Preparing Your Home for Academic Success

Mother and daughter studying with laptop

As we continue to adjust to the new normal as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many things seem to be uncertain about our future. As we approach September, going back to school is top-of-mind with many families. Whether your kids will be going back to the classroom and doing homework at home, or spending the school year learning online, the Good Hands Advice team has developed the following tips to ensure that your home is prepared for the academic year.

Teenage boy listening to music while doing homework
Teenage boy listening to music while doing homework

Set up a learning corner

An important step to being productive at home is dedicating a specific space for work. For students, it could be something as simple as a corner in their bedroom, the garage or common area like a living room. It’s a simple trick to train our brains into thinking that space is dedicated ONLY to work.
Rid the learning corner of distractions

While home, it may be hard to concentrate on schooling when there are distractions (television, video games, phones, etc.), so move them as far away from the learning corner as possible. If they absolutely need to have a phone nearby, put it on silent mode.

Purchasing the right items

To make sure your home is set up for academic success, it’s important that the learning corner be fully equipped. Needs will vary from person to person, but here are some basics that are great to have, no matter the age.

  • Laptop Computer/Tablet – Do you have the right computer equipment and software? Is everything up-to-date and running smoothly? Technical challenges can interfere with productivity. If you do not have access to a home computer, laptop or tablet, speak with your child’s teacher to see if their school has a loaner program.
  • Notebook, pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. – Sometimes, kicking it old school with a pen and paper is the way to go. Many people approach their learning differently, so be sure to have options as your student figures out what works for them.
  • Calendar/agenda/calculator – Many rely on their phones to check the calendar, maintain an agenda, or use their calculator, but that phone may also be a distraction. A physical calendar, agenda, or calculator may help keep the phone down.
  • Noise-canceling headphones – For those that are easily distracted, or in a common area, noise-cancelling headphones may be the best thing to purchase. It will block out most noise that might otherwise cause a distraction.
  • Desk – A desk, or a sturdy surface for work, will not only improve posture, but will help make it feel more like school.

Have a schedule

The common theme to this article is about adjusting mindsets to work in an environment that isn’t typically perceived for that purpose, especially after the summer.

Humans are creatures of habit. Routine places the idea of stability in our minds. In school, days are broken down by “periods”. When studying from home, follow that concept as well by dedicating an hour to each subject.
Not only will it provide a bit of structure, it will keep students sharp by not dwelling too long on one particular topic.

For older students who are used to alternating classrooms per period, consider setting up learning corners in different parts of the house to go to for every period of work. That may help remove feelings of confinement by only working in one section of the house.

Schedule Social Time

Unfortunately, the downside to learning from home is the lack of social interactions with classmates. Therefore, schedule free time of two 15 minute and one half hour break for students to leave the desk, stretch, and walk around. They can use the break to call friends or use social media. Maintaining social time is important to avoid feeling burnout.

Also, be sure to encourage them to go outside and get some exercise. Whether it’s working out in the garage, or going for a walk around the block, ensuring that time away from the computer and notebooks will do wonders for your student’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Have any tips you would like to share? Put your thoughts in the comments below.