Do you remember that Staples commercial? The one with the father back-to-school shopping with his kids. He’s smiling while “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background.

Well, the new school year has begun. But for most of us, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year that it usually is.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this upcoming school year a big fat question mark. School boards were constantly locked away with the drawing board.

Parents couldn’t do anything but wait for news. And there’s nothing worse than waiting. This was already a strange and unconventional school year.

I’m here today to help you set up an at home school station for success. Whether your child is remote learning full-time or part-time, my tips are sure to ease your worries.

Setting up a space for distance learning

One of the first things you need to figure out is where. Where can you set up an effective working space for your child? It doesn’t have to be huge. All kids really need is a desk and supplies.

And a power socket. You’ll need to make sure their laptops and tablets are juiced up. What better place to set up a desk than near an outlet?

Once you find that dedicated spot, consider how you’ll set up your zones. What will they need? Pens. Pencils, Markers. Ruler. Glue. The age of your child and their grade will determine this. Hopefully, the school sent you a list of supplies. Get everything on that list.

Here are some key zones you want to focus on:

  • Pen & marker cups.
  • Paper tray for loose assignments.
  • Wall-mounted shelves (if applicable).
  • Binder. You can either have one per subject or one central binder.

Another thing to consider is a dry erase board. Use it as a calendar or write an inspiring message or quote on it each morning.

Finally, ask your child for their input. If this is going to be their work station, you want them to be excited to sit there.

Let them decorate it. Their creative touch will make it their own. I understand how much of a wrench virtual learning has thrown into our lives. Believe me, I do. But getting your kids excited about it will ease everyone’s stress.

School station set up ideas

Now that you’ve got some insight into how best to create a space, let’s look at some creative ideas to spruce it up.

If you have more than one child, consider using short bookshelves as blockers. The divider will feel natural and create an open space concept for both kids. This way they won’t feel on top of each other. They’ll have their own zones and supplies.

Tight on space? Invest in a rolling cart for supplies. Perfect for storing pencil cups, paper, rulers, and more. It’s convenient to use and can be pushed into any corner at night.

Want to hold yourself and your child accountable? Set up your workspace near theirs. Children mimic adults. If they see you focused on your work, it’ll encourage them to do the same. Get up too often and stare out the window and watch them follow suit.

Invest in lighting. If there isn’t enough natural light, buy a desk lamp. You want your kids to actually see their assignments.

Don’t make it too comfortable.

Let’s face it, we all know how uncomfortable school desks and chairs are. Yet work gets done because what other choice do we have? By allowing your kids — or you — to work on your cushy couch or warm bed, you’re tricking your body into thinking it can relax.

Yes, we want to be comfortable. But being too comfortable can cause our focus to dwindle. There’s even the chance you’ll fall asleep! The last thing we want is for our kids to fall asleep during school.

Tips for successful virtual learning

Ok, the work station is all set up. Now what?

The key to successful virtual learning is eliminating distractions. And unfortunately, working — and learning — from home is filled with distractions. Television, toys, iPads, video games; the list goes on. Here are some tips to ensure complete focus and productivity.

  1. Noise canceling headphones. Have you ever heard a truck rumbling down the street and stopped to watch it? I know, right! Trucks are cool. You know who also loves trucks? Kids. They love anything that makes a lot of noise. Trucks. Construction vehicles. Motorcycles. You need to block the temptation out. Get rid of any unwanted noise by investing in a pair of noise canceling headphones.
  1. Safeguard the computer. Just because your child is on the computer doesn’t mean they’ll be tuned into school the whole time. With Wi-Fi needed to attend virtual classes, how do you stop them from going to a site they shouldn’t be on? Especially during school hours. There’s a lot of site-blocking apps available. Self Control is one of the best. Simply download it onto the desktop, put in the sites you don’t want your child on, and set the timer. Anytime they try to go to one of those sites, Self Control will block it out.
  1. Prepare the night before. You may not be rushing your kids out of bed each morning, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be smooth sailing. Prepare everything the night before. Tidy up their desk. Meal prep. The best thing we can do during this time is keep things as normal as possible. If you planned out your clothes the night before, continue to do so. If you knew what you were going to make them for lunch, have it made and ready to go. Keeping to a normal schedule will help your kids adjust as well as you.

2020 has been anything but predictable. Believe me, we’ve all been hit hard by this pandemic. But there’s always a workaround. A way to shine some kind of light on a dark situation.

I’m here to tell you that you can do this!

Remote learning can be successful. If you put the time and effort into creating a space that promotes productivity, it’ll work out.

If you’re stuck on how to make that at home work station flawless, contact us. Project Neat has your back. So drop us a line if you need some help and let’s get through this together.