Home schooling area.

Home Classroom Ideas For Remote Learning Success

Lauren Nowacki9-Minute Read
September 14, 2020

Back to school is looking a little different this year for many children across the U.S.

Due to COVID-19, school-aged children across the U.S. will be attending classes at home. For some families, it’s the safest option; for others, it’s a requirement.

The pandemic has forced many school districts to switch to remote learning for at least the start of the school year, leaving parents to figure several things out on their own, including how to ensure their child doesn’t fall behind.

Mom and son watching a teaching video.

Remote Learning Vs. Homeschooling

While some have compared this situation to homeschooling, the two types of learning from home are different.

One of the key differences between homeschooling and remote learning is that in a homeschooling situation, the parents or caregivers are the teachers. They choose the curriculum, the schedule and teaching style and where the teaching will take place, whether in a dedicated homeschool space or throughout the home, outdoors or in a public place, like a museum or nature center.

Remote learning, also called distance learning, is led by a teacher and run through the school district. These entities choose the curriculum, the schedule and the teaching style. And since the lessons are typically conducted over the computer with multiple students at a time, remote learners will need a work area dedicated to their studies. Their lessons aren’t tailored to their specific, individual needs, nor built to meet nor use their specific environment.

Whether parents opted for remote learning or the decision was made for them, the onus is on them to create a home classroom that sets their children up for success.

10 Steps To Creating A Home Classroom

Studious young boy doing homework.

Step 1. Pick The Right Space

Not being able to go to school, see friends, and have a normal routine is already hard enough. By not having a space of their own, kids can feel even more out of sorts. Having a space just for them, where they know where supplies are and where to put their things, helps establish a familiarity that can be comforting.

If you have room in your home to create an entire space or room that’s dedicated to school, use it. You’ll have a place to store all the things your child will need for school and keep it from taking over your home. Not only that, but it provides a way to signal the start and end of a school day.

If you don’t have a separate space in your home and need to resort to a room doing double duty, choose an area that’s comfortable and accessible, has good lighting and has the least amount of distractions.

If your home classroom is in an area that has more than one purpose, for example a kitchen table, find a way that allows you to easily assemble and disassemble the learning space daily.

Step 2. Confer With Your Student

One important thing to remember is that, just like you, your child may not have been given the option of at-home or in-school learning and is making sacrifices, too. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, including our kids.

Involving your student in the creation of their home classroom will help make them part of the experience, help them feel more in control of their situation and may even provide some excitement in an otherwise upsetting situation.

Step 3. Make It Familiar

While you can use this opportunity to involve your child in creating their own space, adding a few familiar school pieces can make them feel like a part of their school, even while they’re away from it. Bring in elements from their own school experience, like a classroom banner, a classroom clock, lockers or other items they may see around their school.

Products: Alphabet And Numbers Classroom Wall Line; Sandusky Lee Kids Locker; PUGG Wall Clock.

Step 4: Utilize Whiteboards, Bulletin Boards Or Chalkboards

Another familiar object to include in your home classroom is a whiteboard, bulletin board or chalkboard, which can be used to decorate, organize, schedule the day, brainstorm ideas, display motivational words, or hang up your kid’s A+ assignments.

Products: Flat Black Chalkboard Paint; Yaheetech Tripod Whiteboard Easel; Cork Board.

Step 5. Limit Distractions

Learning from home comes with its own set of distractions – especially if you’re working from home at the same time and sharing a space with your child.

Because you may need to complete work while overseeing what your children are doing, creating a space – especially a coworking space – with as little distraction as possible is ideal.

To help your child focus, consider getting them a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, setting up a privacy screen or keeping a fidget toy close by.

Product: Mpow CH8 Kids Headphones With Microphone 2-Pack; Pacon Recycled Privacy Board; Zuru Original Fidget Cube By Antsy Labs.

Step 6: Assemble Your Basic Supplies

Wherever you decide to teach your kids in your home, there are a few items you’ll need to help your children succeed. These are the supplies you typically buy when you go back-to-school shopping that are essential to any average school year. These include pencils, notebooks, folders, crayons, markers and the like. Your child’s school should supply a list of the basics.

Of course, with classes moving online, there are additional things you may need, like a computer and webcam.

Products: Back To School Supplies Essential Bundle; HP 11.6" Chromebook; GL68 HD Webcam.

Step 7: Make Sure You Have Enough Accessible Surface Space

Along with the right supplies, your kids will need a good amount of space to work. Finding ample space can be even more difficult if you have more than one child. The dining room or kitchen table could be a great spot for multiple students to complete their projects.

And if you need to pack up your classroom every night or want to avoid messing up your nice furniture, a simple 6-foot craft table on trestles can be a great option, too.

While individual desks can be nice, tables can allow you to walk around to each student or sit with the child as you help them with their work.

To get as much usable surface area as possible, store books and supplies in nearby shelves or portable storage containers that are just a reach away.

