The Homeschool/Distance Learning Life - Time to start planning!

As the Summer begins to come to a close, we all have to turn our focus towards planning for this upcoming school year. I don’t know about you, but I am full of anxiety to resume my position as the “Homeschool/Distance Learning Teacher”. I honestly never could have imagined in my lifetime I would be living through a pandemic and become my elementary daughter’s 4th Grade Teacher.


But we are here knee-deep in sanitizer and facial masks asking ourselves, “Am I ready for another school year?” Well, I decided to put together some helpful tips that carried me through the end of last year’s educational school year. Along with some fun facts to make you not feel alone as we all move through this journey.



Education is part of almost every family’s life and can affect so many dynamics. When we choose where we want to live, often the number one factor is School District and quality of schools. Education can affect even our finances as families prepare to make decisions on private schools or even college. However, homeschooling is nothing new and over the year’s families have chosen the homeschool option over traditional as part of their person educational option. I know several families who have found great success in homeschooling and I have often considered this as a real option.


According to the U.S. Department of Education, 2.2 Million Students were homeschooled in the U.S. in 2019. One of the key reason Parents provided for the homeschool choice related to the concern with the environment in some schools and dissatisfaction with the instruction. Also, the ability to make their homeschool environments one of their own down to the cute rug on the floor J.

In my opinion, with not knowing how long it will be before kids’ students return to school, I have decided to create a space other than my kitchen table to facilitate our homeschool environment.


As I stood in IKEA the other day while staring at rug and desk; I had to ask myself…How do you decide what you’re at-home classroom should look like? How do you furnish it? What makes it conducive to learning? Of course, this will change as the year progresses, but I needed a start. It got me thinking… I bet some other parents out there could benefit from this. So, I complied a quick list by age group with the hope this can help you frame up you homeschool environment.

Lower Elementary

Staying organized is key for kiddos at the Lower Elementary age. So, make organization fun with using color-coded organizers and bins. In addition, use color coded folders and notebooks. No need to make it serious!


To keep these kids’ attention, try colorful rugs with characters and small chair for easy reading and introduction of new skills. You can even try letting your kiddo pick a rug with their favorite color or maybe have their favorite character on it. This will be a place they want to sit and get excited about – most days.


Room Supplies

· Bulletin board

· Standard desk

· Chairs

· Bookcase (with age-appropriate books)

· Storage containers

· Comfy seating

· Play area rug

· Learning games

· Activity space (for crafting and working on hands-on projects)



Upper Elementary

Books, Books and Books are important for the Upper Elementary student. You can stock up on these books at Half Price Book Stores or even garage sales if you don’t want to have 100 books coming from Amazon daily lol. Students in upper elementary are really focusing on their reading and comprehension and continuing to develop that love for reading.





Room Supplies

· Bulletin board

· White board

· Standard desk

· Chairs

· Bookcase (with age-appropriate books)

· Storage containers

· Comfy seating

· Tablets

· Activity space (for crafting and working on hands-on projects)

Middle School

If your kids are of the Middle School age, you may want to consider introducing things that children in traditional school’s experience, like lockers. And who didn’t love the feeling of finally having your own locker you could decorate and make your own?

Computers and tablets are of course a part of our daily lives and a key tool for homeschooling and distance learning. Middle school might be a good time to give your student their own laptop to do work if one is not provided by your student’s school. Becoming proficient in various computer programs will set your student on a great path, even post-homeschooling.


Room Supplies

· Bulletin board

· White board

· Office desk

· Office chair

· Bookcase (with age-appropriate books)

· Organizational furniture

· Break area

· Lockers

· Laptops

· Activity space (for crafting and working on hands-on projects)


High School

Once high school starts, I would consider letting your student fully design their space. Make it personal and a space they will appreciate and enjoy learning while feeling independent. Consider more teenage themed artwork of even a futon or sofa. If you have more than one high school student, keep the space neutral, but let them personalize their specific area in it.


Room Supplies


· Bulletin board

· White board

· Office desk

· Office chair

· Bookcase (with age-appropriate books)

· Organizational furniture

· Break area

· Lockers

· Laptops

· Activity space (for crafting and working on hands-on projects)


Lesson Plans

There are several great sites out there you can you use to help build lesson plans for your at home student. Here are a few I have used:


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/

Reading Eggs

Khan Academy

XtraMath

DiscoveryEducation

K12.com

I’m just adding this one in as an additional source for the kiddos who may need some additional support:


Special Needs Homeschooling

Do you have any tips for parents starting to homeschool their children? Share them in the comment section!


Just remember we are in this together and you are not alone. This too shall pass, and we will all be a little closer and stronger from it!! Good Luck and Happy Teaching!! Keep the coffee and wine always available ;)

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