PHOENIX — Parents and families will face challenges as school districts start the year off remotely, but education experts say there are simple things parents can do to prepare their homes so students can have the best environment to learn.
Amanda Stewart in Gilbert has two daughters--one in 3rd grade and the other in Pre-K. She knows her 8-year-old is learning from home, but she's not sure about the 4-year-old.
"Keeping them out of each other's hair so they're able to focus," said Stewart about her biggest concern.
She's helping out two parents who have to work by bringing in their 3rd grader to learn with her daughter. But she said she doesn't have an extra room since her husband now has to work from home as well.
"I don't know where we're going to do it yet. My first thought was in her room at her desk but if we have a friend joining us ... I don't know..the the dining room table I guess? If my 4-year-old is home, then that's a bigger struggle."
Brook Haley has been a Montessori teacher for seven years and said preparing for at-home school is easier than parents realize. She said there's no need to remake an entire room, but it's a good idea to have designated area that's free of distractions.
"Just making sure there's a boundary. Say it's your office. So when we walk into the office, this is now your classroom and in this area, we do what's on the shelves, we do our school work on our computer, we read books," she said.
She said parents may need to get creative for kids younger than 6 years old.
"You're going to want hands-on things for them to work with. A small shelve, a small table."
Parents can even use a corner of the house and incorporate puzzles, crayons, beans...things they can play with.
She said Goodwill, dollar stores, and Target bins are great places to find hands-on materials, such as animals, books, baskets, puzzles, fake fruit/veggies, etc.
"You know that if you leave them in this space for 5, 10, 20 minutes, they're going to be safe, they're going to be learning and you've created a little atmosphere for them," Haley said.
Kortney Greene is an education consultant in Phoenix for Firat Education. She said every student is different.
"Parents need to keep in mind that they need to do what's best for their student," Greene said.
Greene said as long as they're comfortable, it doesn't matter where they do work, and though kids may need breaks on certain days, it's important to try to stick to a routine.
"I absolutely recommend a routine in terms of being up, showered, eating, get out of your pajamas," said Greene.
She said it's most important for parents to be engaged --to ask questions and make sure students have what they need to do the best they can from home.
Haley recommends researching on Etsy or Pinterest for ideas on how to convert space in your house into a classroom or learning area. She also recommends these blogs:
Find more Arizona parent and community online resources here.