Expert suggests home classroom, daily routine, and structure for those learning from home

A good set up for your home classroom and establishing a daily routine is crucial for virtual school success.

For Heather Mellet, consistency is key. Her son is entering 8th grade through Florida Virtual School and she wants to keep the learning experience as normal as possible. 

Her plan for each day is that after his morning bike ride to get some exercise in, her son's school day will begin. He will sit down in his work area that has become a home classroom.

Dr. Kimberly Renk, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Central Florida (UCF) suggests that kids have a workspace where they do their studies every day, citing that "you want to have them be able to go to the same space every day to do their work so that becomes the familiar space where school work is done."

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Dr. Renk is also the Director of the Understanding Young Children and Families Research Clinic and La. She said that working in the same place every day can trigger students to succeed, explaining that "if you can set up the same environment to do the same activity repeatedly, what tends to happen is your environmental cues will be linked to the activity that’s happening there."

Consistency must go beyond the home classroom though. For example, "getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting teeth brushed, some families may prefer to do a little exercise in the morning if they walked to school and then coming home and setting up what the school days will look like," Dr. Renk said.

She even suggests making kids dress as if they were going to school. Don't let them stay in their pajamas all day, have them follow a structure of classes like a typical school day, and keep the pace moving consistently.

In addition, Dr. Renk expressed that  "I don’t think it’s wise to compact all the academic learning for one stretch of time, it should be this subject followed a by a break, this subject followed by a snack, this subject followed by lunch, this subject followed by some physical activity."

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Heather's family is preparing for the return of school now, shifting bedtimes and schedules to become a little more structured. 

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the rest of the FOX 35 Classroom Survival Guide as schools prepare to reopen.