Creating the Perfect Homework Station
Depending on where you live, back to school time may already upon you or, perhaps, just around the corner. Back to school means new clothes, school supplies, a stricter schedule and homework– sometimes lots of it. Homework is an essential element to school success because it helps to reinforce the concepts that have been taught in class. It also helps to strengthen that home-to-school connection, allowing parents to be aware of concepts that their children have been working on and shows them how well their kids understand these concepts. Certain topics, especially in the primary grades, can be lost on kids if they are not practicing them over time. Homework is one opportunity for this to happen so creating the best environment for your child to do their homework in is essential.
While homework can be done any place, and sometimes on busy nights it may be, but it is much more beneficial and organized when you can create a space that is designed for it. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a separate room or “office” for homework time: any area can become the perfect homework station with a little planning. It’s all about the atmosphere and supplies available to your child so that they can complete their assignments as easily as possible.
Finding the perfect space.
When you are looking for the perfect place to make your homework station, remember these three important aspects: ample work space, the right lighting and free from distractions. This can be a desk in your child’s room if they are older and can handle that alone time, an area in the family room or den, but most often homework seems to be done in the kitchen. Young kids will do best if they are working on homework in an area where they can easily ask questions, so a public place in the house may be best. Make sure the place you choose has plenty of lighting for them to see what they are working on- that can be a desk lamp or natural window lighting. Choose an area where they have the space to work too. You don’t want their papers to be all wrinkly since they didn’t have enough space to lay out books, papers and materials. Finally, choose a spot that is free from distractions (as best as you can). We know in a house with more than one child that is often hard to do, but picking a place away from the tv, tablets and video games will ensure your child has an environment where they can focus on their work, while not worrying what’s happening on the Wii or their favorite show.
Organization is key.
So you have found the best place for your child to work, now what? Now you organize it. Depending on your child’s age and grade, they may need different supplies to complete their homework, but all kids need to have easy access to these supplies. Homework will not go smoothly if they are getting up and running around looking for a pencil and then later getting up again to get crayons and then one more time to find scissors. Having all materials they may need on hand will ensure they can get to work right away and stay working until their assignments are complete. If you are at a desk, having a desk organizer with supplies can be very helpful. Organizing items by type will allow kids to easily find what they are looking for.
If your child has their own desk or you have one in your family room, be sure to keep it organized. Something as simple as this supply caddy can help keep all those pencils and crayons from rolling around everywhere! In addition, if you are looking for a great in-desk organizer, try these Interlocking Drawer Storage Bins from Made Smart. They can be configured to fit a variety of drawer sizes and can organize your materials easily so you young student (and Mom and Dad!) can find what they are looking for simply.
If you have chosen to have your homework station at the kitchen counter or table you will most likely not want pencils and crayons there all of the time so consider making a “portable homework supply basket”. By using some pretty jars and a simple basket, you can easily store the items you kids will need and pull the basket out for homework time and store it again when it’s not in use.
Some items to consider adding to your homework supply basket are:
Motivate, motivate, motivate!
Once your space is established and the supplies are stocked, now it’s time to work! Ensure your child can do his or her best on their homework by following these simple tips:
- Set a routine for your homework. Try to work on it at the same time each day.
- Make sure your child has had a snack first so they don’t have growling tummies!
- Encourage your child to try their best.
- Help but don’t hover! Be sure to allow your child to try and figure out the problems on their own.
- Reward good work.
- Remember, homework is suppose to be a review of mastered concepts so if your child is struggling, be sure to inform their teacher.
Don’t let homework turn into just WORK. Help your child to succeed by allowing them to have all the tools they need to complete their job more easily. Just like an adult workspace, it needs to be organized and stocked for the most productivity to happen. As most parents know, the homework battle can be a brutal one so having a calm space for kids to work in helps to ease this tension.
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