The Space In Which A Student Must Work

The standard for a study space is pretty well-known and agreed upon. It generally includes good, workable light; a chair and a table or desk. Think of your average classroom.

Or don’t. Lighting that sucks the vitamins right out of a body. Hard wooden chairs that remind the student that he is in prison – oops, sorry, school. I grew confused when I saw the ten foot high fences and metal detectors.

The correct standard for a study space:

The student should have good light of a sort that can be read by without stress or pain. Since the student will presumably be seated much of the time, he really should have a comfortable chair. His desk or table should be large enough to accommodate projects.

No odd or strong odors or sounds should intrude.

The student should have access to many books, magazines and newspapers. Not that college is necessarily a great thing (it can be, but it also can be awful), but studies tell us that students living in homes with 1,000 books or more are far more likely to finish high school and go to college than students living and working in a space with few books.

Each student today needs access to a computer and the Internet. You can police it as best you may, but I’d say it’s a must requirement.

The student should have easy and ready access to paper, pens, pencils, all the materials they will need. If they have to wait for something, then progress stops. (Schools expect the student to supply their own. The BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars schools collect from us does not pay for the student’s paper. It pays for teacher’s benefits, but not pencils. Glad we cleared that one up.)

The student should have access to globes, maps, picture books, films, TVs, the Internet – all the tools that will help provide a visual approach to his education.

The student should have access to the great outdoors, at least to some extent. He will need room for all those hands-on experiences which constitute such a critical part of a good education. Additionally, he should be able to run and play when released from the required labors of prison – er, school.

Part of the correct standards for a space would be access to public facilities that the student can benefit by. These would include such places as libraries, zoos, theaters, beaches, woods and museums of all kinds. I use such places extensively in educating children and feel that they are essential.

The student must have ready access to clean air, clean water and decent food. Leave sugar at home, or better yet in the trash can if you can. The student should have ready access to the necessary without having to ask permission to fulfill the body’s essential functions. Having to ask permission to be allowed to “go” is degrading, folks. Let’s end that ridiculous practice.

The student should have a place where his work and work materials may be stored in a clean and orderly fashion, obviating the need for “The Great Search” each school day.

His tests and papers should be stored by subject and date in a highly simple and orderly fashion so as to make it simple and quick to demonstrate what has been accomplished, should the need arise.

The student should have access to “play clothes” when play or exercise are mandated.

Finally as to the student’s work space, and I think this is important; the student’s study space should to some extent be personalized. I believe it should be “designed” each year by the student, working within reasonable limits imposed by those responsible for the space. I believe that a student who is provided a space with objects that he likes is more likely to be happy in that space. Such objects as personal photos or favorite “toys” or collectables (like baseball cards); selected pillows, selected desk “ware” such as mouse pads or what have you should be under the student’s control. Adults like to have such freedoms in their own work spaces. Why shouldn’t a student have the same in his work space?

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!

5 comments for “The Space In Which A Student Must Work

  1. March 27, 2012 at 6:12 am

    This is very sound advice not just for home schooled kids, but those in public & private school as well. It is amazingly simple yet so often overlooked – what is essential to maximum learning! Thanks for the great advice.

  2. March 27, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Hi Kathy, and thanks! I do agree that this is sort of foundational as to the approach to education. It truly can make a difference.

  3. July 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Great advice. Last year my son was in public school and the room was so over cluttered and decorated that it made me go crazy just walking in. When he came home he needed time just to destress himself.

  4. Angie Young
    August 2, 2012 at 8:45 am

    This was really a good article. Yes our students need a well functioning work space to be able to put their best foot forward toward their education. A cluttered uncomfortable workspace will only make learning miserable. Comfortable, well maintained surroundings work much better.

  5. December 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Great post! Most people think that the more crap you have hanging from the ceiling and stuck to the walls counts as a certified work space. Yes, posters and decorations are cute, but too much of it can become a distraction. Oh yeah, and asking permission to go potty is…well as you stated degrading. This is must read!#sharingit!

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