Distance Learning & The Organized Home

Distance Learning
Photo: New York Times

Distance Learning & The Organized Home

We at Changing Places have run out of adjectives to describe life in the “new COVID-19 era”–different, challenging and uncertain are a few. Adding a layer of stress to our lives here in Northern California? The wildfires that are still raging in several counties, threatening homes and life and sanity. Oh, and school just started for many of our kids.

We know this much is true: Your home should be your haven. It should be a place where you find refuge, calm, peace and comfort. The dynamic and stressful world outside should stay outside.

The Optimal Kid’s Workspace

For most American families, the new school year has begun remotely from home, aka “distance learning”. We’ve collected several great tips to optimize the calm and order in your home, while also creating a productive learning space for your kids.

This New York Times article provides awesome tips for setting up a great, productive remote learning space for your kids:

  • Carve out space for schoolwork based on your child’s age and learning style.
  • Consider a rolling cart for moving school supplies from room to room on the fly.
  • label maker can transform any workspace into one that feels neat and organized.
  • Hang a large white board in your kids’ work area and, depending on their age, use it to help them chart their various meetings and tasks, or do so for your entire family.
  • Headphones are not so much an organizational tool as they are a sanity tool. If you’re trying to work while one kid watches Khan Academy and the other enjoys Sesame Street, you’ll be glad for a set of headphones.

Home School Organizing
Photo: The Container Store

Kitchen, Cafeteria or Workspace??

An organized home that’s optimal for distance learning doesn’t stop at the desk.

Make sure your kitchen is ready for hungry kids taking a break from learning. Our blog on kitchen organizing tips is a great place to start.

Parents Magazine offers advice on adapting your kitchen and dining space into prime real estate for home learning:

  • Ensure that the kitchen or dining space is well lit, and that everyone has individual spaces.
  • Buy portable dividers like these to ensure each child focuses on her own work.
  • For snack breaks, dedicate a roomy drawer, a pantry basket, or an entire shelf to items like lunch boxes, water bottles and each kid’s favorite snacks, or they’ll end up living on the kitchen island 24/7!
  • Centralize charging. Set up a docking station for phones, tablets, and laptops so everyone can easily find them but they won’t inhabit every outlet you need for appliances. If you can’t spare counter space, use a side table in your family room or dining room.

Organized Pantry
Photo: www.aspoonfullofstyle.com

Kitchen Organizing
Photo: www.mikaperry.com

We’re All In This Together

Many of us at Changing Places have kids, while balancing the work or organizing and relocating clients. As a working mom running Changing Places and raising two kids schooling from home, here are my tips for sanity since the pandemic began:

  • Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
  • Develop a family calendar that’s visible to everyone.
  • Have the occasional quick daily family huddle after dinner. You and your partner (and your kids if they’re old enough) can review the week’s upcoming events together.
  • Learn how to say no to over-committing your time, energy and money. I find that the magic word “no” saves me stress!
  • Prep at night for the next day. Best. Advice. Ever.
  • If you’re still stuck, don’t feel your home is organized, and can’t find the time to tackle it yourself, call Changing Places!

Katie Carr
August 28, 2020