This post was written by Oak meadow, the sponsor of our Living Education series.
School classrooms are often equipped with sophisticated learning stations where each student can work on a different project or subject. When you have completed the activity on one station, move on to the next. While at home you may not have all of the resources that a school teacher would have, you can still set up your study space at school to encourage this type of autonomy and self-direction.
While we may have homeschool classrooms to keep our supplies in, homeschoolers often study all over the house (or even outside). Don’t limit yourself to thinking that study stations must be in a homeschool classroom (many homeschool families without a homeschool room).
One advantage of study stations for school teaching is that they can often accommodate students of different levels – activity prompts and accessories can include different skills. Your learning stations can focus on topics and subjects from the curriculum (e.g. animal habitats or creative writing) or simply provide a space for children to create, explore, and enjoy.
These stations can be changed daily or weekly depending on the project, interest or space requirement. Your home may only have one or two study stations at a time, and that’s fine!
Decision about the content of the learning station
When setting up a study station, you may want to consider a topic or general activity so that the materials suggest specific explorations. You probably don’t want to view all of the materials at once – that could be too overwhelming. Selling just a few items at a time usually leads to more targeted and targeted activity.
What’s going on in a learning station? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Set up a math station
Download ours for free Tangram design ideas for your Math Station – you can use it with wooden or plastic tangrams to get your kids started with designing shapes. Either leave them grouped as they are or cut them out so there is one design per side and twist them out.
Items to include in your math station:
- Tangrams and other puzzles
- Playing cards
- Tape measure
- Beam balance
- empty egg cartons or ice cube trays for sorting and grouping
- Items to sort and count (pebbles, dried beans, marbles, coins, etc.)
- Bow compass
Set up reading station
Create a book corner with a book basket and comfortable pillows. Think outside the box and include fiction and non-fiction as well as:
- Puzzle books
Setting up a writing station
- Colored pencils (and sharpener)
- Markers, envelopes
- small diary (every child should have their own)
- Writing prompts (Print out TheHomeSchoolMom’s monthly solicitation calendars, or write prompts on strips of paper and put in a jar for kids to choose.)
- Crossword puzzle book
- Paper of various types, sizes and colors
Establishment of a science station
This station works well on a window overlooking a nature area for nature observation.
- Magnifying glass
- Magnets and metal objects (such as paper clips)
- Stones and crystals
- Notebook and colored pencils
Setting up a maker space
- broken toys and devices to disassemble
- Nails and screws
- Wood glue
- Cardboard tubes
- hand operated drill
- Rubber bands
Establishment of a handicraft station
- Paper (many different types and colors)
- colored pencils
- colored pencils
- pencil sharpener
- Art supplies and smocks
- Modeling clay or beeswax
- Sewing accessories
Set up sensory station
- Sandpit with small figures
- a small comb for raking patterns in the sand (you can also add a cup of water if the sand bowl is waterproof)
We introduce each station
As you introduce kids to each new station, show them what’s available and go through all safety rules. Depending on the age and temperament of your children, you can discuss ideas, receive a prompt or instruction, or give them free rein. Also, show them how to clean up once the process is complete so the station is ready for the next person or visit.
Improve stations over time
Once your children are familiar with Learning Stations, ask them what they would like to include in the existing kits or what ideas they have for new Learning Stations activities.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day of the week, either. You can rotate materials as you create activity boxes or develop your study stations. Swapping supplies or adding a new item can create new excitement.
For example, your child might show up at the science station one day to find binoculars, a bird book, sketch pad, and colored pencils. Another day could be a stethoscope, stopwatch, and data table to fill out. If your student is creating a unit on geometry, the math station may include a spirograph with colored pens and paper.
On another day, the communications station could hold a voice or video recorder and some props (such as hats, scarves, and a wig or fake mustache) with a prompt to “pretend you are a famous person in the world Story that is being interviewed ”.
Avoid Pinterest paralysis
Don’t be crazy looking at gorgeous ideas on Pinterest – if you walk into that rabbit hole, you may never feel ready to set up your own study stations. Just carve a spot in your home wherever you can and get started.
Your ideas will evolve as you and your children gain experience. With a little planning ahead, you can increase your child’s learning, engagement, self-motivation, and excitement.
Active, engaging learning that encourages students to take responsibility for their education – that sounds like fun now!
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