Products: MICKE Desk; Lexington 3-Tier Rolling Cart; Mainstays 6' Centerfold Folding Table.

Step 8. Consider Workplace Ergonomics

Workplace ergonomics help improve productivity and prevents musculoskeletal issues, like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, slouching, low back pain and muscle strains.

A few tips for proper ergonomics include:

  • Making sure feet rest on the floor. If not, use a footrest below your desk.

  • Keep wrists in a neutral position when using a mouse or keyboard. Wrist rests can help.

  • Position your monitor straight in front of you, just below the top of your head and at a height that allows you to view the screen with just a slight downward gaze.

There are several items, like the ones listed below, that can help you achieve a safer and more comfortable workspace for your student.

Products: Mind Reader Mesh Monitor Stand And Desk Organizer; Mind Reader Adjusted Height Foot Rest; SZYAN Keyboard And Mouse Wrist Rest Pads.

Step 9. Remember Computer Safety

Chances are, the majority of your child’s learning will take place on the computer, so set your child up for safety and success by giving them their own user account so all of their stuff is on their own desktop, in their own folders. You’ll want to set up parental controls and increase the security settings on the computer, too.

Along with cyber safety, there’s also physical safety for your child and computer to consider.

Since your child will be staring at the screen for longer periods of time, you can help prevent eye strain by getting non-prescription glasses that filter blue light.

To save storage space and keep your computer from running slow, save files to an external hard drive. And to keep your computer in top physical condition, consider a laptop case to keep your computer clean and a cable organizer to prevent computer cords from getting damaged.

Products: MARIDA Blue Light Blocking Glasses Kids 2-Pack; WD Easystore Portable Hard Drive; J Channel Desk Cable Organizer Set.

Step 10. Create And Stick To A Home Classroom Budget

According to a recent survey by Credit Karma, many parents do not feel financially prepared to cover the costs of at-home learning and some are going into debt doing so. One of the most important steps in supporting your child’s at-home learning is to create a budget.

When it comes to budgeting for your home classroom, follow these simple steps.

  • Make a list of what you need based on your classroom design and what the school requires.

  • Divide your list into two categories: must-haves and nice-to-haves.

  • Decide how much you can spend total, then parcel the money out among specific budget lines, covering the “must-haves” first.

  • Stick to your budget!

Your budget lines may include much of what we listed above: basic school supplies, remote learning necessities and classroom decorations.

Once you have your budget, see how you can save money and what you can do for free.

  • Find opportunities for DIY. Assess what you already have or what you can create from what you no longer use.

  • Opt for secondhand. Consider buying used furniture and refurbished computers. Peruse online marketplaces, thrift stores and garage sales.

  • Find free internet. If you don’t already have internet and need it for your child’s learning, check to see if you have any free options. You may be able to use your cell phone as a hotspot or borrow your neighbor’s Wi-Fi. Some internet providers have set up free hotspots for the public to use and created free Wi-Fi programs during the pandemic.

  • Get a library card. You may be surprised by what your local library has to offer, including ebooks, videos, computers with internet access and supplemental education programs.
Young girl doing math homework while her mom cooks in the background.

Other Remote Learning Tips

Help Students Find The Best Ways To Get Extra Help

If you’re working with the school district for your child’s remote learning, it’s important to remember that your job is to help facilitate, not teach. While they’ll have an experienced teacher and you to help them, your child’s learning needs may extend beyond the classroom. You can find additional help through such resources as the Khan Academy, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning or through personal tutors.

Stay In Touch With Teachers

Even if you’ll be home with your child, you most likely won’t be present for all of their learning, so make sure you’re staying in touch with your children’s teachers to make sure they’re turning in their work and behaving on screen. You’ll want to also address any learning gaps or other issues your child may be having learning from home.

Find out what classroom communication tools each teacher is using, learn about the teacher’s websites and ask the teachers for their preferred contact.

Find Support

Even the most avid homeschoolers like to get help and receive encouragement. Several parents are adjusting to this new reality just like you, so reach out to your loved ones with kids to see how they’re doing and discuss what has been successful or difficult for them and you.

Reach out to other parents in your children’s classes and see if they’d like to meet up for a socially distanced playdate or after-school field trip.

Father and son working from home together.

Summary: You’ve Arrived At Your Home Classroom

Changing to remote learning will be an adjustment for you and your children. And more changes may come along as the COVID-19 situation changes throughout the coming months. If it’s taught us anything, it’s resilience and adaptation.

While a decked-out home classroom can help your kids feel excited for the school year and even help them focus and be more productive, it’s crucial to remember what’s most important – that your child feels safe, happy and cared for as they go through a new learning experience. And that goes beyond the space in your home.

With that said, if you do feel that having more space will help, Rocket HomesSM can help you find a home that’s perfect for living and learning.

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We’ll help you find it.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.