If you build it, they will study – organising a homework station

If you want to give your children every possible advantage this school year, make sure they have a place for everything so that everything can be in it’s place AKA a suitable and practical space to do their homework. Today we are sharing some tips for creating an organised home study station.

20150119 tidy desk quote

First a note about location:

When choosing the right spot for your kids to set up their studies, you need to ensure the space will need to suit your unique situation.  Also you’ll want to find the right balance between supervision and privacy which will be dependent on the age of your schoolie.  Whether it is a designated home office/study, a desk in their room, a nook in the lounge/rumpus or at the dining table there is no one solution that fits all.

Organised Furniture – a basic checklist:

  • desk or table – the clearer and more clutter free the better, allowing room to spread out as required
  • comfortable chair – ergonomics is important for little growing bodies
  • natural light or lamp – part of ergonomics is having adequate light, natural is the best if you can get it
  • notice board or similar – children, especially the younger ones learn very visually having a space to pin up words to learn or even just personal decorations help create a creative learning space
  • in and out tray – these are not just for offices! A great system is to have your child unpack homework directly into an in-tray.  You can also have a “to check” tray for the older kids that need mum and dad to check after they have done homework alone and the out tray means that homework is not lost and is ready to get packed to return to school.
  • caddy – not only for the golfers, a caddy is a great way to keep everything your child needs to complete homework in one tidy and PORTABLE place.  This is especially great if your child needs to do homework in a common space like the dining room.  They own the caddy and it can be packed away out of sight in their room when they are done.  Ikea has a ton of options for this (big and small). This clear plastic one will set you back just $6! There is even a great version that can hang on a door.

20150119 homework caddy collages

Organised Stationery – a basic checklist

  • Lead pencils – a standard at any studying age
  • Eraser – having one handy on the end of your pencil is great but they are not always easy to use
  • Pen – this one is age appropriate
  • Colours (pens, pencils, textas, highlighters) – again this is age appropriate
  • Glue stick – I like the ones that roll on in a colour and dry clear, good to guide the little ones and cool science for bigger ones
  • Scissors – safety ones for the littlies
  • Ruler – size to age appropriate
  • Sharpener – perhaps one with a catcher to avoid messy shavings.

HOT TIP – Keep it sensationally simple! Yes they MIGHT need a stapler, paperclip, hole punch etc etc BUT it is very likely that you already have these items in your home. No need to double up (i.e. create clutter) with things that don’t get used very often.

If your child is required to take all these items for personal use AT SCHOOL (some schools have a supply levy and all materials are shared at school and nothing leaves the premises) then you needn’t double up on everything for a homework station – just keep it all in the pencil case that goes in and out of the school bag each day.

Organised Behaviours:

  • Routines & schedules – I am a great believer that schedules create a calmer environment. We have stuck to the same bedtime routine since our kids were born and now with the addition of homework it has only changed slightly. Routines and schedules tell our kids the behaviour that is expected of them. Routines may differ day to day to allow for after school activities, but essentially it stays the same. Teach your kids that the first thing they do when they get home from school is to empty their bags of homework, notes, newsletters and empty lunch boxes.  Noticeboards, whiteboards and wall charts can all help display simple schedules
  • Expectations – by knowing their routine the kids will have clear expectations; let them know that homework needs to be done first before play time. Manage your own expectations and make sure you are available to help if required
  • Focus – food! Having an after school snack and a chat in the kitchen can help your child refocus on the afternoon’s activities. Thinking back to location, ensuring homework and study is done in ‘ the right place’ for your child will also aid in focus
  • List making –writing down what needs to be done will help with both focus and expectation. Checking things off a list has even been proven to increase self-esteem!
  • Planners – older schoolies will benefit from a notebook planner to help with time management
  • ASK ASK ASK – yes I know at times you will find it annoying but we encourage you to teach your children that “the only silly question, is the one you didn’t ask” – even if your answer is a guiding “good question, where/how do you think you might figure that out”, they are usually a solid basis for further learning and discovery.

Having incorporated some of these ideas into your children’s lives you will be providing the foundations of an effective study space both physically and behaviourally.

Have a magical day

Mara

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