Move More. Learn More.
I love what I'm creating for my kids.
As I scroll through Facebook, I see so many of my friends showcasing their perfect remote learning rooms. Beautifully organized spaces with cubbies and desks. With whiteboard and learning posters on the walls. An exact replica of what is found in most of our kids' classrooms across the nation. But I didn't want that for my kids. Part of radically changing their learning included also changing their learning space.
Here's what we know - kids need to move and that movement actually can aid in brain development and learning. They need short spurts of focused learning surrounded by plenty of opportunities to get up and move around. We also know that kids are still developing and that sticking them in a desk and chair can lead to a lack of mobility and core strength, as well as obesity. Even if our kids are active outside of the classroom, the time spent in chair trumps this other movement time.
I get why classrooms are set up this way. I've taught a class of 30 kids before and understand the need for order and ease. We learned it in school, but we also learned that we need to adjust our teaching styles and classroom setup to the individual learners, and that just isn't being done anymore.
Part of the decision to move to a complete homeschool environment (not just the remote learning opportunity through the school district) was because I wanted to change how my kids were being taught. I wanted to shift the focus from their performance on the test to being able to run with their natural curiosities and connect learning to those. I wanted them to be released from their shackles and be able to enjoy movement and play as a part of their school day.
So no, my "classroom" doesn't look much like the ones I'm seeing on Facebook. We've converted my massage office to be a hybrid space where the kids can learn and I can work. It features one traditional desk (with a ball for a chair), two-floor desks, and two lap desks. They can sit at a desk, sit on the floor, or stand when doing written and computer work. We have floor cushions and a Bosu ball as sitting options. We have a reading nook with a special blanket. There is a whiteboard, bookshelf, and document rack, but we do need some organization in this space. In the closet, we have 2x4s, stepping stones, and balance domes to use for movement breaks. And of course, we have the ultimate classroom - the outdoors.
It was important to me that we did have a separate learning space, as my son needs that separation from play space to the learning environment to help him focus, but I wanted it to be a space that was calm and not overstimulating. I think I've accomplished that. It remains to be seen how this experiment turns out, but the kids are excited and so am I. The anxiety is beginning to fade as we start connecting with new families and opportunities, and as I start building out their curriculum. I'm almost as excited to work in this space as they are.