How to Create a Homework Space for Your Child
Homework. A necessary evil, perhaps. For decades, parents, educators and mental health professionals have questioned the place of homework in the school system. Whatever your thoughts, at some point you’ll inevitably be called upon to supervise and aid in it.
Most kids will start receiving regular, small bits of homework around grade 5 to 6. By middle school, weekly or even daily homework is common. And a 2-year study of highschoolers found they had, on average, 2.7 hours of homework per night and slightly more on weekends.
Some forethought and organization can help prepare an inspiring and calm space for your child to learn. Homework happens. So let’s make the most of it! These tips will help you create a peaceful homework space for your favourite student.
Designate a space.
Designate a space free of distraction. Keep the space clear so homework can be spread out easily. Where, exactly? That depends on the size of your house and the needs of your child. Older children may work in their rooms with door open. Younger kids may need a supervised space, in the open but away from siblings and/or electronic distractions. If possible, choose a space or a corner of a shared room where you have a bit of wall to hang your child’s calendar and perhaps a whiteboard or cork board for planning and keeping track of deadlines and schedules.
Add a little fun.
If you’ve got the ability to create a designated desk area just for homework, choose good lighting and bright colours to keep things fresh. Let your child pick out a poster or two, a paint colour, or a cork board for inspiring quotes and images. The older kids get, the more papers and books they’ll be juggling each evening; find organizers and sorting systems that appeal to your child and keep a neat “aesthetic” that will minimize distraction. If you’ve got multiple kids sharing one space, a label maker can help keep things separate and tidy.
Keep it organized.
It’s common to use a multipurpose space for homework, like a kitchen table or shared office desk, but even without a designated homework surface it’s not hard to keep supplies and papers organized with just a few gadgets. A bookshelf or cupboard nearby can store homework items to be pulled out and tidied away after each usage. Replenish pencils and erasers regularly and use paper trays or desk organizers for paper, pens and textbooks. A small rolling cart for academic and craft supplies is a genius space solution if you don’t have a separate study room.
Remove (most) tech.
It goes without saying, but phones and tablets have no place at the homework desk unless they’re being used for said homework. Purchase an inexpensive scientific calculator and stock up with “analog,” i.e., paper and pen, supplies. For some kids, wearing headphones to listen to quiet music or white noise can be quite beneficial for concentration and help to block outside distractions. Finding a wireless method to use music or white noise is ideal, so a tempting phone or ipad isn’t nearby. Use parental control apps and settings on computers to limit which websites and apps can be accessed during homework time. And, speaking of computers, consider a sit-to-stand riser or desk to help kids stay focused by changing position as needed.
What products or hacks have helped you create an organized and inspiring homework space for your family? Share below!