“Remote learning” were two words not previously associated before March 2020. Now, this small phrase has become an integral part of millions of lives for a year and a half. There are still millions of kids confined to the coffee table or kitchen island. This solution is neither a practical nor a healthy option for parents or children. Integrating a kid’s study area into your home does not require a renovation. Here are a few thoughts on the benefits of a designated study area, as well as things to remember when incorporating this space.
The dining table is a multi-function platform, as we all well know. While often utilized as the occasional homework area, many have seen it take on this role full-time. Covid has forced many adjustments around the home, and remote learning is just one more to add to the list. We all had to shift our lives to accommodate accordingly. This rush to a new norm left many students (and teachers) unsure of how to approach this new frontier of learning. Parents struggled as well, taking on the new role of classroom supervisor and teacher at times. For many, the makeshift classroom became the kitchen counter, the coffee table, or the parental office, which is less than ideal. With this full-time move, these surface’s primary function was lost. Families have had their space for gathering taken over with notebooks and pencils. Study areas must have a distinct identity so the rest of the home can keep theirs.
Whether a study area or an office, homeowners want this secondary space dedicated to this function. This concept should not invoke a sense of panic for those who do not have an open room available for a dedicated office or study space. The area does not have to be large to be effective. A study corner in the living room or a formal desk in a child’s bedroom will all be conducive. There is always the option to turn a room into a double-duty space. You can do this by incorporating moveable options that can be tucked away when needed, such as short filing cabinets on wheels that can be rolled under the desk when not in use.
If there are multiple children remote learning, we recommend providing each of them their own space. You can accomplish this if there is a free wall that can take on a built-in. You can establish multiple desks within the built-in as well as storage. The structure can be built in a spacious shared bedroom or the parental office, space permitting. Each child needs a designated area to complete their work.
When you have decided on where the workspace will be, there are a few things to keep in mind before filling it. When teaching became remote, many parents rushed to get the first desk they could find. This response led to many desks arriving with no storage, which is essential. To keep everything tidy, we recommend using a bookshelf with cubbies nearby, so it is easy to pull out only what is needed when it is necessary. Whether it is a desk with lower cabinets or a bookshelf, plan for some organizational tools.
We have discussed desk storage but do not forget about vertical storage, especially useful in smaller spaces. There is usually plenty of wall space, so use it. The usage can be in a tall bookshelf, floating shelves, or even corkboards where the child can hang their calendar and assignments. It’s a forgotten asset that you can use to capitalize overlooked space. When width is unavailable, think upwards.
Standing desks have been much more popular since the pandemic. These also come in child sizes. These can be useful to keep them focused, so they are not left seated all day. These, again, do not have storage, so we suggest doing something fun and different with them, such as placing them atop a more petite credenza. The unique credenza is a beautiful and creative solution to where to put the standing desk and storage.
Keeping the study space separate allows you and your children to let this new norm remain a part of life but not the focus. Sometimes the world is changing faster than we can keep up with, but we can help with these adjustments.