Delightful Home {Virtual Learning Spaces}

I know I promised y’all this weeks ago, but virtual learning around here has meant all hands on deck. We are in our fourth week at home and it has been a challenge!

Virtual Learning Spaces Video Tour

Here’s a video tour of both of their virtual learning spaces. Afterwards, I have gone into more detail and provided links to some of the items we purchased.

High School Virtual Learning Space

John is set up in his room. It was his choice and, at this juncture, we all agree it was a good call. He starts school at 8:20 AM and goes until about 3:30 PM by the time he has finished up with independent work and help sessions. He already had a desk in here and has plenty of space to spread out to the sofa or bean bag chair as needed.

The desk was my mom’s as a child and then mine, before making its way to John. It has been in his room forever, but he just now really started using it. Honey set up the split computer screens for both boys, which has been a life saver and made a huge difference in their days. With the exception of one textbook each, the rest are all online. This also allows them to watch YouTube instructional videos (the primary source of teaching for both of them) or have a textbook open on one screen while completing an assignment on the other.

He had one of the wire display boards previously, and I added two more. They are from Target and are great for displaying photos, as well as his class schedule, bell schedule, and passwords and logins to various sites. (I took that off.)

After a week with chairs we already had, Honey purchased desk chairs for both of then. This also made a huge difference in their comfort sitting in front of computers all day.

I added the book bucket from Target to corral notebooks.

We previously had John’s cello set up in here, but had disassembled it. That stuff came back out as he now attends orchestra class daily. He prints the sheet music for the day each morning.

Honey has been working upstairs in the guest room since March and it works out well to have him right next door to John during the day.

Middle School Virtual Learning Space

Whit is set up in my office for his school day. We tossed around quite a few ideas on where to put him, but collectively decided that having a dedicated space with a door would work best. His primary school hours are after lunch so I typically work here in the morning and he takes the afternoons. When he does homework, we are usually both in here and I can help as needed.

We didn’t want to purchase another desk, so we are using a folding table we already had. Like with John, Honey set up dual monitors, a desk pad and a nice chair.

He uses the original desk area as a locker to store his papers and notebooks. Honey or I often pull up the ghost chair to help with homework.

Setting Up Our Work Spaces

Here are links to the things we purchased and are using. We had a few other items that were returned once we get everything set up. These are affiliate links. (You don’t pay any more for them, but I earn a small commission on purchases.)

Virtual School Week 4

I know y’all want to know how it’s going but I know y’all know I hate being negative here. Let it suffice it to say “it’s going”. The middle school schedule has been really, really rough. The online learning system both are using is full of bugs and we have had countless technology issues and full school days where they can’t log in at all. There has been very little instruction for either of them, yet the syllabus is not ever adjusted – they are expected to self teach. Full steam ahead no matter what. It’s hard on everyone.

On a positive note, I am grateful that they have these beautiful spaces to work in. I am thankful that both Honey and I are home to help them with technology issues AND with filling in the gaps as far as learning. I love making them lunches and snacks that they love. I’ve enjoyed helping both of them improve their organizational skills – they are getting really good at filling in agendas and breaking up due dates and homework over the course of a week. I’ve learned a lot about both of them as students – how they act, participate and learn in a classroom. They couldn’t be more different! I laugh so hard at Whit’s daydreams and side commentary. I treasure being able to sneak upstairs and listen to John play the cello outside of his door. And, most of all, I love having them here in these four walls. After 2nd and 5th grades, I thought it wouldn’t be until Freshman and Senior years that I’d have them in school together again. :-)

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11 thoughts on “Delightful Home {Virtual Learning Spaces}

  1. Good for you to see the bright side of the virtual learning for your kiddos as it does sound like it’s been challenging. My kids are in a private school and we don’t take for the granted the in person learning.

  2. I can’t imagine what a challenge it is. Even as a from-the-start homeschooling Mama, it seems like virtual schooling has thrown so many to the wolves.

    It sounds as though you’re all adjusting beautifully. 💜 There are always positives in a situation, and I love the ones you’ve shared. Praying that things become smoother and for a peace of mind, body and spirit! xo

  3. My daughters are grown and my grandchildren are not in school yet…but I say a prayer every morning for parents who are helping children navigate this difficult time at home….

  4. What are your thoughts on going back f2f? Do you think the instruction will be better? I’m completely lost as to what is happening.

    1. Honestly, I have NO idea. I don’t think it is a good situation either way. I wish that my boys schools could just chill and realize that they need to rethink the syllabus and curriculum to cover what is reasonable. I suspect this is an issue in some schools, but not district wide. What they had accomplished by labor day 2019 is not reasonable to accomplish by labor day 2020 – yet, in every class they tried to. A great example is that John has honors physics first period. He didn’t have that class for one full period without technology issues in two weeks, yet had a test the end of week 2 based on completely self taught material. Similar situation in honors geometry – since the technology doesn’t work, the teacher pre-records herself teaching and posts them to you tube. He has to go there and watch them to learn on his own. After their first test, she sent out an email to parents saying “everyone bombed that test and needs to think about what they can do to improve their learning environment”. WHAT???? John has every advantage with his learning environment. I can’t imagine how awful kids feel that don’t. And if a whole class bombs, maybe it’s the teaching environment. For Whit, by the 3rd day of school he had 23 (that’s TWENTY THREE) lessons due on Kahn Academy for math. By the end of week 2 he had 18 graded assignments for social studies. We can’t keep up. Everyone is failing (seriously, Whit had a F in PE for 1.5 weeks. PE!) Nobody is happy. Not only are we not getting an education, but mental health has tanked here since school started. I chose for them to return F2F but have little confidence that it will happen for middle school and even less confidence for high school. Our goal for this year is that Whit stays on his math level and passes the rest of his classes with a C or above. It’s harder for John since grades count for college. So that’s my rant. There are still the positives that I listed and I remind myself of those every day. <3

      1. I enjoyed your post and love the positivity BUT so glad you are keeping it real in this response. I’m an educator and that is a big thing to learn as a teacher- if everyone fails a test, then there is something wrong with your instruction and you need to change. That’s just logic to be quite honest.

        I have a kindergartener, first grader and fourth grader at home and a sixth grade in school face to face. I’m a former elementary teacher/reading specialist and I’m sick in my stomach watching these teachers doing their best and then thinking about how much learning the kids at home without these advantages are losing. We all just need to do the best we can but I’ve been in tears many times over the last six months.

        Lots of prayers right now!

  5. I just don’t have words after reading about your situation, especially in the comment above. It’s a tough situation for everyone, but it doesn’t sound like your school/district is making anything better with the expectations, technology issues, and teacher comments.

    We had 3 weeks of virtual school for my high school junior son, but now he is back face to face. About half the school opted to continue virtually, so the classes and hallways are not crowded. Unfortunately, the teachers are required to teach the virtual class via zoom at the same time as having the in-person class. My son says they are getting the hang of it, but I really feel for the teachers trying to juggle this.

    Hang in there!

    1. I don’t know how teachers will manage this! My sisters kids are in this same situation though – she has one at home and one in class – and everyone is doing great! The teacher does all students at the same time. There is hope. <3

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