There are many ways a place can affect learning. Schools are designed to serve large numbers of children efficiently. No matter how a teacher personalizes her classroom, it won't be ideal for every student.
At home, it's much easier to adjust your surroundings to suit the needs of each family member. Here are a few of the ways you can create an effective learning environment:
Design a distraction-free zone for schoolwork.
Many kids find it hard to concentrate in school. There are disruptive classmates, bells and announcements that cut lessons short, and a schedule that moves them from one room to another throughout the day. Even cheerful decorations or clutter can throw some children off.
As a parent, you can find tips on how to arrange your home to cut down on distractions and interruptions.
Make sure the physical environment is healthy.
At home, it's easier to avoid things your children are sensitive to and help keep them safe and healthy.
Get kids involved in the community.
Critics who worry that homeschooled kids don't get enough "socialization" never explain how the typical school -- where children are expected to sit quietly all day under the constant gaze of adults -- prepares students to function in the real world.
Homeschooling children are often more comfortable with people of all ages than school kids because they are out in the community, interacting with them in the same situations they will find themselves in as adults.
Provide a refuge from unsafe social situations.
Schools are, thankfully, finally starting to deal with the serious problem of bullying. But many kids are still forced to be around children or adults who do not treat them with common courtesy or respect.
Homeschooling gives kids more freedom to stay away from or leave an uncomfortable situation. They don't have to wait until they're grown -- they can make things better now.
Take learning on the road.
Schools are cutting back on field trips, and even taking time away from test prep for recess is controversial in some places. But homeschooling can move outdoors, downtown, to the beach or the zoo -- no permission slips needed.
And when families learn on the road, the whole world becomes a classroom. That's an opportunity every child deserves.