Where’s a number two pencil? I need a black marker. I can’t find the glue. Where’s the calculator?
You’ve probably heard these pleas about 8 p.m. on a Sunday night when your child realizes they need to do their homework. To resolve these questions and others, set your child up for success by creating a stationary place where they can do their homework. Stock it with the necessary supplies and make the area fun and attractive. There may still be cries for help with a project on Sunday evening, but these should be fewer and fewer.
As with real estate, location needs to be considered first. A table in front of the TV is a very bad idea. Doing homework on the kitchen or dining room table isn’t ideal either, because they’ll need to be cleared before a meal can be served. Kids need a dedicated surface where they can spread their materials out. A simple desk, rolling cart or folding table all can work. This space also needs to be located where it’s fairly quiet and distraction-free.
Make sure the area is well lit from either a window, overhead fixture or task lighting like a desk lamp. Nobody wants to have to strain to see what they’re doing. You want to eliminate any excuse for not doing homework. Add a comfortable chair and an organized system and you have a homework station ideal for a child of any age. For more specific ideas, read on.
Elementary Student’s Study Space
- Include a place to hang their artwork, whether you designate the wall behind the work station or hang a makeshift clothesline and use clothespins.
- Young children need their supplies visible and accessible, so you can fill glasses, cups or jars with pens, pencils, markers and rulers. Glue, tape and erasers belong in a shallower plastic container. You can store paper and assignment sheets in vertical files. Don’t forget a wastebasket, calendar and pencil sharpener.
- Add brightly colored file folders for finished assignments, unfinished work and research notes.
- Be flexible because your first location may not work, so try another place. You also might guess wrong about the necessary supplies, although if you go by the supply lists most schools have on their website, you’re going to be fairly safe.
Middle and High School Student’s Learning Area
- Locate the work station near enough outlets for a computer or laptop. Even though teens prefer sitting on the couch or their bed with a laptop, they need to concentrate and focus, which this station allows.
- Add a docking station for their chargers.
- Hang a calendar-type dry erase board on the wall so they can keep track of their assignments.
- Besides the homework supplies previously mentioned, these kids may also need a stapler, index cards, printer paper, ink cartridges and flash drives.
- Have a place for everything and make sure the student returns the supplies to their proper place.
College Student’s Limited Dorm Space
- To help maximize space, place a cover with storage pockets over the back of your study chair.
- Use stackable baskets for books, papers and files.
- Place small items like staples, paper clips and tacks in magnetic tins.
- Under-bed storage keeps infrequently used supplies out of sight.
- Buy bed risers to make extra storage under the bed and some even come with extra outlets.
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