Back to School: Create an A+ Homework Space

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Commons User Mara

School starts in just over a week for most Maryland counties.  Help your kids get the best start possible by creating a designated homework space in your home.

·         Location, Location, Location:  Select the best location for your child.  Younger kids should have an area more centrally located (such as in the kitchen/dining area) in the home where they can ask for assistance while working.  Keep in mind that this area should be away from distractions such as televisions, but in an area where help is nearby.  Older students do best in a more isolated area, such as in their bedroom, where the environment can be controlled for better concentration.

·         Size Matters:  Select an appropriate desk and chair for your child.  Places such as Ikea are great places to shop because there is a wide variety of desk heights and sizes to best suit your child’s needs.  There’s no need to spend a ton of money on a fancy desk.  A simple table will often do the trick.  Be sure there is ample surface area on the desk for everything your child will need (school supplies, lamp, etc.).  Have your child test out the desk and chair before buying to make sure he/she is comfortable.  Adjustable desk chairs are a great option to keep up with your kids’ growth over the years.

·         Bright Light for Bright Ideas:  Be sure the workspace is well lit.  Areas with natural light are the best locations, but be sure to have a bright task lamp as well.  Lamps with 3-way bulbs allow the student to easily adjust the brightness to fit the task at hand.

·         Prepped and Ready:  A well-stocked homework area minimizes distractions and frustration.  When setting up a homework area, be sure to grab a pencil cup stocked with pencils, pens, highlighters, markers, dry-erase markers, scissors and any other supplies your child may need.  Be sure to have extra paper (unlined and lined) readily available, too. 

·         Teach Time Management:  Install a bulletin board with a calendar or a dry-erase calendar above the desk with important dates, due dates, and appointments.  Teach your child how to plan ahead so projects aren’t completed at the last minute.  Also attach or include school events, special days, sports games and practices, and extracurricular activities.  Keep a clock on the wall or the desk and teach your child to effectively manage time for studying.

·         Power On:  Many kids now incorporate technology into their studies such as tablets, eReaders, and computers.  Purchase a surge protector with multiple outlets and set up a charging station for all of the technology your child will need for studies.

·         Hang It Up:  A heavy-duty hook (or even some cool, decorative ones) can serve as a place for backpacks.  Keep clutter off the floor and have a designated area for school bags.  Not only will this keep all books and papers near the homework headquarters, but also saves time with morning madness since all school supplies are in one place.

We would love to hear of any other back-to-school tips you have.  Comment below to join the discussion!