing, especially on the computer, but probably not at the kitchen table because it gets in the way of meals, gets messy and cluttered. 

If you have plenty of room and can afford a desk, go for it. But, it needs to be placed somewhere that you can monitor them. Unless you can regularly monitor your child, I don’t know that spending an entire school day online alone in their room is a good idea. In fact, I know it’s not. A small card table in a corner where you can help them is a better solution, though maybe not as decorative. 

Make sure your child’s chair is tall enough, or get them something to help them fit well. I found some inexpensive chair leg bands that I used for my class last year, and they loved them. It’s hard for kids to sit for a long time, so don’t stress if they need to get up and move every so often, or want an exercise ball as a chair or something. Most kids have an attention span as long as their age. So, an eight-year-old can be expected to focus for about eight minutes. Let them wiggle, then get back to work. Don’t let breaks be very long, or they will get out of learning mode entirely. 

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