Online Home School learning is now our thing. We have converted some of our spaces (office, den) into little learning areas for our kids. I know that some people consider online-school conversion as easy as using the tablet. We have converted some of our laptops into our kid’s learning devices. We wanted to find the most economical way of doing it too. It means adding chairs, making desks, and making new learning spaces out of places in the home. I have added my blog post to show our experiences, and what I’ve learned could help make the home an online school. I hope to use some automation. So let’s see what happens.

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Two desks, chairs in the den: Converted space for online school. Working out the new space for the kids online school experience
Working out the new space for the kids online school experience

Online School: September 7, 2020

Today is the first day of school for my kids. It’s actually, the first full day of online learning for the kids. My wife and I have been working hard to get the house ready for the children to learn online. We have converted a section of my workspace into my son’s kindergarten classroom. We also converted our basement space into a learning area for our other kids. It’s been a challenge to get the place cleaned up enough to limit distractions and ensure the little ones can focus on what’s being taught on the screen. This is what we did prior to the first day of school.

  • Used my wife’s and my old Microsoft Surfaces into two of my kid’s laptops.
  • Found an HP 14″ Chromebook for less than $300 for the little-little one.
  • Ordered two IKEA chairs.
  • Bought a second-hand table that converts the Ikea shelf into a desk-shelf pair.
  • Used a couple of 6 outlet-4USB plugs to be ready for all the new laptop chargers

I think it worked out. The spaces are ready for online learning. We’ll see how everything plays out.

Online School: October 6, 2020

So, the school has been going well so far. Tons of homework. But kids are learning. I’d say the biggest distraction so far is Microsoft Teams. The kids are chatting and sending gifs to each other during class. Does not make for focus, however, the devices are working fine. I find that now that the Surface laptops are a little older, we have to charge them more often. Maybe its because there is so much activity happening on the laptops, they frequent charging.

Some ideas so far to make Online School Smarter

Use a Smart Speaker or Siren for School Bell

I think once the kids are on recess or break, I’d like to use something that can call them back in or remind them when its recess or when it ends. I have an Aeotec Siren that I could use as a school bell. That means I could use my Hubitat to control the Z-Wave Aeotec Siren. I could make a school bell sound or even an emergency siren sound.

Aeotec Siren

Use a Smart Speaker for Announcements

The kids have been using the Google Home Mini outside to listen to music while they are out on the playset. They just unplugged themselves, took it outside, plugged in, and started playing their favorite Disney soundtracks. I think I could make automatic routines to call them back in.

Use Smart Cam to keep an eye on the kids

I have also pointed a Wyze Cam outside to keep an eye on them. I can ask my Lenovo Smart Display to show the camera view when I don’t have them in view.

Just some ideas I could probably implement in a short time. I’ll let you know how it goes.