Students learning virtually should have a designated work space

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Class is back in session for thousands of kids, as parochial schools reopened on Wednesday. Public school kids head back to class next week, some in-person, others virtually. Experts say having a workspace for students, who are going to back to school at home is very important.

Virtual classes don't start until next week for kids in Appleton, but 3rd grader Riley McCormick's paper, pencils, and markers are in place and ready for the first day of school.

According to his mom, Trina McCormick, "We went shopping and as soon as we got home, he set up his workspace all himself. He didn't want any help from mama, at all, which I loved because I was like if he's invested in it and he's along the journey, hopefully he'll use it."

The school set up in the McCormick home is a new edition for fall, after seeing how he did virtual school back in the spring.

Trina McCormick says, "He was distracted by every other thing in the house and every hour it seemed like he had a different spot in the house he was working from and it was hard to keep him focused on his schoolwork."

ThedaCare pediatrician Dr. Kevin Hayes, recommends virtual learners have their own designated space for school. It should be an area of the house specifically set up for learning -- and nothing else.

"The last thing you want to do is have them kind of laying on the couch or on their bed, propped up pillows and things like that because it's just not a good learning environment," adds Dr. Hayes.

The space should be free of distractions. It can be very elaborate or simple. Virtual school allows students and families to prepare their spaces to meet their individual needs.

Dr. Hayes says, “It does give you a unique opportunity to do something different. Instead of having to sit in that exact seat at your desk in your classroom you can make it something different that’s maybe more stimulating for you.”

However students choose to set up their work spaces, Dr. Hayes recommends sticking to a schedule once classes start, because even though students might not be physically in a school building, it’s still their job to learn. He adds, “The school day is a school day and it’s not an opportunity to just take a year off.”

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