This is the first blog in a series of back-to-school posts in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. Back to School: Is your student’s learning space ready for the fall? As back-to-school season kicks off, it’s looking more likely that many (if not most) students will be learning from home again this fall. And there’s no doubt that this school year will be anything but ordinary. On the plus side, now that we have more time to plan, it could be an opportunity to consider how to create an effective home learning environment. Planning and designing a home learning space could boost their spirits and create excitement about the year ahead. Is your student feeling down about missing time with their friends, or the routine of a typical school year? Planning and designing a home learning space could boost their spirits and create excitement about the year ahead. Below we include ideas for how to get started and a few considerations. Where to put it. It might seem very natural to put the student’s learning space in their bedroom, but that might be worth reconsidering. The closer their study area is to a bed, the more distracting it can be to take a quick nap or lay down for a minute and watch Netflix. If there’s any way to find space outside the bedroom, with minimal distractions, that could be a better option. The big stuff. When evaluating furniture, the chair might be the most important component of a learning space. You want something that’s comfortable, and ergonomically supportive, but not so comfy that it inspires sleep and relaxation. The desk should also be large enough to accommodate a student’s learning supplies, but not so big that it invites clutter and a place to store distractions. Considering tech needs. What kind of basic technology needs will be required? Clearly WiFi and an efficient computer will be very important. Does your student use a desktop screen? If they do, do they need a second screen, or high-quality headphones to make video calls easier? Thinking about anything that could help them be successful (within reason of course) could be a worthwhile investment this year. Keep things organized. When working in a virtual environment, students are required to manage their own projects, which is why it’s so important for them to stay organized. A dry erase board could provide a helpful way for your student to have clear visuals of the days and weeks ahead and any upcoming deadlines. Also, when taking virtual classes, students will still receive documents they have to print off. Keeping all of their files for each class organized in a separate notebook can help to keep things simple and easy to reference. Add a calming element. Any of us can attest to the benefits of a calming element in our study or office spaces. This can be as simple as a plant, a fish bowl, or an inspiring landscape or art photo. Or maybe your student might want to add a diffuser to incorporate essential oils into their study area. Anything to calm their mind and inspire creativity could be a welcome addition to their learning space. Incorporate tactile tools and supplies. Some students may be more tactile-focused than others. It can be helpful to have atlases, globes, or reference books available for these students to use in their studies. You might also want to include art supplies or an opportunity for your student to doodle. There is significant evidence that pursuing art can help students learn more effectively, improve their writing skills and boost their social skills. What better time to try to tap into those benefits than right now! To learn more about how ALVS can help support your student this school year, visit: www.apexlearningvs.com.