Creating a Learning Space
If you are like hundreds of thousands of other students (or parents of students) whose schools have been closed recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are probably wondering how you are going to manage learning from home until you can return to regular classes.
This article will give you tips and tricks for setting up an effective learning environment in your home. This article is designed for older students and the parents of younger students. The tips offered here apply if you are homeschooling, completing assigned work in a virtual-school scenario, or just attempting to maintain an active academic lifestyle during the school closure.
First and foremost, if you are experiencing a change to your normal routine, try to stay calm and keep as much to your regular routine as possible. This means:
- Get up and dressed at the same time each day.
- Have the same types of food (breakfast /lunch) you normally would.
- Take the same breaks you are used to in a day (remember, at school you get an exercise break between each subject as you change classes).
Each learning space will be slightly different, but try to make sure your space has these characteristics:
- In a well-lit place (natural light is great if you can do it)
- Comfortable sitting and table top height (avoid sitting at the living room coffee table)
- Near a power outlet if computer access is required
Eye strain can occur if you try to read or focus on a computer screen for too long in a dimly lit area. Regular room lights may not be enough to support good vision hygiene for extended periods of study. Make sure that your learning area has plenty of light.
If you are able to set up a small desk or table near a window, that would allow for natural light to filter in to you during your studying time. Natural light is healthy for you physically and emotionally. With a forced isolation period, you will want to maintain your morale as much as your mind. Keep that natural light flowing!
Comfort does not necessarily mean slouched back on the couch. You want to set up your learning area in a place that has a chair that offers good back support without being overly hard or uncomfortable. You will need to stand and move around frequently, but while seated, you must ensure that you are comfortable.
Attempt to sit so that your feet can be flat on the floor with your knees at 90 degree angles. The table top should allow you to rest your forearms on the table or be able to type without any stress on your joints.
Take a moment to visualize your work space at school. You may never have noticed that the seats and desk tops are designed to be of optimum support for your posture and note-taking needs. What else do you notice? Maybe you notice that your phone is not allowed on the desk and you are surrounded by others who are working. Try to recreate this environment as much as possible.
A comfortable learning space will allow for you to work with physical comfort and the mental comfort of reduced distractions.
Many schools are moving to a virtual delivery system in which students will still be attending classes, but through online options. It is imperative that you have reliable power nearby to keep your computer or laptop fully charged while you work.
Avoid the need to stretch a power cord across floor surfaces as this may cause a tripping hazard.
Even if you are not required to interact with a class/teacher online, you may truly enjoy watching education videos or taking virtual tours of famous museums and art galleries online. If you feel that you need extra support in any academic area, you can use this time at home to check out the many lessons on all subjects for all ages at Study.com. The short animated video lessons, text lessons, flashcard sets, and practice exams cover every imaginable subject and will give you hours of academic support to keep you learning during your school closure. You will need to keep your device well charged for these activities.
Setting up an effective learning space that is conducive to good mental, physical, and emotional health is important when you must transition to learning from home due to school closures. With a little forethought and planning, you will be able to set up a learning space that will work great for yourself or your children until the COVID-19 crisis is under control and schools have reopened.
Remember, a great learning space:
- Has lots of light.
- Is a comfortable working space with few distractions.
- Has a reliable power source.