School From Home

Many Colorado Springs families are taking on new roles and experiencing new challenges during the pandemic, especially concerning our children.

School from home is a foreign idea to many of us. Beyond being able to help with middle school science and remembering the periodic table, logistically, fostering a place for concerted learning is also presenting itself as a challenge. District 11, Academy District 20, District 49, Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, as well as alternative learning options are turning to home schooling choices.

We’re only a week into the new school year, but we’ve already been getting calls from families with young children. Sadly, the first few days have been pretty rough–bringing both parents and kids to tears as they struggle with technology and adjusting to a new socially distant routine. These families are seeking a refuge–a productive environment filled with the tools they need to manage this new reality from within the home.

The Challenge

While we certainly don’t believe that home schooling and continual isolation is the vision of the future, it does look like this will be the case for much of the new school year. And, beyond our triumphant recovery over the pandemic, we believe this experience has shown our community new ways of doing things. Work from home is going to be much more common for many people, and we suspect many school districts will adopt flex-school schedules in the future–part of the week children attending normal classrooms, the other part learning remotely from home.

Ideally, just as you like to conduct your work in a home office instead of the kitchen table, your children benefit from a dedicated learning space. A child’s bedroom is riddled with distractions: toys, video games, Star Wars posters—you name it. Their room is their personal sanctuary, a space decorated and filled with fun suited to their personality—not really a space designed with the thought of them attending school from here. With young children especially, transitioning them into a focused and productive learning mindset can be very difficult with a pile of toys sitting in the corner.

Common areas, such as the kitchen or living room, also have their own challenges. Telephones, TVs, deliveries, people in and out, pets–these areas tend to see the most activity within the home. This is not only difficult for the student, but also their teacher and the rest of the class. Background noise and off camera distractions can ruin a lesson.

One of the other challenges brought to our attention is having multiple students in the same home. Many families have more than one child trying to learn in this new way. A fourth grader and first grader sitting next to each other, trying to conduct daily remote learning, can be an impossible situation. Again, the main concern is distraction and disruption. The children need to remain focused, as well as not being distracting to their sibling, or the other class and teacher.

The Design

Technology is allowing the possibility of remote learning, but it’s also your biggest hurdle as a parent. It’s the most frustrating. Our advice; master these tools. You are your child’s tech support. The rollout of remote learning has been a clunky process, the struggle is real, but choosing the proper tools and equipment can make all the difference.

Large, secondary displays (such as modern TVs) can make a massive and much more interactive experience for your child. Quality webcams and directional microphones will help the teacher see and understand your child when they interact and ask questions. Schools may provide a laptop or tablet, but learning how to integrate these devices into a larger room designed for sharing ideas will make the experience functional; hopefully yielding retention of the material.

Environment. This is where Alpine Contracting really shines and benefits your child. We create functional and productive spaces, turning spare bedrooms, a portion of your basement’s family room, an attic, or even a new addition into fantastic learning zones.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Dedicated circuit breakers and electrical wiring to drive all of the new equipment / electronics
  • Additional, strategically placed outlets and high-speed internet connections
  • Clutter free, built in flat panel TV mounting
  • Acoustic treatment and sound absorption
  • Integrated desk space, shelving, and storage
  • Common work areas for large projects
  • Glass walls or half walls with large windows for separating children
  • Designing cubical-like workstations
  • Total family work areas: glassed off home offices for quiet, yet, supervised work

There are lots of possibilities, every home and child are different. We’d love to talk with you, have you meet with one of our designers, and we’ll optimize a space that fits your unique needs. Cultivating your child’s education during the new School At Home and proposed flex-schedules is something none of us considered when building our home, leaving many of us without the proper space or setup. Being named Best of the Springs Contactor by the Gazette, we’re here to help you adjust. Simple as that. Contact us for a free quote.