Set Up an Environment for Successful Home Schooling – Creating an environment/atmosphere that is conducive and optimized for learning
Daily home life introduces many ‘teachable moments.’ The opportunity to turn these teachable moments into positive learning outcomes will improve when the learning environment and parent-teachers are prepared. To set up an environment for successful home schooling, you need a properly designed learning environment that can create a safe place for learning, provide consistency in lessons and reinforcement, and create an emotionally stimulating environment. Within this familiar and secure environment, a parent can develop structure and routine.
ABA learning in a positive home environment has been shown to be more successfully applied to other environments, including home, social and work settings. Ensuring these four key components are in place can create an environment that promotes lifelong learning.
- Designate an area of the home for “learning”
- Pick an area in the home that will be used mostly for home-schooling (Other areas of the home can be used as well throughout the schooling process, but it’s best to have a designated area).
- Be mindful of decoration, lighting, color and sound that could be stressors.
- Remove Distractors
Many children with autism suffer from attention deficits, with as many as half estimated to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The visually over-stimulating school classroom can seem like a busy circus ring for the child with autism, who is also more likely to have perception deficits which make it more difficult to filter out visual and other forms of noise. The home classroom provides you with an opportunity to design the ideal learning environment for your child. Decluttering the learning space before lessons begin can even be a learning opportunity for your child.
- Turn off televisions, tablets, and electronics.
- Remove items from the designated area (like pictures, art etc.) that do not correspond with the lesson.
- Place all toys and school supplies in separate tubs, boxes, bags etc. (It is best to use smaller boxes with lids and zippered-bags to naturally engage the child in fine motor skills).
- Incorporate Visuals
Since children with autism have deficits in multisensory integration, the learning environment needs to be adapted to each child’s sensory needs. They tend to ‘think in pictures’ and respond well to visual stimuli.
- Visual Boards
- First, Then boards ( a visual aide where the child can see what academic activity they have to do first, then the activity they earn for successfully completing the activity)
- Sequencing boards
- Social Stories
- How to ask for “help”
- Trying When its Hard
- Rule Cards/Boards
- Visual reminders
- Prepare All Needed Material(s) Prior to Starting a Home-Schooling Curriculum
Conducting an ABA lesson with no means to collect data is like fishing with a hole in your net. ABA will be the most successful for teachers and students who adhere to its robust data collection process to create a positive feedback loop between learning outcomes and new lesson development.
- Data Collection Sheets
- Flash Cards
- Any other needed materials
Emotional distractors should also be considered. Stressed out or unhappy family members can introduce negative emotions into a learning environment. An upset or insecure child will produce lower quality learning outcomes. Your child will blossom in a home with a positive emotional balance.
A home-school program can be very successful for all children, including those with ASD or other Special Needs. As previously mentioned, starting the home-schooling program may be challenging. However, with a few ABA modalities in place, virtually anyone’s home can become an environment for successful learning.
Whether or not your child stays in a homeschool program, the development of social competence has shown to produce more positive academic and social outcomes in mainstream school settings.
Other related articles
- Understand Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the ABA Modalities Used in Home Schooling
- How to Start an ABA Home Schooling Program and Conduct a Student Assessment
Ermann, M. D., Williams, M. B., & Shauf, M. S. (Eds.). (1997). Computers, ethics, and society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Waddington, E. M., & Reed, P. (2017). Comparison of the effects of mainstream and special school on National Curriculum outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder: an archive‐based analysis. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 17(2), 132-142.