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How to create the best home classroom possible

How to create the best home classroom possible

Going back to school will be different this year.

While each school has a unique plan for the upcoming semester, it's likely that most students will spend at least some time learning from home.

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Parents have more time to plan for distance learning this time around, and it's important (for your children's sake and your own) to create an e-learning space that promotes focus and boosts productivity.

We spoke to teachers to discover ways to create a home "classroom" that fosters learning. Here's the advice they gave us for keeping kids on track while distance learning.

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Create a constructive learning pod

The teachers with whom we spoke recommended creating compartmentalized "classroom" spaces. Not every family can dedicate a spare room to e-learning, but parents can create constructive "learning pods" instead, which are segmented spaces within the home where children learn every day. That way, they associate this specific space with schooling and they're better able to focus.

Here are some suggestions to help you build the space:

MyGift Folding Room Divider: $164.99 at Amazon

Block off a small area in any room with a folding divider to eliminate visual distractions. This one is bright and airy, and it won't make kids feel cloistered or cut off from their family during the day.

To segment the space without putting up dividers, you can place a dedicated rug beneath their daily learning area. We recommended one that's educational in design, like this solar system rug.

RoomMates Peel and Stick Wall Decals: $11.56 at Amazon (was $13.99)

For kids whose desks are placed against the wall or in a corner, carve out the space with some neutral wall art. These colorful peel and stick decals are engaging without being distracting.

Teachers often decorate classrooms with anchor charts or educational posters to serve as points of reference. Adorn your kid's space with these vibrant sheets to set the tone for productivity.

Choose school-inspired furniture

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If there's one thing the teachers we interviewed emphasized, it's that parents influence their kids' attitudes. If you take e-learning seriously, your kids are more likely to do the same. One way to establish an effective structure for virtual learning is to invest in school-inspired furniture. This helps kids separate study from play, making it easier for them to switch gears when it's time to log on for class.

Here are a few recommendations for e-learning-appropriate furniture:

Alex Artist Studio Super Art Table: $199.99 at Amazon (was $283.50)

Younger kids often sit at oversized tables at school that allow them to spread out while they work. Choosing a similar one, like this kid-sized art table with storage compartments, will help them simulate the classroom experience and stay in "school mode."

Some kids and teens benefit from flexible seating in classrooms, as it allows them to refocus and collect themselves. This portable desk gives kids the freedom and flexibility to work in more than one approved e-learning space, such as the backyard or at their grandparents' house.

Modway Articulate Mesh Office Chair: $163 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Older kids who spend most of their e-learning time in front of a screen can benefit from a professional-looking ergonomic office chair. This design offers adequate comfort that allows for full focus and productivity.

Introduce structure where possible

The flow of the school year takes on different momentum with e-learning. The teachers we spoke with recommended introducing structure where possible to support kids' learning schedules. Not only does this help young learners stay on track with goals, but it also helps them develop time management and allows them to grow as independently driven learners.

There's more than one way to introduce structure in your kid's e-learning experience, as each child has different needs. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Sticking to a schedule helps kids move seamlessly between online classes. When kids are more aware of time, thanks to these helpful cutouts that illustrate five-minute increments, they're able to stay on task.

Many schools are adopting unique scheduling formats, so it's important to keep everyone in the loop. Maintain a daily class schedule with help from a pocket chart that lends itself to flexibility with movable dry-erase cards.

PACKIT Flex Bento Box: $17.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Make lunchtime an organized affair to ensure meals don't roll over into the upcoming class. Prepare their lunches and snacks as if they're going to school in a lunchbox like this one, so that kids -- and parents -- can grab-and-go without losing track of time or focus.

Find ways to stay organized

When it comes to e-learning, the teachers we spoke with said it's especially helpful for kids to find ways to keep their learning pod in order. A clear space is more calming, which has a positive impact on their performance and behavior.

Here are a few products that can help keep school supplies in order all year long:

Honey-Can-Do Bin Organizer: $49.98 at Amazon (was $120)

Compartmentalizing supplies by school subject is an easy way to make sure your kid is prepared for each class. With a bin organization system like this one, kids are able to reach for their books and supplies without losing time searching for them.

Learning Resources Create-A-Space Storage Center: $14.99 at Amazon (was $18.99)

By keeping essential supplies in one place, it becomes second-nature for your kids to return them to the right spots after use. This carousel-inspired storage center is equipped with eight removable compartments with plenty of space to store supplies.

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DYMO LetraTag Label Maker: $28.97 at Amazon

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Kids need a little help getting their bearings in any new learning space, which is why teachers often recommend labeling drawers, bins, or cubbies. This label maker is easy enough for a kid to use and might come in handy for some assignments, too.

Honey-Can-Do Studio Organizer Cart: $84.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Some kids require dynamic e-learning spaces and might feel too pressed for room to work effectively -- and it may affect their productivity level. To maximize space and storage options, invest in a wheeled organizer that can be moved out of the way when necessary.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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