As the Ontario students have made their decisions to either go back to school or continue the remote learning, having a proper place for them to study at home is now crucial to a good education. Whichever system they are in, the daily 2.00 pm class takes place at home and it does require more than a simple homework desk provides.
Learning from home has been a perpetual part of households with children and it is here to stay for a very long time. Both systems, the full-on homeschooling or doing your homework kind, have minimal needs that your home should meet.
The first step to design is understanding the problem and, in this case, we need to understand the learning mechanisms. Once we look at that, making an optimum space for it is so much easier.
The human brain learns all the time. It picks up things on the go, analyses them, compares them with information already contained, generates thoughts and actions from the combined data.
Photo by Element 5
According to science, we’re better off having designated areas for learning
Donald Hebb posited that when two neutrons send impulses simultaneously, the connections between them, the synapses, grow stronger and as that happens, learning takes place. This theory was based on Pavlov’s experiments on dogs, where the sound of the bell made the dogs salivate knowing that the sound is followed by the presence of food. By the same logic, if you set up a particular area designated to study, you help create that dual synapse that induces learning.
If you think of education as a structured way of making the brain learn, addressing the space where this can take place is extremely important. How the incoming flow of information is received and how you concentrate sufficiently and for a reasonable amount of time in order to process this information are important factors that can be influenced by how you shape the room – or area in the room – you study in.
We live in an era where distraction is a top factor for lower learning capabilities in our children. By setting up a learning hub at home that is conducive to concentration, and even more, helps carve a healthy pattern of concentration in the day, you not only offer physical help and a great place for better education to take place, but you help shape a lifetime of good learning and brain curiosity.
Thus, when setting up your child’s study space successfully, consider the age of the child and take one of the two following approaches:
Photo by Atanas Tsvetkov
For the little ones, ensure your kitchen has ample table room
Smaller children often need a shared study space with a parent that helps and assists. There is no mystery that the kitchen table has been one of the most used spots for such activity. Having a kitchen that allows you as a parent to do some small tasks while occasionally answering questions as your kid works away at their school work or, be fully engulfed in doing it together is not only a practical solution but it also helps the mind of the child relax by bringing domesticity and comfort.
These are both conducive to peace of mind. Kitchens are often the place where a family gathers for meals on a normal day. They are a safe and pleasant environment where everyone relaxes. When you’re in that room, the brain is pre-programmed to enter that state. That’s one of the reasons for which kitchens are so successful at being hubs of family and friends gathering together. They enhance social closeness and individual relaxation.
Photo by Ben Mysc
Give your living room couch a break – let your teens study in their bedrooms
The teenage time is probably one of the most complex stages of emotional and intellectual development toward adulthood. For teenagers their room is their sanctuary. This is where they figure out who they are and what they want to identify with. For that to happen, they need to be safe and comfortable. The teenager’s room as a whole and the objects in it can shape who they will become later. A lot of them have busy rooms with many items, furniture, memorabilia and idol posters on the wall, to a point where they feel overcrowded to an adult’s eye.
One thing you would notice though is the desk in their bedroom is probably the one thing that gets the least use. Where most teenagers learn these days is the couch and, in case of their bedrooms the bed. So, make sure the bed is comfortable, has a lot of light, many pillows so that you can sit in a variety of ways, and definitely a large nightstand for all the extra books, papers, coloured pens and markers that you don’t want on their comforter. With all that at their fingertips, the young adults will feel more prone to go through their class and study material and will make the learning more integrated with their preferred way of living.
Photo by Nicole Wolf
Source the right furniture
So now that we know what we’re looking for, here are my suggestions to quickly spruce up your learning space:
For the ones that still go for it, look for fun ones that will look good in the space and not feel institutional and school-like.
Look for a mix of firmer and softer ones. This will allow you to create an “armchair effect” in your bed.
Photo by Kinga Cichewitz
Comfortable chairs for your kitchen table
Make sure your kitchen table, or island for that matter, has comfortable seats. Nothing like being physically uncomfortable while studying. In this kitchen that I’ve designed, the Cerner classic chairs are upholstered in soft, plum-coloured leather that makes them perfect for longer seating time.