Rethink the Spaces in Your Home
Jessica and Jonathan Blodgett sent their two girls to summer school to help make their decision about their daughters’ education come the academic year. Within one week, the in-person format went virtual and the Blodgetts made the decision to homeschool their girls. In preparing for the switch, Jessica decided to turn their large empty room upstairs into a designated learning space. She used Pinterest for inspiration and blogs for resources, and visited Ikea to turn her ideas into a reality.
Since beginning summer school in early August, Jessica said her family has thrived in the new space. The environment is set in a comfortable room with carpeted floors and a couch so they can spread out as needed to complete their work. Plus, there’s enough room for Jessica to supervise and sense any tension or frustration, which she wouldn’t be able to do if the girls were working from their rooms. Jessica said the girls are also excited about the space, since they get to work next to one another, and even helped design the area.
For others looking to do something similar, Jessica said to take the pressure off of being perfect. “Keep it fun and light rather than stressful,” she says. “Instead of having that feeling of ‘we need to get this done,’ it’s more about enjoying where they area and celebrating all the little wins along the way.”
Lean on Other Families
Jeff and Michelle Houghton have two young kids: Elias is seven years old and beginning second grade, while two-year-old Rew needs constant supervision. Both parents work—Jeff as the host of The Mystery Hour and Michelle as an artist and as District Support Manager at Care to Learn—so their family needed to come up with a plan of action when they decided to go fully virtual. That meant creating a learning pod with two other families.
This pod allows Elias and two other second graders to meet three times a week with a hired tutor, giving the kids both social interaction and instruction with their schoolwork. This instruction switches between the families’ homes, and on some of the days Elias is away, Michelle’s parents take Rew, giving her at least a couple of days of uninterrupted work time. Michelle said this model worked because the Houghtons and the two other families created a “quarantine bubble” months ago, lessening their risk of exposure to COVID-19 while giving everyone a time to be social.
Since the Houghtons already had a relationship and trust established with these families, this pod was a natural segue into the school year. For other families looking for a similar model, Michelle recommended a Facebook group called “Springfield MO Learning Pods” for families to connect and create their own learning groups.