Let’s face it – our lives have changed drastically in the last six months as a result of COVID-19. And there’s likely more changes to come. While many buyers and sellers are still in the market, others have decided to put house-hunting on hold for now. Many of our clients have struggled over the years to carve out spaces for their own home offices. Now our clients who have hit “pause” on house-hunting are sharing that their biggest challenge right now is finding space to school their kids at home, while still maintaining the spaces they need to successfully work from home.
The struggle is real!
TIP #1 – Involve your “students” (your children) It can be tempting to plan out a space that works for you as the educator. But think about your audience – your students! Getting input from your children early in the process could save you a lot of time, aggravation, and money down the road. Think, too, about what inspires your children to learn (and what you know about how they are most successful in an educational environment).
TIP #2 – Use the entire house (and yard) as a “classroom” Ideally, every child will have a desk in their room. Individual assignments can be worked on at the desk; a large table in a common area can be a great spot to come together for group projects and learning. If your child already has a desk, but hasn’t been using it for learning, this is the time to clean and refresh it. You may not have a dedicated room that you can use. That’s ok! Think about setting up portable learning stations throughout the house. This won’t work for every family (some parents want “school-free” rooms in their house, but it might work for you! Depending on the climate where you live, you may be able to spend a significant amount of time outdoors. Doing so exposes your children to a wider range of environments (always good for learning) and can cut down on the boredom factor.
TIP #3 – Add a blackboard, or whiteboard These surfaces can help you outline assignments, and can offer fun opportunities for creative play as well.
TIP #4 – Use all six surfaces in a room Walls are great spots for posters, pictures, charts, timelines, and maps but don’t forget the ceiling too! Maybe you want to focus on some fun galaxy or solar system posters there. Think about spots you can sneak in learning opportunities. For example, science-loving kids may get a kick out of this rug featuring the periodic table and it’s a great way to use the sixth surface in a room – the floor!
TIP #5 – Make organization a priority All of a sudden, you have a lot more stuff in your home than you did before! Invest in bookcases and/or cubbies. Clearly label what goes where. Wheeled storage bins can be a lifesaver! Even humble milk crates can be put to good use – they’re perfect for tossing supplies and learning materials into if you’re heading outside to learn. And if you are schooling more than one child, color coding is your friend. Metal rolling carts can be curated for different subjects – science, art, history – and rolled out of the way when not in use.
TIP #6 – Build in comfort Children, and especially younger children, won’t want to sit in one spot all day. To maximize their comfort, be sure you have kid-sized chairs. Floor pillows, while torture for most adults, are a great options for children.
TIP #7 – Headphones are a must Whether you’re using them to block out noise from your children’s learning activities or they’re using them to block out your work activities, a set of headphones for every family member may be a wise investment.
TIP #8 – Be flexible and keep an open mind No matter how carefully you craft a space to learn at home, remember that your home environment can’t completely replicate a classroom setting (unless you have been home-schooling long-term). For the short term, you’re going to be using your space differently than you may have intended when you purchased your home. Staying in a home that no longer serves your needs can be tough! If reworking your current space isn’t working for you and you’re ready to hop into the market, let’s talk. We’ve got strategies and solutions to help you find a home that meets your needs right now!