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At-Home Learning Environments

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Distance learning, home schooling, hybrid models all have something in common… kids learning at home. In preparation for this fall, many parents and caregivers are grappling with the strong possibility that their learners will be doing at least some of their core school learning at home. This poses a swath of challenges to teachers and parents alike. Included could be the question: where is the best place in the house for my child to learn, and how do I create a space that will support their learning?

Last Spring, schools and districts across the nation shifted from in person to fully remote learning almost overnight. I still remember keeping my children home on a Friday out of fear that it was no longer safe for them to go to school. That weekend, our governor announced that all schools across the state would be closed and all learning should transition to virtual. Weeks became months, and before we knew it, it was the end of the school year.

At best, we pieced things together as best we could. My kids (I have a first and fourth grader) learned wherever we had space. That included the kitchen table, a table set up in our basement family room, my office, their bedroom, even outside (when the weather cooperated). None of those places were perfect, or even close to optimal, but we made it work.

This Fall, things can be different. We won't have to just make it work, we can design the types of learning spaces that will support our children as they continue to learn at home. Not only will this reduce the stress, but it can increase engagement and make kids feel like they have a special place to learn.

What follows are some questions to ask, some thoughts to consider, and some suggestions to get you started.

Let’s begin with probably the single most important question to answer before considering how to set up your child’s learning space(s)... how will your child be engaging in their learning? In other words, will it be all online? Will it be a combination of different experiences? This is a critical thing to nail down, as it will inform all the decisions you make. Each experience type, or what I would call a mode of learning, can be supported by a learning space thoughtfully designed to support that mode.

Here are some approaches to learning (modes) in which your learner may engage and the corresponding design considerations: