Are you looking for more “picture perfect” learning this year? When designing the perfect learning environment, here are some things worth thinking about.
You probably already use many of the ideas, but if you’re like me…you like all of the ideas you can get!
Less is more.
Many times I’ve tried to gather all of the materials possible so something will strike a chord and inspire learning. While sometimes you won’t be able to offer any choices, fewer choices are usually more appealing than tons. Imagine I gave you 78 ideas here. Yeah, a little overwhelming.
Choice is important.
While I just poo-pooed the idea of offering tons of choices, choice is important. When someone hands you something and tells you to use it, you might accept it, but does it really fit you?
Do you really read every book people suggest? Do you prepare every recipe in your favorite recipe book?
Give your kids the same option. This or that. Show what you know by writing, creating a design, blogging about it, and on and on.
Add a touch of cheer.
While you probably don’t want to make over your family room into a classroom with posters, a cursive alphabet running atop a board, and a reading nook (okay, yes, the reading nook does rock!), you do want it to be a comfy and engaging place. Even if you don’t have the room, a book nook is easy to do.
Post a bulletin board for finished work, create a separate login on the computer and have your child choose a desktop wallpaper and screensaver, let your child pick out a really cute journal for recording reactions to readings, or find a colorful book bin.
Adding cheer will add invitation. Drudgery flies out the door when you have your purple pen and cutesy notebook to write in.
Get your game on.
Games are oh, so educational and easily forgotten. Playing Apples to Apples, Battleship, and all of the Thinkfun games will engage your child and also teach them skills like critical thinking, coordinates, and spatial reasoning.
Online games are great too! Build in some time if you’re following a boxed curriculum. You just might find that your child is learning bunches!
Set up negotiables and non-negotiables.
What really has to get done. What doesn’t? Though you may think your child already understands the difference (if you even have a difference), he may not.
If he decides to create a new animal to show how animals adapt in different habitats instead of answering those questions, isn’t that still addressing the objective of the lesson? Cover your bases, then let your child steal some learning ideas of his own on the side!
Don’t forget to unwind.
Before, after, and during. I settle in with my work before turning over my focus to my son’s learning for the day. I get to wake up and he gets some quiet reading time in. It’s relaxing and eases us into the learning. If you start when the bell rings, do you take a leisurely lunch, or finish up early and chill.
What works best for you, may not work best for your child. Who’s learning is it all about anyway? If you’re truly designing the best learning environment for your child, his attitude, personality, and learning style should be the focus of your day. Consider changes that may be uncomfortable for you if it benefits your child.
Your child’s style.
Many people disregard their child’s style when setting up a homeschooling plan. If your child is a late riser, starting at the crack of dawn with coffee cup in hand just isn’t going to cut it for your young learner.
Keeping your child’s attention can come by taking breaks, starting learning when it suits your child’s needs, and even offering projects or down time during the day. Teachers often work in 20-30 minute blocks of time changing from reading silently to listening to a reader, to working independently to working with a group. It helps. Gauge your learners habits to find what clicks for him.
Your child’s style also includes his temperament, personality, sleep habits, eating habits, strengths and weaknesses in learning and learning style, and interests.
Whether you join some of the homeschooling Facebook groups (there are tons), visit Pinterest to get some ideas, read homeschooling blogs, or get personalized support, you can have some picture perfect learning going on this year. Even if you don’t have family or friends, reaching out to Meetup groups or going to a homeschool conference can make you feel not so alone.
Reach out, ask questions, give advice, and remember to do WHAT WORKS FOR YOU (and your child)!
So, use these tools and what you already know that works and make some picture perfect learning.
(Just disregard that pile of laundry off to the side of the photo! It’s called reality-people.)
Have a great new learning year!