Home Learning: How to Create a Distraction-Free Space for Kids

Susan Good, from retirededucator.org, recently wrote this article for Illinois Virtual School about how to optimize students’ home learning experiences. When you’re done here you can visit her website for reading and writing tips, or to check out her blog.

Home Learning: How To Create A Distraction-Free Space For Kids


Photo via Pixabay by Lailajuliana

For millions of American kids, finding the time and space for learning at home can be difficult. There can be so many distractions once they get home from school, from siblings to a new video game, that it’s often hard to stay motivated when it comes to doing homework or studying. There are internal factors as well; kids are tired when they’re done with school for the day, and they often come home hungry and just want to relax for a bit. Finding a way to help your child make learning a priority no matter where they are isn’t always easy, but there are some things you can do to help it along.

Creating an area at home where your child can read and learn distraction-free is essential. Whether it’s their bedroom or a quiet spot in the basement, having a place to go and focus on the task at hand will help your child tremendously. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for after school, as no child wants to come home and get right back to work. Allowing her to take a break, get a snack, and have some downtime might be beneficial when it’s time to study.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to help your child with a distraction-free place to learn.

Create a reading nook

Even the most well-read child can have trouble focusing on a book when there are other kids, a television, or activity going on in the room. Creating a small reading nook will give your child a quiet place to go and become immersed in her book, whether it’s for school or for pleasure. Make sure it’s in a spot away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home, and provide plenty of good light, storage space, and pillows for comfort. Go here for more information on how to create the perfect reading space for your child.

Get creative

If your child is having trouble getting into a good routine with homework, consider setting up a space for her to get creative. You might invest in an easel and paints, or hand her some blank paper and colored pencils. Look for interesting pieces of artwork or photographs and have your child write a short story about what she believes is happening in the picture, or draw what might happen next. Getting creative is a wonderful way to let ideas flow and relax at the same time, which is great for kids who need a break.

Have snacks handy

Most kids find it difficult to make it through a long school day with only lunch to sustain them, and they’re hungry when they get home. Have easy, quick-to-grab snacks handy, such as string cheese, fruit, nuts, turkey wraps, or yogurt. Having a full belly will go a long way toward helping your child focus on what needs to be done, even after a long day at school.

Create a routine

Having a routine is helpful for most kids; they crave the structure that helps them keep track of their responsibilities. Help your child create a homework and study routine–such as starting at a certain time of day and spending an allotted amount of time on it–so that she can form good habits. If your child has a big project to tackle or an assignment that will be done over a period of several days, help her break up her work time into manageable chunks so it doesn’t become overwhelming.

Helping your child find a distraction-free place to work will not only boost their concentration, it will improve their grades and possibly even their self-confidence as they move forward through school. With a good plan, you and your child can plan for a successful school year.

A Message From IVS Director, Kip Pygman

We, at Illinois Virtual School, are beyond excited to begin another school year. However, for me, my excitement is even more profound because of the opportunity to serve as the next director. From the moment I began the interview process to the present, it is has been evident clearly to me what a special place IVS is.

Our entire team shares a profound and contagious passion toward online learning including an innate desire to serve all of our partners with a quality virtual learning experience. As I near the completion of my first month, I find myself reflecting over an observation I recently experienced which represents the inner workings of our program.

Last Saturday I was loading my groceries into the trunk, and I couldn’t help but observe a common action many of us are probably guilty of…..A man across the crowded parking lot had also finished loading the groceries in his car. Based on his facial expressions and pace, he appeared to be in a hurry. As he sat down in his vehicle, a few pennies had fallen out of his left pant pocket. (I observed him pause briefly and decide whether or not he should exit the car to gather the dropped pennies). He started to reach for one but realized the other rolled underneath a nearby car. He made a decision to leave the pennies and drive away.

I suspect we have all been guilty of this at one point in time. However, the act of leaving  pennies on the ground represents a larger symbolic presence. This presence is where my reflection originates.

John Wooden was once quoted as saying:

“It’s the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen”.

My observations during the first 25 days at IVS have shown me the exemplary attention our team places on the little things. In order to ensure we provide our students with an authentic, engaging, and rigorous learning experience, we have to grab every penny off the ground including those that roll in uncomfortable places. Each detail, no matter how small, warrants an intentional focus because this is what our students deserve.

Each IVS student matters, all our students count, and every student may exceed learning expectations. Our IVS team has a shared bond toward these powerful beliefs and equally important, strives to model them through their daily actions.

The promise of this upcoming school year for students is vast and filled with tremendous opportunity. My pledge to you is we will continue to advocate for all of our students no matter how big or small the details are. This is what our team has demonstrated to me and this is what we will continue to uphold.

We look forward to continuing working alongside all of our partners, students, and families. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our learners.

So the next time you drop that penny on the ground, consider taking the time to pick it up. No corners may be cut. No detail related to the education of our students deserves to be left unattended. Let us share in the virtual journey together picking up each penny along our path.

Thank you to our IVS Team for showing me the “IVS Way”.

-Kip Pygman, IVS Director