Whether it’s younger children with their toys everywhere or it’s older children commandeering the kitchen table (or both), it can be hard to know how to set up your living space for learning.
There are two ways to think about the learning environment: it’s either like a watering hole or it’s like a well.
‘A watering hole’ is best suited to younger children – wherever they wander, there will be some learning to drink up. This can be educational posters on the wall (cheapest at The Works), chalk lettering on the patio, a kitchen clock that teaches time-telling effortlessly (try EasyRead Time Teacher) or an audiobook playing in the background. This type of learning is incredibly effectice and powerful, if you’re willing to live in an Early Learning Centre.
‘A well’ is better for older children who need an area allocated specifically to them where they know they can go to study. I think the kitchen table is a terrible place for them to work. It means interrupting the flow of the household. If at all possible allocate some floor space (many teenagers love to spread out their books on the floor), a desk or shelves (can be used as a standing desk) which they can allocate as a study space.
Having a specific spot where studying happens can really support effective learning. The student learns to associate that space with studying and clicks into the learning-mode more easily each time.
The real answer is: we all want to live near a well and beside a watering hole. Because learning, both formal and informal is the fountain of youth.