As a parent who made the decision to home school my children, I took the task of establishing an appropriate, suitable at-home classroom extremely seriously. I strove to create a learning environment that would inspire my children to enthusiastically take on their learning experiences and also expand their horizons to think about their future with a more open mind.
Create a Specific Learning Space
The creation of a suitable at-home classroom or learning space is second only to the development of an appropriate homeschooling curriculum. I was surprised to learn of a significant number of parents who elect to use the kitchen table, or a similar common space in a residence, as the learning space.
I am strongly of the belief that for a homeschooling program to provide optimal learning opportunities for a child, a space must be set aside in a home specifically for a classroom. Ideally, a separate room is used. If there simply is not additional room to spare (or convert), a portion of an existing space in the home must be segregated, which can be done with a folding screen, or even a by installing a curtain rod with a heavy drape that can be pulled to divide a room.
The most obvious benefit of an exclusive learning space is the fact that my children are now able to engage in their studies and classroom activities without interruption. A less obvious benefit is the classroom environment is confined to a specific space and does not bleed into other areas of the home.
In other words, my children know when and where they are to be involved in their classroom activities and can enjoy the remainder of the home for family related activities. When they enter the ‘classroom’, they know they are now ‘in school’.
Place a Large Work Table in the Classroom
The decision to homeschool freed me from some of the restrictions associated with my children attending public or private school. The reality is that most schools still utilize small desks for their students, desks which actually can restrict the learning process. In my home school classroom, I placed a large work table. The large work table permits my children to spread their papers, books, science equipment, or art supplies out and have plenty of room to engage in a wide array of different types of educational activities. As an aside, I also took the time to find ergonomically designed chairs for my children. Even in a homeschool environment, students spend a good deal of time sitting. By ensuring that their chairs are designed with ergonomic considerations in mind, they are both comfortable and situated in a more healthy manner during the learning process.
Establish a Resource Center
Within the classroom or learning space, I added a resource center. This was another large table on which I now ensure that a wide range of different supplementary educational resources are available for my children, like reference books, a computer, educational kits for specific activities, which enhance the basic curriculum.
Selecting Appropriate and Dynamic Curriculum
Once the physical space is under control, I spent a great deal of time developing the curriculum for my children. I relied heavily on established, reputable provides like AOP Homeschooling. By doing so, I was able to obtain a comprehensive curriculum that not only satisfied my children’s educational objectives but provided print, computer based and online learning opportunities for them.