The ever-so-organised Chrissy from Organise My House shares her advice on setting up a homework station at home no matter how much space you have.
Back to school is right around the corner, and with it will come the new weekly schedules and workload for your kids.
Making the whole homework experience as easy as possible makes sense for all involved. It will help the kids get their work done more quickly, it will ensure you get peace of mind, and everything can be kept tidy and in one place.
It’s a win however you look at it!
Now, having a separate homework area is all well and good if you have a large house, but what if you are struggling to find an area that works?
I have put together my top tips to help you make a homework area in your home – whatever amount of space you have available – so let’s get going shall we!
#1 – CHOOSE A LOCATION
This is by far the most important decision to make when creating a homework area for your kids.
Firstly – think about when the area will be used.
This can affect the choice of location because it needs to be an area that isn’t too busy for them at that time (less distractions), but that you will be around to help / monitor what they are doing (especially when they are using the internet).
For example - it’s no good having them use the dining table when they do their homework around tea time when they will then need to pack up to clear the space and then unpack again to use it afterwards….
What’s a good location?
My favourite place would be somewhere in your kitchen, as that will be a place that you will be around more at the time they do their homework (it’s usually when dinner will be being prepped), but if you don’t have space in your kitchen then the space under the stairs or a dining room would work well as well.
…and a bad one?
I would say that a bedroom isn’t ideal because that’s too out the way, and having them work in a bedroom makes it less relaxing when it comes to bedtime (would you want to work and sleep in the same room given the choice?).
#2 – CREATE A DESK SPACE
After you have decided on the ideal location, your attention should now turn to their desk space.
Of course – this is key to the space working for them, but it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It should just be a flat surface that’s large enough for a couple of books and a few bits and bobs.
You don’t have to get a proper desk, unless you have the space and the budget to do so – so this is the time to get creative!
No space for a desk 100% of the time?
- What about a fold down desk like the one above, or use an existing table in the house such as the dining table / kitchen work surface etc….
Got built in shelves in an alcove or against a wall?
- Why not also build a large shelf in that space to serve as a desk?
Just look at the space you have available and work out what would work best for you and your kids needs.
#3 – STORE SUPPLIES CLOSE BY
Homework needs “stuff” as well as just a desk, and it’s always best to have a collection of stationery on hand for them so that they can concentrate on the homework and not constantly getting up to look for a pen / paper / book etc…. – so creating a homework station near the chosen location is the perfect solution.
Start by writing a list (get them involved as well) of what they will need, and gather it all together.
It doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t have to be fancy to work. Gather it all together and make sure that ONLY THIS is available to them to avoid distractions!
Ideally you could use a bookcase or shelves near their desk space – but if you haven’t got room for that, then a great solution is a trolley
like this from IKEA, as you can use pots for pens, and have everything easily accessible, but easy to also wheel away when finished.
Some items that will be commonly needed are as follows: - pens / pencils, rubbers, paper, computer, printer, ruler, hole punch, folder, calculator. Don’t go overboard – as usually the less you need the better!
If you have a wall close by then you may find it useful for them to have a noticeboard for their weekly schedule, a calendar for deadline dates, and a clock so they can plan their work a little. If you don’t have the wall space available, then you could simply add their schedules to the sides of where you are storing their stationery and ensure they monitor their deadlines using a homework diary.
#4 – CREATE A SYSTEM FOR PAPERWORK
Paperwork can get out of hand very quickly – with lots of letters from school, homework diaries, different subjects to keep track of etc…. – so it makes sense to create a system that makes tracking things much more simple.
It makes everyone’s life easier because your child will have more control and can find things more easily (who wants to be frantically searching for something on a school morning?!), and you will be able to see at a glance what still needs doing.
A paperwork system sounds very grand, but in fact it can created with a very simple set up.
My advice would be to have 2 folders or trays (depending on the space you have). One can be labelled TO DO, and one FINISHED.
When they come home each day, get them in the habit of unpacking their bag and putting any papers into the TO DO tray, then as they work through their homework then can move it to the FINISHED tray ready to take in on the correct school day.
Another crucial habit would be to check their homework diaries on a daily basis so that they work on the shortest deadline first and don’t run the risk of missing anything.
This will also start to help them manage themselves which is a huge skill that will help them throughout their lives.
So – there you have it! Everything you need to consider to give your child a homework area that functions brilliantly and is in the right place in your home.
But there’s a catch!
I can help you by giving you the tools to set up a homework area that works in your own home, and what to consider, but I can’t help with actually getting your child to do their work!
As such, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that setting up a great space will motivate them to work and get things done.
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